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ASCI calls out Facebook, Airtel, Vodafone & others for false advertising


ad_falseThe Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has upheld complaints (pdf) against 51 out of 102 advertisements brought to it in January 2016. These advertisements belonged to various categories: 13 in education, 12 in food & beverages, 3 in telecom and broadband, 11 in healthcare, 5 in ecommerce and 7 from other categories.

In e-commerce

-PortMart’s advertisement which claimed that its ‘Flip cover for Xolo Black 1x for Rs. 249/-” was found to false, since the product was out of stock and the seller was found to be offering an alternative product instead.

Jabong’s claim in the ad “Shop from app and get extra 30% off on minimum purchase of 2999, use code EXTRA30”, was found to be false and misleading since it did not mention the validity of the offer.

Ibibo Group’s claim in its offer “Mumbai to Goa Rs 350” was not substantiated as the tickets were priced above that rate during the offer period.

-HolidayIQ’s ‘Sweepstakes lucky draw contestwas found to be misleading since it did not mention date of execution, and the date of announcements of winners. The website contents did not show the T&C of the offer either.

-Shoppers Stop’s: claim in the advertisement, “Shoppers Stop is proud to be ranked 25th in The Great Places To Work study 2015”, was found misleading as a ranking list denoted to an Economic Times report dated 13th July 2015 showed that it is at number 42 among Best workplaces in India.

In telecommunication and broadband:

Facebook India’s Free Basics claim in its ad, “Free Basics is at risk of being banned” was considered to be misleading by exaggeration. In addition, the claim in the advertisement, “Through a trial of Free Basics by Facebook, Ganesh learnt new farming techniques that doubled his crop yield”, was found to be misleading. ASCI mentions that using an individual testimonial without any supportive data, is misleading by implication and exaggeration. Also, the reference to the claim in the advertisement, “benefits of Free Internet” was found to be misleading.

-Vodafone India’s claim in the advertisement, “superfast Vodafone network”, was found to be ‘superlative’ and misleading since the claim was not substantiated with any technical or comparative data.

Airtel Broadband’s web-site referring to a charge of Rs 615 “per billing cycle” for one of its broadband plan was found to be misleading, as the plan was available only under a six month advance rental scheme.

Click here for our previous coverage on similar ASCI reports

Image Credit: bluwmongoose under public domain.

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