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ASCI calls out Snapdeal, Amazon, Just Dial, Coolpad & others for false advertising

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The Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has upheld complaints (pdf) against 90 out of 156 advertisements brought to it in March 2016. These advertisements belonged to various categories: 32 in education, 30 in healthcare, 10 in Food & Beverages, and 18 from other categories.

In e-commerce

-Jasper Infotech owned Snapdeal’s online advertisement, which read “Snapdeal Accessories Mela—Flash sale at just Rs 11/-” was found to be misleading by ambiguity as the company did not provide enough evidence for the claim. ASCI added that Snapdeal could have submitted audited financial data, consumer details or their phone numbers for verification.

-Amazon.com, Inc’s Amazon India website ad, which suggested an “Easy Returns” policy for goods purchased via the site was found to be misleading as the company does not refer to Terms & Conditions regarding the return policy, or a relevant disclaimer text.

­-Just Dial Limited owned Just Dial’s verification check mark “JD Verified” was found to be “giving a wrong sense of security to the viewer/customer” by the ASCI. The mark of approval was given to business establishments without any checks from Just Dial’s end, according to ASCI. It stated that Just Dial “has put this responsibility on the business establishment and has accepted their declarations as such.” Hence, the “JD Verified” tag was found to be misleading by ambiguity and implication by the ASCI.

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-Saturday Sunday Media Internet Pvt Ltd owned Bookmyoffer.com’s advertisement on its online website, which assured to sell “Rayban Aviator with 3 pairs of Branded Socks”, was not substantiated with sufficient evidence and was found to be misleading by ASCI.

In electronics:

Coolpad Communications Private Ltd owned Coolpad’s advertisements for its smartphone model which claimed that “Coolpad Note 3 Lite is made in India”, and another ad for a different model which stated that “Coolpad Note 3 will be available in black and white variant in upcoming flash sale on 25th February” was found to be false and misleading by the ASCI.  Note that in October 2015, Coolpad was planing to invest $300 million to setup an R&D and manufacturing facility in India to produce phones locally.

In Software:

Sify Technologies’ advertisement on its digital signature product SIFYTNVAT used for Income Tax filings by organizations and individuals was found to be false and misleading, as the ad suggested that “Tamilnadu Commercial Tax (department) announced digital signature is mandatory for Sales Tax Filing from March 20, 2016”. Currently there are no such mandates issued by the Tamil Nadu government regarding tax filings.

In News & Media:

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-India Webportal Private Limited owned BGR Media’s website advertisement, which read “BGR.in No.1 Tech Site” was not substantiated with evidence hence the ASCI found the claim as misleading.

Click here for our coverage on previous ASCI reports.

Image Credit:
Wikipedia User Alan Cleaver

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