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ASCI calls out RCOM, Amazon India, Foodpanda & others for false advertising

The Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has upheld complaints against 130 advertisements out of the 199 ads brought to its notice during April 2017. Out of this, 4 complaints were upheld in the telecom category and 2 in the e-commerce category.

In Telecom

Reliance Communications ad claiming that it is the “Fastest 4G Network” was found to be misleading by exaggeration, because the was not substantiated.

Aircel’s (Maxis Communication) ad claiming “249; unlimited local calls” was found to be misleading, because of the existing cap for other networks of daily 200 minutes and weekly 1000 minutes. ASCI mentioned that the ad violated the ASCI Code as well as Clause 1 of ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers, which says: “A disclaimer can expand or clarify a claim, make qualifications, or resolve ambiguities, to explain the claim in further details, but should not contradict the material claim made or contradict the main message conveyed by the advertiser or change the dictionary meaning of the words used in the claim as received or perceived by a consumer.”

Vodafone India’s ad “Rs 328 + Unlimited Local/STD calls for 28 days” was found to be misleading because of the limit of 300 minutes per day that was mentioned in the ad. This too contravened the ASCI Code and Clause 1 of the ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers, as mentioned above.

Reliance Communications Ltd’s ad that claimed to offer unlimited local and STD calls for 28 days on a recharge of Rs 152 was found to be misleading by ambiguity, because the claim was not substantiated.

In E-commerce

Amazon India’s ad claiming “100% Original” for a Woodland wallet for men was found to be misleading and contradictory, based on evidence provided by the complainant. Also, the disclaimer “Terms & Conditions apply” that accompanied the ad was deemed not relevant. This was an YouTube ad and it was in violation of the ASCI Code and Clause 2 of ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers, which says: “A disclaimer should not attempt to hide material information with respect to the claim, the omission/absence of which is likely to make the advertisement deceptive or conceal its commercial intent.”

Foodpanda’s (Pisces eServices Pvt. Ltd.) ad claiming “up to 50% off” was found to be misleading, because there was neither any supporting evidence to show that in fact the advertised product was available at the discounted price, nor any instances of genuine customers who availed this offer at KFC and/or Pizza Hut.

Previous ASCI reports here.

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