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Guidelines on Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022’ 

  • IASbaba
  • July 8, 2022
  • 0
Governance
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In News: Central Consumer Protection authority (CCPA) under the Department of Consumer Affairs has notified ‘Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022’.

What are the guidelines?

Objective

  • To curb misleading advertisements and protect the consumers, who may be exploited or affected by such advertisements.

Key Provisions

A ‘valid’ advertisement:

  • The guidelines lay down the conditions for non-misleading and valid advertisements.
  • An advertisement can be considered non-misleading if it contains true and honest representation of goods and does not exaggerate the accuracy, scientific validity or practical usefulness or capability.
  • In case of unintentional lapse, the advertisement may still be considered as valid if the advertiser has taken prompt action in letting the consumer know the deficiency.

Advertisements targeting children

  • Advertisements that condone, encourage, inspire or unreasonably emulate behaviour that could be dangerous for children or take advantage of children’s inexperience, credulity or sense of loyalty etc. have been prohibited.
  • The guidelines further require that the goods which require a health warning should not be advertised through children as well as personalities from music, sports and cinema.
  • Advertisements that state any health or nutritional claims or benefits without being adequately and scientifically substantiated or any surgery which may have adverse effects on the physical and mental health of children are prohibited.
  • The guidelines also require that advertisements including chips, carbonated beverages and such other snacks and drinks shall not be cast on channels exclusively meant for children.

Prohibits Surrogate Advertising:

  • It bans surrogate advertising, a practice where a seller promotes a product whose advertisement is not allowed by disguising it as another product.
  • Liquor ads commonly indulge in such practices — under the guise of selling soda, CDs, and even holiday packages.

Free claims advertisements:

  • A free claims advertisement shall not describe any goods, products, or service to be ‘free’, ‘without charge’, or use such other terms if the consumer has to pay anything.

Bait Advertisements:

  • The guidelines lay down conditions to be complied with while issuing bait advertisements.
  • Bait advertisement means an advertisement in which goods, products, or service is offered for sale at a low price to attract consumers.

Other reforms

  • The guidelines have also introduced the need to have “disclaimers in advertisements” to “clarify a claim made in such advertisement or make qualifications or resolve ambiguities therein in order to explain such claim in further detail.”
  • Moreover, the advertiser must not attempt to hide material information with respect to any claim made in such advertisement, the omission or absence of which is likely to make the advertisement deceptive or conceal its commercial intent.

Significance

  • The guidelines are pathbreaking because they fill significant consumer protection gaps while explicitly outlining advertiser duties.
  • It also tries to discourage the promotion of illogical consumerism aimed at children.
  • It performs an essential function in bringing the Indian regulatory framework at par with international norms and standards.
  • The guidelines are momentous in empowering customers against mischievous advertisers.

While the guidelines must be hailed as a step in the right direction, there is a definite need to ensure their implementation in the spirit they have been drafted with.

Source: Pib.gov

The Hindu

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