ASCI hauls up brands with misleading claims

07 Jan,2015

By A Correspondent [updated]


ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 113 out of 144 advertisements in November 2014. Out of 113 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 61 belonged to Personal and Healthcare category, followed by the Education category with 33 advertisements.


In the Healthcare category, the CCC found the following claims in health and personal care product or service advertisements of 58 advertisers to be either misleading or false or not adequately/scientifically substantiated and hence violating ASCI’s Code. Some of the health care products or services advertisements also contravened provisions of the Drug. Some of the complaints that were upheld include:

– Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Lifebuoy): The advertisement of Lifebuoy claims to provide “10 x more germ protection” and “10 x more skin care” than any other soap which was not substantiated.


– Richfeel Health & Beauty Pvt Ltd (RichFeel Trichology Centre): The advertisement of RichFeel Trichology Centre claims to be the best hair transplant from the best hair care brand at the best price of Rs.55, 000.


– Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (Goodknight): The advertisement of Goodknight shows “a child standing near the mosquito vaporizer”, whereas the product’s leaflet includes a precaution that the electrical liquid vapourizing machine should be kept away from the reach of children. The advertisement features a dangerous practice, manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence.


– Dr. Batra’s Homeopathy Clinic: The advertisement of Dr Batra’s Clinic claims to offer “Consultation with the Doctor and computerized hair test worth Rs. 2,000 now at just Rs. 250.”, “Limited period offer”, “Avail easy EMI options”, and the Website claims, “Confirm your appointment online @ Dr. Batra’s clinic, Pay just Rs. 99/- and get products worth Rs. 175/- free.” “It also offers 10% off on treatment in its animation slides”, were not substantiated. The Website shows Dr. Batra promoting the clinic which is in violation of the Code of Medical Ethics for Homeopathy practitioners.


– Richfeel Health & Beauty Pvt Ltd (RichFeel Trichology Centre): The advertisement of Richfeel Trichology Centre is in breach of code of medical ethics as the advertisement is soliciting patients and also mentions the names of Dr. Apoorva Shah and Dr. Ferrari, promoting the Clinic, which is in violation of the Central Council of Homeopathy Code of Ethics Regulations Clause II 6.1.


– Dr. Batra’s Health Clinic: The advertisement of Dr. Batra’s Health Clinic claims to offer revolutionary hair growth treatment from France which is a painless and non – surgical treatment. They further state that 77% have seen hair growth results in just eight weeks.


– CordLife Sciences India Pvt. Ltd:  The advertisement of Cordlife claims to be Asia’s largest stem cell bank. The advertiser did not provide the market size in each country and the total market size in Asia to arrive at total market share data to establish that Cordlife is the market leader in Asia.   The CCC concluded that the claim, “CordLife is Asia’s Largest stem cell bank”, was not substantiated.


– AyurMana Centre for Advanced Healing: The advertisement of AyurMana Centre claims to help weight loss of up to 30 pounds in 4 weeks without starvation diet or strenuous exercise.


– Lifespan Diabetes & Cardio metabolic Clinic: The advertisement of Lifespan claims “Diabetics are 50% more likely to have a heart attack”. This claim was not substantiated with data specific to the Indian population.  Also, the claim was misleading by exaggeration.


In the Education category, the CCC found following claims in the advertisements by 33 different advertisers were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions. A few complaints that were upheld include:

– Arcot Sri Mahalakshmi Women’s Institute of Management:  The advertisement claims 100 per cent employment in India and foreign countries. The claim was not qualified with the appropriate disclaimer.


– Mahanadi Education Society (Raipur Institute Technology – RITEE): The advertisement of RITEE claims job guarantee or money back; super *conditions apply* which was not substantiated with supporting data.


– Bright Career Academy: The advertisement of Bright Career Academy states “Job Assured on pursuing 3 month’s course” and “7+ Bands assured on undergoing IETLS 7 hours classes daily”, were not substantiated with supporting data.


Other categories that were pulled up include:

– Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (Cinthol Deodorants): The advertisement shows alcohol-based deodorants being sprayed on ball pen art (art done by a ball point pen) resulting in the art getting dissolved. The advertiser seeks to instill fear in the mind of the consumers as if alcohol based deodorants can melt the human skin. Thus, the advertisement denigrates alcohol based deodorants.


– Mahindra Retail Pvt. Ltd (Mom & Me): The advertisement of Mom & Me claims “Interest free EMI” which is misleading by omission, as the EMI scheme was not free since interest was to be paid after six months, which was not mentioned in the advertisement.


– JK Cements Ltd (JK Wall Putty):  The advertisement of JK Wall Putty claims “seelan mein bhi papdee ka koi chance nahin” was not substantiated with technical evidence.


– Videocon Industries Ltd (Videocon Split A/C): The advertisement claims to offer zero percent interest and zero process fee by Bajaj Finance – just pay Rs. 2014 and the balance in equal EMIs. This is misleading as the processing fee is not zero as the complainant had to pay the extra processing charges during the purchase of the product.

– Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Ltd (Bajaj Allianz): The advertisement claims to provide value added services such as 24×7 spot assistance, key and lock replacement cover along with the policy, fastest claims servicing through their 24 x7 call centre. The advertisement claims “3400+ numbers of garages across the country”. It also claims to offer battery, fuel, spare keys assistance flat tyres, minor repairs and towing. They further claim to provide “Legal Advice and Medical Coordination”, “Message Service and Taxi Benefits Accommodation Benefits” and “Additional savings of upto 30% on medicines, eye care, dental care and many more outlets.” These claims were not substantiated.


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