MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENTS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Economy)

News-CRUX-10     19th April 2024        
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Context: Despite recently tendering an "unqualified and unconditional apology," the Supreme Court maintains that Patanjali Ayurved's Managing Director and cofounder, also a self-styled yoga guru, are still "not off the hook" for promoting misleading advertisements of their ayurvedic products.

Misleading Advertisements

  • Definition: Under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, misleading advertisement" in relation to any product or service, means an advertisement, which—

oFalsely describes such product or service; or 

oGives a false guarantee to, or is likely to mislead the consumers as to the nature, substance, quantity or quality of such product or service; or

o Conveys an express or implied representation which, if made by the manufacturer or seller or service provider thereof, would constitute an unfair trade practice; or

oDeliberately conceals important information.

Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022: It  define “bait advertisement”, “surrogate advertisement” and clearly provides what constitutes as “free claim advertisements”.

  • Bait Advertisement: “Bait advertisement” means an advertisement in which goods, product or service is offered for sale at a low price to attract consumers;
  • Surrogate Advertisement: “Surrogate advertisement” means an advertisement for goods, product or service, whose advertising is otherwise prohibited or restricted by law, by circumventing such prohibition or restriction and portraying it to be an advertisement for other goods, product or service, the advertising of which is not prohibited or restricted by law.
  • Online Consumer Reviews: The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has notified framework on ‘Online Consumer Reviews Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation and Publication’.
  • Objective: For safeguarding and protecting consumer interest from fake and deceptive reviews in e-commerce. 

o The standards are voluntary and are applicable to every online platform which publishes consumer reviews. 

o The guiding principles of the standard are integrity, accuracy, privacy, security, transparency, accessibility and responsiveness.