Ad regulator, Advertising Standards Council of India, will use WhatsApp to reach out to consumers who want to complain about misleading advertisements.
The announcement comes on December 24, which is celebrated as National Consumer Rights Day, also called National Consumer Day. This day commemorates December 24, 1986 when the Consumer Protection Act received assent of the President of India. The purpose of the day is to make consumers aware of their rights and responsibilities
"Tired of ads taking you for a ride? 24th December is National Consumer Rights Day. And ASCI champions for honesty in advertising. So, if something doesn’t sound right, WhatsApp us on +91 77100 12345. Your voice will be heard. And your questions answered," ASCI said in a tweet.
ASCI's emphasis on WhatsApp as a tool is especially important considering the surge in exploitation of consumers amid the pandemic. Before this, ASCI issued a Covid advisory in October 2020 ordering advertisers to substantiate their Covid related claims.
In July 2021, ASCI said that during the pandemic only 12 of 332 ads related to Covid-19 were found to be scientifically correct. The ad regulator found 237 objectionable ads. While 164 ads complied and modified claims, 73 covid related ads needed further investigation and action.
Besides Covid complaints, the ASCI Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) also processed 1,406 complaints in the education sector, 285 complaints against food and beverage advertisements and 147 complaints related to personal care. In addition, 364 advertisements were found to be, prima facie, in violation of The Drugs and Magic Remedies Act. The regulator processed overall 6, 149 complaints in FY21.
ASCI claimed that its independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) convened 37 times during the year achieving a 97 per cent compliance rate from advertisers on its recommendations.
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