Importance of Advertisements

  • Messages which are sponsored by the brands and companies to reach out to the public, to influence their decisions through a product pitch are known as Advertisement. Detailed information about a given product or service is provided through advertising.
  • Advertisements are based on the image, principles, and values of a brand. Each Advertisement is created with a different viewpoint; the aim is to target a certain section of the society who would like to invest in a given product. Advertisements help them to make the right decision.
  • Advertisements are a form of market communication. All the manufacturers and sellers and service providers in various cases have the liberty of commercial free speech, this freedom is guaranteed under the constitution of India.
  • In 1985, the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) was established, to increase public confidence and to encourage accountability for advertising. This act will help the consumers to file complaints against deceptive advertisements.

An Advertisement Can Be Considered as Deceptive Due to the Following Reasons

  • If the description of a product or service is misleading or false; Every little aspect related to the given product should be well explained, from the nature of the product or service to the quantity and quality of the product or service.
  • Unfair trade practices are not encouraged; the manufacturer of the product or service should not intentionally hide essential information.
  • Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) can take strict actions against advertisers, who do not follow the regulations of ASCI.
  • Within 10 days advertisers have to write down all the details of the advertisement if a letter is an issue to them, seeking answerers for the content of their advertisement.
  • Correction is required in an advertisement if asked to so by the Authority. Once the changes are made as suggested by the Authority another condition also has to be fulfilled before advertising it; the corrected advertisement shall obtain the exact similar and equal publicity as the previous one got before the correction was done.
  • To protect the interests of the consumers, the Authority has the right to dismiss or take action against advertisers.
  • To obey the regulations and directions of the Authority, advertisers are eligible to seek more time.
  • It is in the hand of the Authority to decide whether to extend the time or not, as there are many instances when advertisers need the time for delaying the matter. If the advertisers do not abbey the decision of the Authority, then they are liable for punishment or even penalty against them.

Unfair Contracts with the Consumer

  • For the performance of the contractual commitments and responsibilities, extreme security to be provided by a consumer.
  • If there is a breach of contract which causes grave loss to the other party to the contract, then the consumer would be imposed the penalty.
  • declining to receive early reimbursement of debts on payment of pertinent penalty; or
  • Without reasonable cause, permitting the party to the contract to terminate the contract on their own.
  • Without the consent of the consumer, giving permission to one party to assign the contract. It would be considered as a disadvantage for the consumer.
  • Unreasonable charges or conditions levied on the consumer. It would be considered as a drawback for the consumer.

Misleading Advertisements and Consumer Protection Act, 2019

  • Consumer Protection Act 2019 was passed by the parliament and came into effect on 20th July 2019. New provisions related to class section lawsuits, celebrity endorsements, e-commerce, product liability, and unfit contracts are introduced in the new Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
  • The Definition of “Advertisement” under Section 2(1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is a restrictive definition, which means any audio or video representation, endorsement, or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website and it also includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice or any other documents.
  • A broader interpretation of fraud and misrepresentation in an advertisement is provided in the provision under IPC 420 Or the Contract Act. Legal options are available to frame charges against false advertisements.
  • Consumer Protection Act 2019 has provisions that provide a lot of legal remedies against fraud and misrepresentation of advertisements
  • Misleading advertisements violate/hamper Consumers, right to choice. Consumers have certain choices while purchasing a product and these choices have to be protected. There are times when manufacturers may resort to misleading advertisements to sell their goods or services which will eventually hamper the purchasing choice of the consumers.
  • Misleading advertisements violate/hampers the right to information of the consumers. Consumers have the right to correct information about all the products and services available in the market. Disapproving a competitor’s product or services misleadingly and Use false references is considered as a misleading exercise.
  • There is a separate provision for misleading advertisement in the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, and serious punishment including imprisonment is provided under this provision.
  • The misleading advertisers could be liable under product liability and as per Section 21 of the Central Consumer Protection Authority; Not only the manufacturers of advertisements but even the endorsers of the particular misleading advertisement are liable and punishable.
  • The Central Consumer Authority has the power to ban misleading advertisements and they can impose fines. The punishment is severe and it includes a monetary fine of Rs. 10 lakhs.
  • Online consumer redressal platforms are also available for consumers to report their complaints against fraudulent advertisements.

Conclusion

  • Advertisements are an effective tool to mold the purchase ability of consumers. They are very influential and there is a whole wide team that works on advertisements.
  • These commercials for various brands are conceptualized and packaged by agencies. These agencies have a team of brand managers, copy editors, copy heads, creators, directors, and researchers.

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