Ads unquestionably violate consumer rights, thus marketing must be reasonable and truthful. False and misleading notifications influence competition and, naturally, consumer decisions in addition to being unreliable. False and deceptive advertising disregards several important consumer rights, including the right to knowledge, the freedom to make choices, the option to be protected from dangerous products, etc. Because their main objective is to sell a good or service, one can see some distortion in the way commercials extol the virtues of the product or service. In any event, it raises concerns when it goes beyond that and purposefully spreads a lie or tries to distort reality to deceive the customer. Misrepresentation occurs when a cell phone service provider advertises STD calls at 40 paise per minute but neglects to clarify that this pricing only applies to calls to numbers that are serviced by the same provider. Another instance is when a vegetable oil advertisement makes you believe that, as a result of using that oil, you are free from heart problems. It is then misrepresenting a factor at that point.
The first group includes health-related commercials that promote treatments and drugs of dubious efficacy, health equipment of incomprehensible quality, and aid-related incorrect claims, particularly individuals that target young people, the elderly, and people with specific medical diseases, like diabetes. Other false and deceptive advertising types, including those unrelated to health or vitamins, are included in the second category. These advertisements violate customers’ rights to knowledge and choice, resulting in financial loss and even mental anguish.
According to a report from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), a division of the Department of Consumer Affairs, has broadcasted “Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022.” The rules are designed to protect customers from being duped by unsupported claims, inflated promises, incorrect information, and overstated claims. Such commercials go against several consumer rights, together with the right to information, the right to make an educated decision, and the right to be protected from potentially dangerous goods and services.
Under Section 10 of the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has been established to promote, protect, and uphold the rights of consumers as a group as well as to regulate issues relating to consumer rights violations, unfair business practises, and false or misleading advertisements that are detrimental to the interests of the public and consumers. The Guidelines were notified “in the execution of the authority granted upon CCPA by section 18 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019,” according to the ministry. The Consumer Protection Act of 2019’s section 2(28) already defines misleading advertising. According to the statement, the current guidelines clearly describe “bait commercials,” “surrogate advertisements,” and “free claim advertisements.”
Several preventative rules have been established regarding commercials aimed at children, taking into account the sensibility and sensitivity of children and the damaging effects of advertisements on their developing minds. Advertising regulations forbid making nutritional or health claims or advantages unless they are adequately and scientifically backed by a recognised body. Additionally, they forbid misrepresenting a product or service’s qualities to raise unrealistic expectations in children. According to the rules, commercials for products that are either not intended for purchase by children or require a health warning must not include any celebrities from the worlds of sports, music, or the arts. the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, misleading advertising aims to swiftly and efficiently address consumer complaints and protect consumers’ fundamental rights. It protects rights such as the right to information about the nature, quantity, potency, purity, price, and standard of goods or services as well as the right to be shielded from the promotion of goods and services that risk life and property. The caveat emptor rule is disregarded by the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, which also protects consumers’ rights from deception, false claims, and misleading advertising.
In addition, Section 16 of the Act of 2019 gives the District Collector the power to look into or launch an investigation into complaints regarding deceptive or fraudulent ads after receiving complaints or after the Central Authority refers a case to that person. A buyer who thinks a seller violated his rights by misleading him or by saying something he shouldn’t have, may submit a written or electronic complaint to the District Collector or the Central Authority.
Horlicks Limited & Anr. v. Zydus Wellness Products Limited
In this instance, Horlicks, a brand of Hindustan Unilever that sells health food drinks in India, claims that it has been scientifically shown to increase children’s height, strength, and mental acuity. On the other hand, a powdered milk energy drink held by the company Zydus Wellness Products Limited is the subject of a complaint. According to a broadcast Zydus commercial, one cup of complaining is similar to two cups of Horlicks. Horlicks filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court to get Zydus Wellness Products to stop airing the disputed TVC.
Held: The High Court issued a temporary injunction preventing the Zydus Company from airing its commercial because it misled or misrepresented the company.
Francis Vadakkan V. The Proprietor, A-One Medicals
This was a recent case that took place on January 22, 2021. The maker of a hair growth cream is the defendant in this case before the Kerala District Commission. In an advertisement it produced, it stated that using its hair cream will cause hair to grow three times as long in six weeks. The complainant who appeared before the commission claimed that such marketing caused him to make two purchases of the cream from A-one Medicals. Despite using it for seven weeks, his hair did not grow. He, therefore, went to the district commission and filed a claim for Rs. 500,000 for loss, harm, and mental anguish.
Held: The Commission determined that the complainant was persuaded by the advertisement to buy the cream and use it by the recommendations provided in the advertisement, but she did not experience the results that the marketing promised. As a result, the Commission determined that there was a service flaw and ordered the defendant to pay the complainant.
Informational disclosure about all marketed products should be the goal of advertising regulation. The specific rules governing wool products, furs, and textile fibres already call for this. Buyers would be able to respond to advertising appeals with an educated inspection and comparison of products thanks to the application of established technical standards, when applicable and available, and the production of quality grade labels. The general expansion of these special act procedures with the use of instructive grades or standards, perhaps as a new task for the Federal Trade Commission, would significantly boost economic efficiency and create fair competition in the majority of markets, even those with monopolistic conditions in some cases.
Author(s) Name: Pranjal Patel (The Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India)
 The Consumer Protection Act 2019 <https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/sites/default/files/CP%20Act%202019.pdf>
 CS (Comm) 464 of 2019
 CC NO 345 of 2012