Advertising regulator to contact consumers via WhatsApp for complaints

Advertising regulator India Advertising Standards Council will use WhatsApp to contact consumers who want to complain about deceptive ads.

The announcement comes on December 24, which is celebrated as National Consumer Rights Day, also known as National Consumer Day. This day commemorates December 24, 1986 when the Consumer Protection Act received approval from the President of India. The aim of the day is to educate consumers about their rights and responsibilities

“Tired of the commercials that take you for a ride?” December 24 is National Consumer Rights Day. And the ASCI champions for honesty in advertising. So if something is wrong, WhatsApp will call us on +91 77100 12345. Your voice will be heard. And your questions have been answered, “ASCI said in a tweet.

ASCI’s focus on WhatsApp as a tool is especially important given the increase in consumer exploitation amid the pandemic. Prior to that, ASCI issued a Covid Notice in October 2020 ordering advertisers to justify their Covid-related claims.

In July 2021, ASCI said that during the pandemic, only 12 of 332 advertisements related to Covid-19 were found to be scientifically correct. The advertising regulator found 237 objectionable advertisements. While 164 ads were compliant and amended claims, 73 ads related to covid required further investigation and action.

In addition to Covid complaints, the ASCI Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) also handled 1,406 complaints in the education sector, 285 complaints against food and beverage advertising and 147 complaints related to personal care. In addition, 364 advertisements were found to be prima facie in violation of the Drugs and Magical Medicines Act. The regulator handled a total of 6,149 complaints in fiscal year 21.

ASCI said its independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) met 37 times during the year, achieving a 97% compliance rate from advertisers on its recommendations.

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