From April, 2015 to January, 2018, 6,230 complaints of misleading advertisements have been received through the GAMA (Grievance Against Misleading Advertisements) portal. While 3,146 complaints have been resolved, 1,262 complaints have been rejected, 1,148 complaints have been referred to the Regulators concerned for taking further action, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution CR Chaudhary informed in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Indian Parliament on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution had launched a portal, “Grievance Against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA)” to deal with the complaints relating to misleading advertisements. Under an MoU, the Department has assigned the task of processing the complaints received through the GAMA portal to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) as per its code.
Complaints received through this portal are evaluated by ASCI and are processed through its Consumer Complaints Council. In cases where the complaints are upheld, the advertisers are asked to modify or withdraw the misleading advertisements. In case of non-compliance, ASCI forwards such complaints to the Regulators concerned to take necessary action.
The Government introduced the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 in the Lok Sabha on May 5, 2018. The Bill seeks to provide for establishment of an executive agency to be called the “Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)” to deal with unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements. The Bill empowers the CCPA to issue directions to the concerned trader or manufacturer or endorser or advertiser or publisher to discontinue the misleading advertisement or to modify the same and to impose penalties against false or misleading advertisements. The Bill also makes provisions for imprisonment by a Court to any manufacturer or service provider who causes a false or misleading advertisement which is prejudicial to the interest of consumers