Landmark: Consumer Forum directs Ayurveda company, actor to compensate for endorsing false claims on hair growth cream
Thrissur: A Kerala-based Ayurveda company along with its brand endorser, a film actor, have been directed by a consumer court to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 each for misleading advertisement of a hair growth cream.
The direction came after a Thrissur-based consumer approached the commission and filed a case against the Ayurveda company, the actor and the medical shop from where the product was purchased.
The petitioner submitted that the advertisement featuring the actor was first aired in 2010 which guaranteed hair growth in six weeks. Convinced by the advertisement in which the Malyalam actor promised that the use of the product will assure lush hair growth, the petitioner purchased the product for Rs 376 hoping that his hair would grow.
It has to be noted that under the Consumer Protection Law, the misleading ads guidelines have put the onus on endorsers (such as actors, sportspersons and even social media influencers) who are now required to substantiate their claims in ads and do due diligence on products they promote. The endorsers have also been allowed to seek advice from an advertising "self-regulatory" organisation or and independent practitioner regarding the honesty of the statements in their endorsements. If found guilty, celebrities can be fined up to Rs 10 lakh. For repeat offences, this may rise to Rs 50 lakh, with a jail term of up to five years under the law.
It observed, "Newspapers and the media have reduced themselves to channels to promote brands and have forgotten their duties as journalists.…Advertisements spark consumerist desire in people…a ploy to make people to buy useless products".
The forum further added, "Advertisements should foster the growth of an informed consumer culture, enabling consumers to choose wisely and reject products that are spurious or deceptive."