Start reporting misleading and false advertisements to the ASCI, we did it too !
I was reading through Reddit India today and it seemed like the topmost post was for a user who reported Airtel for showcasing false broadband plans from a different state. Well I too have a story to share about a false misleading advertisement. the ad was from Naaptol.com advertising their shitty ‘Aluminum’ wallet. It was told to have RFID blocking capabilities to protect your PAN card and your Aadhar card. Intelligent readers would have already thought of the fact that none of these have RFID chips. What irked me more was that my dad asked me to buy the wallet for him. I was not going to buy this shitty wallet and decided to ensure that the misleading ad is caught. I immediately filed a complaint, but to be honest I didn’t expect much.
A week after filing the complaint the ASCI had forwarded the complaint to Naaptol.com, and a month later (ish) they had a response for me where they had upheld my complaint.
Here is the response from ASCI in the matter :
Apr 7, 2015
Dear Mr. <name redacted>,
Re: Decision – Your complaint against the advertisement Naaptol Online Shopping P. Ltd-(Aluminium Secure Wallet)
The complaint was considered by the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) at their meeting.
As per their decision, the complaint was UPHELD. The CCC viewed the TVC and considered the Advertiser’s response. The CCC concluded that the claim in the TVC, “the product prevents theft of information from contact-less RFID cards”, was not substantiated and was considered to be misleading. The Advertiser has not provided data wherein their product did indeed thwart attempts at reading the RFID information from cards, nor if the wallet is indeed made out of aluminum, as claimed, and if so, to what extent. The depiction of a chip-based card as an RFID card is misleading. PAN and Aadhar cards issued by Indian Government agencies have no RFID features. Hence the claim of protection purportedly provided by the product in the context presented “PAN card and Aadhar card are also safe in this’, appears misleading as to information skimming.
The TVC shows tests against similar products but the tests are not of skimming of RFID information. The tests shown are like those of dropping wallets. The TVC contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the Code.
We have requested the Advertiser to modify appropriately or to withdraw the said advertisement by April 16, 2015.
Thank you for having referred this complaint to us.
Assuring you of our services in the pursuit of Self-Regulation in Advertising.
The Advertising Standards Council Of India.
The purpose of this post is not to blow my own horn but to guide people around how to complain about misleading advertisement in India. Here is an infographic from their site.
If you spot a false or misleading advertisement, log onto ASCI’s website and file a complaint. That one complaint could save the hard earned money for millions of people. You will get a tracking number and will be sent regular updates on the progress. While self regulation sounds shady, the 2 successes I know of now give me more hope around there being a better future for advertisement in India. Here’s a tip of the hat to the The Advertising Standards Council Of India.