Misleading Advertising Complaint
In an interesting move the District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (Central) yesterday dismissed a plea to summon Bollywood Actor, Shahrukh Khan as Brand Ambassador of World’s No. 1 Fairness Cream) as Complainant Witness in a case.
In the consumer complaint, the Complainant had alleged that in the impugned advertisement of the Fairness cream which features Shahrukh Khan, it has been claimed that the product provided permanent fairness within a limited period of 3 weeks whereas the complainant used the cream however, it had no effect on his complexion.
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On an earlier occasion, the State Commission while confronting the case had remanded the consumer complaint back to the District Consumer Forum on the ground that the burden was on Complainant to prove his case and also ordered to hear both the parties afresh.
Subsequently, the Complainant in the case filed an application to examine Shahrukh Khan as he is the Brand Ambassador of the disputed product in the case.
The Opposite Party objected to the summoning of the Bollywood actor on the ground that the application to summon Shahrukh Khan had been filed by the Complainant only to delay the proceedings of the case.
The District Forum after hearing the parties and considering the order passed by the State Commission in the matter decided to dismiss the application and h also stated that the remanding of matter to a Court does not mean to give another chance to the parties to fill up the lacuna or to substantiate the claims that the Complainant had failed to prove or establish earlier.
Celebrity Endorsements in India
This not the first time that a celebrity is confronting a legal row for alleged misleading advertisement. Many a times, celebrities particularly Bollywood actor and actresses who are brand ambassadors are accused for alleged misleading advertisement of the brands they promote. For instance, case had been lodged against Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachhan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta in 2015 for making false claims and promoting Maggi noodles.
Misleading advertisements and holding celebrities liable for alleged false claims has been an intriguing concern for the advertising industry lately. The advertisement watchdog ASCI (Advertisement Standards Council of India) in April this year released guidelines for celebrity endorsement. In the guidelines it had suggested the celebrities to do due diligence and also ensure that the claims made in their endorsements are not misleading. It is also being touted that the New Consumer Protection Bill may also have specific provisions to deal with celebrities featuring in misleading ads and such ads may also have penal consequences.
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