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This Consumer Rights Day, ASCI urges consumers to say no to misleading ads

‘World Consumer Rights Day’ is an occasion to demand that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected; it has become an important event for mobilising citizen action. Advertising is a vital marketing tool that plays a significant role in influencing consumer choices by changing their perception towards a brand. In an effort to capture consumers’ imagination and sell the product, advertisers often end up distorting factual data. Misleading advertisements can have serious repercussions on consumers as they not only violate the consumer’s right to information, but could also affect their health and safety. 

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) explains how consumers can play an important role in curbing such misleading advertisements by identifying and reporting them absolutely free of cost through a simple WhatsApp message on +91 77100 12345. As a healthy practice, ASCI maintains utmost confidentiality with respect to complainant’s identity and contact information. 

Established in 1985, ASCI, a self-regulatory organisation, has successfully completed 32 years in protecting the interest of consumers by curbing misleading ads and has effectively dealt with the complaints received against deceptive advertisements. It is ASCI’s ongoing mission to maintain and enhance the public’s confidence in Advertising. 

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ASCI’s role has been commended and strengthened by various Government bodies, including The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of AYUSH as well as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB). 

Since 2012-13, ASCI has been successfully running itsinitiative of Suo Moto Surveillance (National Advertising Monitoring Service - NAMS) against advertisements that are in potential violation of the ASCI code. It has kept continuous track of advertisements nationally by monitoring around 1,600 TV and 45,000 new print advertisements every month. ASCI also ensures that advertisements conform to its Code for Self-Regulation, which requires them to be legal, honest, decent, not hazardous or harmful while observing fairness in competition. 

In the last three years, as part of collaboration with the Department of Consumer Affairs, ASCI has processed over 6,500 complaints received on the Government Portal Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA gama.gov.in). 

On the occasion of the World Consumer Rights day, ASCI urges each and every citizen to be vigilant and alert and be the leader of change by flagging misleading advertisements to ASCI. While ASCI does Suo Moto surveillance, consumers can strengthen this process further by being the eyes and ears of ASCI and send the details of objectionable advertisements through WhatsApp. Additionally, consumers can also reach out to ASCI through its website.

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