The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (Department of Consumer Affairs) has launched a portal called “Grievance Against Misleading Advertisement” (GAMA) has been launched 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. During the period April, 2015 to January, 2018, 6230 complaints have been received in the GAMA portal. While 1262 complaints have been rejected, 3146 complaints have been resolved, 1148 complaints have been referred to the Regulators concerned for taking further action.
The Government introduced the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 in the Lok Sabha on 5.1.2018.
“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 also 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. It 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.” said the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Shri C.R. Chaudhary in Lok Sabha.
FIDSI, one of the most prominent direct selling associations in the country, welcomes this move by the government.
“Frauds are, unfortunately, not uncommon in this industry. Hopefully, the GAMA portal will lessen the number of frauds. We are in support of this move by the government.”, said Rahul Sudan, General Secretary of FIDSI.