CARS24's ad featuring MS Dhoni draws Consumer Complaints Council's (CCC) ire as the ad violates Advertising Standards Council of India's (ASCI) guidelines. CARS24's advertisement's claim of "Instant Payment" was considered misleading as it was observed that the advertiser offers both, an "instant payment" facility and a "deferred payment" facility for sale of cars. However, as per the FAQs provided by the advertiser if a customer avails the "instant payment" facility a fee of Rs. 1000 is levied.
In October, the Advertising Standards Council of India investigated 344 advertisements out of which 80 ads were withdrawn by the advertisers when contacted by ASCI. The independent Consumer Complaints Council of ASCI evaluated 264 advertisements, of which complaints against 137 advertisements were upheld. Interestingly, out of 344 ads, 89 were from the education sector, 29 from the healthcare sector, four ads were from food and beverages (F&B), and two from personal care. While 13 belonged to the 'others' category.
According to Rohit Gupta, chairman, ASCI, the council aims to further strengthen the advertising ecosystem in 2020 through new initiatives, enhanced processes and new upcoming guidelines. "These initiatives would not only benefit consumers but would also result in enhanced participation of industry members in effectively practising self-regulation in advertising," he added.
Of the 149 advertisements complained against, 11 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertiser on receiving communication from ASCI. For the remaining 138 advertisements, complaints against 12 advertisements were upheld by the CCC. Five advertisements belonged to the Healthcare sector and seven from the 'Others' category. 26 advertisements were not considered to be objectionable or in contravention of the ASCI code.
Established in 1985, The Advertising Standards Council of India aims to regulate advertisements ensuring the protection of the interest of consumers. ASCI seeks to ensure that advertisements conform to its Code for Self-Regulation, which requires advertisements to be legal, decent, honest and truthful and not hazardous or harmful while observing fairness in competition. The council looks into complaints across media such as print, TV, Radio, hoardings, SMS, emailers, web-site, product packaging, brochures, promotional material and point of sale material etc. ASCI is a part of the executive committee of International Council on Ad Self-Regulation (ICAS).