Celebrities also liable for false advertising 

NEW DELHI: If the skin whitening cream isn’t as phenomenal as advertised or the hair oil not producing a lush mop as promised, you may soon be able to claim compensation not only from the advertisers, but from the celebrities endorsing the product.

The Central Consumer Protection Council(CCPC), under the chairmanship of minister K V Thomas, on Monday decided to set up a sub-committee to suggest strategies to deal with such advertisers. Among the concerns raised was peddling of products by celebrities.

“About 50% of the daylong conference was spent addressing … the huge impact of misleading advertisements, particularly food items, hair oil and health products,” said a CCPC member who attended the meeting in Kochi. “Even the celebrities must pay compensation in case there is a complaint,” said Joseph Victor, a CCPC member.

Celebrities also liable for false advertising:: Panel mulls measures to monitor ad claims

What seems to have moved the consumer affairs ministry is a direction from the MP high court to set up an ad monitoring panel as recommended by the Vibha Bhargava Commission. “An ad monitoring committee with proper budgetary support from the Centre may be set up to monitor the advertisements on regular basis… the committee will have the powers to (take) corrective actions and (impose) compensation,” the CCPC said.

Sources said that the decision was taken unanimously by CCPC, which has members from central and state governments, besides representatives from consumer organizations and academicians. The sub-committee may be formed in less than a week and could submit its recommendations by February-end, sources said.

Some members told TOI the issue of southern superstar Mamootty endorsing products was discussed. “We have similar problems across the country. We have Shahrukh Khan or some other Hindi film star endorsing consumer items and they get huge payment for doing so. A misleading ads featuring such famous faces shown on TV even for a day serves the purpose of advertisers. We discussed how suo motu action can be taken against ads which have been withdrawn. Even the celebrities must pay compensation in case there is a complaint,” said Joseph Victor, a CCPC member.

Another member, Ashim Sanyal, said he had raised the issue of monitoring ads, which are in huge numbers and across different modes and media. “We need to plan the mechanism for monitoring. The sub-committee will come out with directions and provisions to deal with the menace,” he added. Lok Sabha MP Charles Dias, who also attended the meeting, told TOI that concerns were raised on manufacturers’ ad spend, which is passed on to buyers. “Most of us felt that there should some sort of monitoring on how much is being spent on advertisements,” he said.

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