misleading advertisement

Consumer Awareness

Good To Know : How To Complain Against A Misleading Advertisement?

Pavan Manikanta Kumar

September 19th, 2016


Advertisements have a huge influence on people. So the advertisers should be careful about what they display to the audience. There is not just one group of people watching the advertisements, it spreads to the entire population of different race, gender and age. Despite number of laws to curb misleading advertisements to protect consumer interests, consumers continue to be victims of such misleading advertisements because of :

  • the poor enforcement of the laws
  • lacunae or inadequacies in the existing laws
  • consumers lack the interest to gain knowledge of various avenues available to address their issues.


Addressing Your Grievances

1The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) : If you see an advertisement that you think is false or misleading, complain to the Advertising Standards Council of India. You  can do it online (ascionline.org)

Step 1: Visit http://www.ascionline.org/index.php/lodge-ur-complaints.html

Step 2: Fill Your Details

The Advertising Standards Council of India - Fill details

Step 3 : Describe your Complaint as detailed as possible in 5000 characters.


fill the complaint

Step 4: Submit your complaint.

Step 5: Consumer can track his/her complaint at ASCIOnline-complaint Tracking

Track Your Complaint.

Alternately  you can call: 1800-222-724  or even WhatsApp them at  +91-7710012345

2Precautions while you are lodging the complaint.

  • No fee is required to be paid by any complainant for submitting a complaint to ASCI.
  • Make sure when you are submitting your complaint, you are required to give your name, contact details such as the mobile number and email address.
  • The identity / particulars of the individual complainant is not disclosed to the advertiser except when the complainant is non-public.
  • The allegations in the complaint need to be substantiated, where necessary, with the support of data / information with the relevant portions highlighted.
  • A hard copy of the complaint as well as the supporting documents must be submitted so that the same may be sent to the advertiser

3Processing a Complaint.

process-of-complaint- ASCI process-of-complaint- ASCI[/caption]


Laws Against Individual Sector Related Misleading Ads.

  • For false or misleading advertisements on television, complain to the nodal officer or the authorized officer or the monitoring committee at the district/state level constituted under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1955.
  • You can also complain to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting/ InterMinisterial Committee (IMC) about violations of the Advertisement Codes by the satellite channels at the national level.
  • If the advertisement pertains to drugs, magic remedies or health gadgets or treatments for various ailments, you can also complain to the Drug Control Authority in your state. They can take action under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act..
  • If the advertisements pertain to food, write to the Food Safety and Standards Authority (fssai.gov.in) or the enforcement agency at the state level .
  • If the advertisements pertain to insurance, complain to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (irda.gov.in)
  • If they refer to telecommunication services, you can complain to TRAI (trai.gov.in).
  • Complaints pertaining to false and misleading advertisements of banking and nonbanking financial companies can be made to the Reserve Bank of India (rbi.org.in)

Do Not Hesitate.

Most of the people hesitate to complain about the ads thinking that they won’t be responded in the right way. We as the citizens of India have all the rights to complain about anything that is incorrect and against the laws.

In response to a case filed by a consumer against a Body Care program alleging that even after paying 10,500 and undergoing the treatment, she did not lose weight.

The District Forum in Bangalore had directed that the money can be refunded to the consumer and also a compensation of 25,000 be paid. When this was confirmed by the State Commission, the opposite party filed a revision petition before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. Dismissing it, the apex consumer court said: “We entirely agree with the findings recorded by the Fora. Such tempting advertisements, giving misleading statements with regard to the alleged treatment, are increasing day-by-day and are required to be controlled so that persons may not be lured to pay a large amount to such bodies in a hope that they can reduce their weight by undergoing the so-called treatment. The amount awarded by the fora is also on the lower side.”


Disclaimer : *This information is subject to periodic government policy / process change. Kindly contact the concerned department to cross check for recent updates, if any.


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