Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Flipkart, Snapdeal, Uber under ASCI scanner for misleading ads

Three instances against Flipkart were cited in which the firm allegedly marked up prices of products and offered discounts on the increased price

Bengaluru: E-commerce firms Flipkart and Snapdeal, and taxi-hailing app Uber are among 82 companies against whom complaints were upheld by the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) for airing ad campaigns that did not meet regulatory guidelines.

ASCI is a voluntary, self-regulatory organization of the advertising industry. ASCI and its consumer complaints council deal with complaints received from consumers and industry against advertisements that are considered false, misleading, indecent or unfair to the competition.

ASCI received 148 complaints in the June quarter, upheld complaints against 26 ads in the personal and healthcare category, 22 in education, nine in food and beverages, seven in media and entertainment, besides 18 advertisements from other categories.

L’Oreal India Pvt. Ltd, CavinKare Pvt. Ltd, Fortis Healthcare Ltd and Vicco Laboratories, among others, in the healthcare segment, Amity University, BYJU’s Classes and Career Launcher in the education segment, and telecom operator Vodafone Essar Ltd were pulled up for making unsubstantiated claims.

This apart, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd’s advertisement, which claimed to have schemes with the “lowest down payment of 5,555" and the “lowest instalment of 999 per month", and TV 18 Broadcast Ltd’s (CNBC) claim to be the “No. 1 TV channel in India" were not substantiated and were also deemed misleading, ASCI said.

Three instances against Flipkart were cited in which the company allegedly marked up prices of products sold on its marketplace and offered discounts on the increased price, thus misleading consumers.

An advertisement by Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd., which runs online marketplace, depicted a visual of “a man riding a bike without a helmet," an unsafe practice, the statement said.

Uber was pulled up for promoting alcohol consumption.

“The advertisement by Uber, ‘You drink, we drive’, when read in conjunction with the depiction of logos of bars as #UBERAPPROVED PARTNERS was seen to promote alcohol drinking," said the ASCI statement.

India’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd was also asked by the watchdog to withdraw its advertisement on the speed of its 4G network as it too was found misleading.

Snapdeal, Flipkart and Uber hadn’t responded to e-mails seeking comment at the time of going to press.