Home >Industry >Advertising >87% consumers find disclaimers in ads difficult to understand: Survey
Around 73% consumers have come across bait advertising in the last one year and 49% have come across advertisements of free products with administration and shipping charges. Photo: iStockphoto
Around 73% consumers have come across bait advertising in the last one year and 49% have come across advertisements of free products with administration and shipping charges. Photo: iStockphoto

87% consumers find disclaimers in ads difficult to understand: Survey

  • Misleading ads were prominent in industries such as cosmetic products and services, real estate, food products and supplements, ecommerce sites/apps, health products and services and banking and financial services

NEW DELHI: As many as 75% Indians believe that children are being misled by advertisements for apps, gaming and other online services, according to a survey conducted by social media and community platform LocalCircles. Around 87% of those surveyed said they have difficulty in reading, viewing and hearing disclaimers in ads across radio, print and television.

Around 73% consumers have come across bait advertising in the last one year and 49% have come across advertisements of free products with administration and shipping charges. The survey, based on ministry of consumer affairs’ draft guidelines on misleading ads, received over 1,15,000 responses from consumers spread across 320 districts of the country.

The ‘Central Consumer Protection Authority (Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Necessary Due Diligence for Endorsement of Advertisements) Guidelines, 2020 is aimed at preventing unfair trade practices and protecting consumers’ interest. The government had set a revised deadline of 1 October for the public to give their feedback on the draft policy.

The draft guidelines clearly state that a disclaimer should not attempt to correct a misleading claim made in an advertisement and should be clearly visible to the consumer. Non-legible disclaimers will also be considered as misleading ads.

Misleading ads were prominent in industries such as cosmetic products and services (30%), real estate (22%), food products and supplements (15%), ecommerce sites/apps (14%), health products and services (11%) and banking and financial services (5%).

Vulgar ads also bothered majority of consumers with 60% saying they have came across these in the last 12 months.

Around 76% respondents said surrogate advertising for products such as alcohol should not be permitted, while only 19% said it should be allowe. 77% of the consumers want a ban on advertising for fantasy gaming platforms while others demanded that they should be put in the same category as sin products to be promoted through surrogate advertising. When asked if the government should also prohibit advertisements for gaming platforms especially the ones where an individual can earn or lose money (similar to gambling), 77% said yes while 18% said no.

Around 86% respondents said that in last one year they have also come across child inappropriate ads on various media platforms such as television (19%) and video sites like YouTube (4%).

Nearly 73% consumers have come across bait advertising in the last one year where what was advertised was different than what was actually available. A majority of consumers (75%) said they have been duped by a misleading ad featuring a celebrity.

Frustrated by the menace of misleading advertising, 80% respondents said that a government body should regulate advertising while only 3% respondents said advertisements should not be regulated at all.

"Many consumers highlighted that most of the regulations require a transaction to be done for a brand to held accountable and action taken by the authorities and that prevents actions from being taken in many cases of misleading advertisements. Instead, anyone who has seen a misleading ad and is reporting the same must be considered a prospective buyer and the draft advertising code should consider all such complaints and action them," stated the report.

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