Traders body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has said that brand ambassadors should be brought under the ambit of Consumer Protection Act as consumers are often “guided” through such endorsement, irrespective of quality of product.
- CAIT has also threatened to move court if the government did not take necessary action. The body has also demanded that specific guidelines be formulated, fixing the liability of brand ambassadors.
Why this is necessary?
According to CAIT, prominent personalities of different fields are engaged by big companies to endorse their products to grab more share in the market for their products irrespective of the quality of the product and those personalities in lust of earning huge money never care for the quality. Also, such endorsements influence customer’s choice to great extent.
Recently, in its report on the Consumer Protection Bill 2015, a parliamentary panel had also suggested legal teeth to make celebrities accountable for misleading advertisements. The panel had suggested legal teeth to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to curb misleading ads, besides proposing severe penalties, jail and cancellation of licence of those involved in food adulteration.
What the law says?
- There is no specific word in the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) about the extent, or lack, of liability or duty of care of the brand ambassador, who signs on to promote the brand as its ‘face’ and takes on the role of a marketing representative. Sections 24 and 53 of the 2006 Act deal specifically with advertisements.
- Section 24 (1) says in general terms that “no advertisement shall be made of any food which is misleading or deceiving or contravenes the provisions of this Act, the rules and regulations made thereunder.” Here, it does not explain whether the term “made” is only confined to commissioning the advertisement or its actual making. In the latter case, a brand ambassador does play a part.
- Subsection (2) of the same section says “no person shall engage himself in any unfair trade practice for the purpose of promoting the sale…” This clause does not specify who the “person” mentioned in it is, thus, making the ambit of the provision pliable.