Mumbai–Advertising space watchdog Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) on Thursday said it has processed more than 1,000 complaints against misleading advertisements on behalf of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA).

On March 18, 2015, the DoCA appointed ASCI to monitor the web portal aimed at addressing misleading advertisements and arresting unfair trade practices.

Benoy Roychowdhury
Benoy Roychowdhury

GAMA stands for “grievances against misleading advertisements”.

“The need for government and self-regulatory body like ASCI to work together to provide effective and timely grievance redressal to consumers is key to tackle the issue,” DoCA secretary C. Viswanath said in a statement.

GAMA has received more than 1,000 complaints from individuals and consumer organisations like Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC) which were processed by the ASCI.

“ASCI was entrusted with the responsibility of GAMA complaints processing. This co-regulation initiative between the government and ASCI has further enhanced effectiveness of protecting consumers,” said ASCI chairman Benoy Roychowdhury.

Misleading publicity against products and services ranging across telecom, banking, consumer durables, e-commerce and others sectors emanating from TV, print, online and other digital medium were complained upon.

The ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against some leading brands forcing them to withdraw the publicity material or modify it appropriately within the stipulate period.

The complaints are handled through a three-tier system. First, the complaints get processed by ASCI, the second level escalates non-compliance to a sub-committee headed by the joint secretary DoCA under the Inter Ministerial Monitoring Committee (IMMC), while at the final stage, the empowered regulator will act against persistent offenders, the statement added.