Govt may initiate action against celebrities for endorsement of sub-standard products
Strict guidelines are on the anvil to regulate misleading advertisements so that promotion and propagation of fake, spurious and sub-standard products are halted for good, was the statement from Secretary of Department of Consumer Affairs Keshav Desiraju. Speaking at a seminar on ‘Best Business Practices for Consumer Welfare’, organized on 8 August in New Delhi under the aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Desiraju also said, “The government is aware that celebrities and stars keep endorsing products without checking and examining the efficacy of the products of mass consumption. Since such endorsements attract attention of scale from vast number of consumers, the government would need time to develop a mechanism to effectively take on the issue as the prevailing system has no legal support to handle it.”
The secretary spelt out that strict guidelines were being evolved in the ministry in consultation with stakeholders to curb and prevent the increasing menace of misleading advertisements, pronouncing false promises and commitments to mislead the public, especially in the field of healthcare, food, tele-marketing, education, real estate and medi-care industry.
A cabinet note will be finalized to suggest amendments in the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 as also Bureau of Indian Standards Act so that a host of measures are incorporated in the proposed amendments to ensure consumers genuine and quality products and to force manufacturers to adopt the newly evolved standards in their manufacturing process. Director General of Bureau of Indian Standards Sunil Soni said that the regulatory body would also evolve a number of new standards that industry would have to conform to so that products sold off in the markets are made of processes and qualities of world standards.
Among other who participated in the seminar were Sanjay Bhatia, former president and chairman, Business Practices & Awards Committee, PHD Chamber; Ram Poddar, co-chairman, Industry Affairs Committee, PHD Chamber, and its Executive Director Saurabh Sanyal. Consumer Voice was media partner for the event and was duly represented by COO Ashim Sanyal.
14 auto majors fined Rs 2,545 crore by fair trade regulator
In the first major order against the auto sector, fair trade watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) has slapped a penalty of Rs. 2,545 crore on 14 carmakers, including Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors, for violating trade norms in the spare parts market.
Honda Siel Cars India, Volkswagen India, Fiat India Automobiles, BMW India, Ford India, General Motors India, Hindustan Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Mercedes-Benz India, Nissan Motor India, Skoda Auto India and Toyota Kirloskar Motor have also been penalized. For each entity, the individual fine amounts to 2 per cent of their average turnover. The penalty is to be deposited within 60 days of receipt of the order.
A detailed investigation revealed that these car companies violated competition norms with respect to their agreements with local original equipment suppliers (OESs) as well as in terms of pacts with authorized dealers. Through these agreements, the carmakers ‘imposed absolute restrictive covenants and completely foreclosed the after-market for supply of spare parts and other diagnostic tools’, the regulator said.