Deceptive COVID-19 Ads: Top Brands Fined; Know The Companies & Their Violations

New Delhi: The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has fined several top brands for multiple violations, including “grossly misleading ads” that promised protection against COVID-19.

India’s consumer rights watchdog slapped fines amounting to Rs 30 lakh on companies for promoting products ranging from home paints to men’s shirts, Hindustan Times reported.

The CCPA issued 129 notices under the Consumer Protection Act 2019, including 71 for misleading advertisements. Most of these companies owned up to the violations and paid the fines.

“The companies took corrective action and deposited penalties ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh,” said Nidhi Khare, additional secretary in Consumer Affairs ministry.

According to Khare, a number of famous brands – including Asian Paints, Berger Paints India, Zodiac Apparels, Siyaram Apparels and Blue Star — made strange and unreasonable claims about COVID-19 protection to boost sales, taking advantage of consumers who panicked during the different waves of the pandemic.

Asian Paints claimed that its Royale Health Shield paint had “silver nano technology which was effective against COVID-19 within 30 minutes of exposure to painted surfaces”. After the claims were found to be baseless, the company withdrew the ad.

Berger Paints India was penalised for making similar claims through ads.

Zodiac Apparels, on the other hand, advertised that its shirts could kill 99% of Sars-COV-2 virus with a bogus technology called HelqViroBlock.

Siyaram Apparel got into trouble for its “anti-Corona suit fabric” and Kent water filter for disinfectant equipment that claims to remove “COVID virus from personal daily used items”.

Blue Star was forced to withdraw an ad which claimed some of its airconditioners deactivated viruses.

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