75% customers really feel youngsters are being misled in lots of advertisements

New Delhi, October 3

Seventy-five per cent consumers feel children are being misled in many advertisements for apps, gaming and other online services, according to a survey by Local Circles.

Eighty-seven per cent consumers say they have difficulty in reading, viewing and hearing disclaimers while 86 per cent have come across child inappropriate ads in the last one year.

In August, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs issued a draft for ‘Central Consumer Protection Authority (Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Necessary Due Diligence for Endorsement of Advertisements) Guidelines, 2020 aimed at preventing unfair trade practices and protecting consumers’ interest.

According to the survey on these guidelines, 87 per cent consumers find disclaimers in advertisements difficult to read, view and hear. 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.

Around 86 per cent consumers have come across child inappropriate ads on television, digital sites or newsprint in the last 1 year. Consumer reported how on video sites child inappropriate ads are presented between children videos and how sites should only show ads based on the video content being watched.

75 per cent consumers have come across ads of apps, games and online products/services that were designed to mislead children into spending.

On this front, the draft says that the ad should not take advantage of children’s inexperience, credulity or sense of loyalty, or exaggerate the features of a good or service in a way that could lead to children having unrealistic expectations of such good or service, and include a direct promotion to children to purchase a good or service or to persuade their parents to purchase a good or service for them.

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.

During the Covid-induced lockdown months, a series of advertisements were flagged by the consumers as misleading including products like mattresses, sanitisers, fabrics, readymade garments, juices, breads and even ice creams as immunity building for Covid-19 or fighting the Covid-19 virus. — IANS

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