CERS alleges fat free remedies ads of ayurveda firm misleading, plans to move consumer court

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The Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS), a leading consumer rights organisation based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, is exploring legal options to complain with the consumer redressal forum against the allegedly misleading advertisement of the Thissur -based Sri Bhagavathy Madom Ayurveda Nikethanam, Kerala, for its fitness massage oil and fat free tablets.
The CERS, an not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO), alleges that the company’s claims on its two products, the Sri Bhagavathy Madom Fitness Massage Oil and the Fat Free, on advertisements published in various publications are misleading the consumers. The society has recently complained to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self regulatory
voluntary organization of the advertising industry, against the advertisement.
“The ASCI has advised the company to withdraw the advertisement on dispute from publishing henceforth. However the company seems to carry on with the advertisement and our legal department is examining the issue for further actions,” said Pritee Shah, senior director, CERS and the editor with the society’s consumer magazine, Insight.
According to CERS complaint, “the ad said that the ‘Fat Free’ tablet is scientifically proven as reducing excess fat and cholesterol; and by using ‘Sri Bhagavathy Madom Fitness Massage Oil’ one can get rid of loose fat, wrinkles bulgings, swellings, dry skin, excess sweating and bad odour. ‘Use ‘Fat Free’ tablet and ‘Sri Bhagavathy Madom Fitness Massage Oil’ together and see the magical result within one month”, the ad claimed’”.
The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI found that the advertisement contravened Chapter 1.1 of the ASCI Code and has advised the advertiser to withdraw the said advertisement. The CCC, after considering the clinical data submitted by the advertiser, concluded that the claims mentioned in the ad and cited in the complaint were not substantiated adequately, says a press release from CERS.
The ASCI is the voluntary self-regulatory body dealing with complaints received from consumers and industry, against advertisements which are considered as false, misleading, indecent, illegal, leading to unsafe practices, or unfair to competition, and consequently in contravention of the ASCI Code for self-regulation in advertising.
Though the issue could be challenged with the state drug regulator pointing relevant acts and rules, the society, being a consumer organisation, would preferably move to the consumer redressal forum for a remedy, said Shah. However, management officials from Sri Bhagavathy Madom were not readily available for comments.

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