Apple, Airtel, MobiKwik, and Others Get Pulled Up for Misleading Ads by ASCI

Apple, Airtel, MobiKwik, and Others Get Pulled Up for Misleading Ads by ASCI
  • Apple has been held for showing iPhone 7 Plus in an iPhone 7 ad in India
  • Airtel has been held for misleading customers with claims for free calls
  • MobiKwik and Opera Mini have also come under the ASCI scanner

Apple showing iPhone 7 Plus as iPhone 7 is among 143 advertisements dubbed as misleading by regulator ASCI, which also pulled up Bharti Airtel and others for such campaigns.

MobiKwik, HUL, Nivea, Amul, Opera, Standard Chartered Bank and Pernod Ricard are among the companies against which a total of 191 complaints were received by Customer Complaints Council (CCC) of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) for January.

ASCI upheld a total of 102 complaints in healthcare category, 20 in education, seven in personal care, six in food and beverages and eight advertisements from other categories.

According to ASCI, Apple India was found using a wrong image in its advertisement for iPhone 7.

"The advertisement text states 'The amazing iPhone 7 is here', but shows an image of iPhone 7 Plus variant, which is misleading by ambiguity and implication," said ASCI.

The sector watchdog said although the advertisement had the Apple trademark with 'iPhone 7' but said it didn't have any reference to 'series' in the advertisement text.

"In absence of any visual of iPhone 7 variant, it was concluded that the advertisement is likely to mislead the consumers about the product advertised and its corresponding features," it said.

Comments from Apple could not be obtained.

The regulator also upheld three complaints against leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel for "misleading" claims for free Calls Local + STD and a free upgrade for Airtel-V Fiber.

"The ad claim, "Free Calls Local + STD" cannot be said free as the prevailing price for data without advertised incentive is less i.e. from the consumer's point of view, they have to make a payment of Rs. 149 to avail this offer although they get only 300MB data versus 500MB data," it said.

However, when contacted, Airtel declined to comment.

Complaint against Opera Software ASA claim for its mobile browser Opera Mini was also upheld where it had claimed that it saves data cost up to 90 percent while browsing. "The advertisement's claim, 'Saves data cost up to 90 percent while browsing', was not substantiated with supporting data and is misleading by exaggeration," the CCC said.

When contacted an Opera spokesperson said: "We adhere to the highest ethical standards and never share any exaggerated or misleading data with our consumers. Hence, our claim of Opera Mini saving up to 90 percent data in our advertisement, is entirely true. We have proven our claims by internal and external tests from time to time over the years."

Digital payment firm MobiKwik also failed to substantiate its claim of "India's most secure e-wallet" for Mobikwik E-wallet and found to be "misleading by exaggeration".


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