The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on eyewear maker Sure Vision India for a misleading advertisement, which claimed its products improve eyesight naturally and eliminate eye strain, and directed it to discontinue the commercial.
The CCPA, which initiated action after it received a complaint against the firm, passed the order on February 25, 2022, directing Director General (Investigation) to investigate the claims made by the company in the advertisement, the Consumer Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
Sure Vision made false claims in the advertisement that its products improve eyesight naturally, eliminate eye strains, exercises the ciliary muscles and it is the world’s best unisex correction apparatus, it noted.
According to the CCPA, "The company was not able to substantiate its claims related to the efficacy of the product made out in the advertisement”.
As per the investigation report submitted by the Director-General (Investigation), the company’s claims are "superfluous and ought to be rejected as no reference to any research conducted either by the company or by any other organisation on the product being advertised has been furnished,” it said.
Further, the Pinhole technology used by the company in the product "Sure Vision” is primary a "diagnostic" intervention and not a "therapeutic" intervention as claimed in the advertisement.
Hence, the DG (Investigation) opined that the company’s claims are misleading and uncalled for, the statement added.
"Therefore, the CCPA has directed Sure Vision India to discontinue the advertisements of their product….and also imposed a penalty of Rs 10,00,000 on the company, under the provisions of Section 21(1) and (2) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019,” it noted.
Earlier, the CCPA had also imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh each on Naaptol and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare Ltd for its Sensodyne toothpaste for their misleading advertisements.
They were also directed to discontinue their commercials.
In the wake of consumer sensitivity around the COVID-19 pandemic, the CCPA took stringent action against misleading advertisements whereby 13 companies withdrew their advertisements and 3 companies made corrective advertisements.
Further, to safeguard consumer interest against misleading advertisements and unfair trade practices, the CCPA has also issued two advisories.
The first advisory was issued on January 20, 2021, calling industry stakeholders to cease making misleading claims that take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic situation and are not supported by any competent and reliable scientific evidence.
The second advisory was issued on October 1, 2021, highlighting compliance with the provisions of Consumer Protection (e-commerce) Rules, 2020, which require every marketplace e-commerce entity to prominently display all information provided to it by the seller under Rule 6 (5), including name, designation and contact information of the grievance officer of the seller.
The CCPA has been established under Section 10 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, to regulate the matters related to violation of the right to consumers, unfair trade practices and false or misleading advertisements prejudicial to the interest of public and to safeguard the rights to consumers as a class.