Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has issued directions to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare Ltd to discontinue Sensodyne products advertisement in India for flouting norms by running misleading ads. The order was issued on January 27.
Consumer Protection Regulator CCPA has also directed Naaptol Online Shopping Ltd to pay a Rs 10 lakh penalty for misleading advertisements and unfair trade practices. The order against Naaptol was issued on February 2.
As per the January 27 order, GSK has been directed to discontinue all advertisements for Sensodyne products in the country within seven days. The regulator noted that Sensodyne ads showed dentists practicing outside India endorsing the products.
“GSK Consumer Healthcare cannot be allowed to circumvent the law in force in India and show foreign dentists to exploit consumer apprehension towards tooth sensitivity,” said CCPA.
“Therefore, advertisement of Sensodyne products in India which show endorsements by dentists practicing outside India qualify as ‘misleading advertisement’ in terms of Section 2 (28) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019,” the order stated.
CCPA has also sought a report from Director General (Investigation) within 15 days after probing claims like “recommended by dentists worldwide”, “world’s no.1 sensitivity toothpaste” and “clinically proven relief, works in 60 seconds”.
“We confirm the receipt of the order from the CCPA. While we are looking into it in detail, we would like to clarify that our marketing initiatives are compliant with the applicable laws and industry guidelines. We are a responsible and compliant company which is committed to the welfare of its consumers,” GSK spokesperson said.
After taking a suo moto cognizance of the matter, CCPA directed Naaptol to discontinue misleading advertisements of “Set of 2 Gold Jewelry”, “Magnetic Knee Support” and “Acupressure Yoga Slippers”.
Imposing a cost of Rs 10 lakh, CCPA stated that its advertisements have had a far reaching impact on numerous consumers as the company runs a 24X7 channel and is broadcast on a daily basis across the country in various languages.
The order also directed Naaptol to clearly display in every episode that it is a prerecorded episode and does not show the live status of inventory of the production.
CCPA has also directed Naaptol to immediately discontinue any practices which create “artificial scarcity” of products, including showing that the product is available only today if it is going to be on sale within the next 30 days as well.
The Consumer Protection Regulator has also asked Naaptol to redress all the complaints filed between May 2021 and January 2022. According to National Consumer Helpline data, 399 complaints were registered against Naaptol from June 2021 to January 25 this year.