Recently, a consumer court in Kerala has held a film actor liable for making false claims while endorsing a hair cream product, without ascertaining its effectiveness.
According to the sources, the District Consumer Redressal Forum, Thrissur directed the manufactures of ‘Dhathri Hair Cream’ along with the Malayalam film actor Anoop Menon, the celebrity who endorsed the product in the advertisement, to pay a compensation amount of Rs 10,000 each to a consumer for making ‘false promises’.
The above order was passed during the hearing of a consumer complaint filed by one Mr. Francis Vadakkan against A-One Medicals, Dhathri Ayurveda Private Ltd., and actor Anoop Menon.
The complainant submitted to the court that he had reportedly bought the cream for the first time in January 2012 for Rs. 376/- after watching a promising advertisement in which Anoop Menon was a brand ambassador. The advertisement has claimed that the use of its hair cream product for six weeks will assure lush hair growth.
However, the complainant asserted that although he used the cream, he could not see any kind of improvement in the hair growth and was later ridiculed by his friends and family for purchasing a lame product. Therefore, he approached the forum seeking Rs 5 Lakh compensation while alleging ‘deficiency in service’ by the opposite parties.
On the other hand, actor Anoop Menon, in his deposition before the forum admitted that “I have never used the mentioned product. I only use the hair oil my mother makes for me.”
“I was not aware of what was told during the advertisement as it was the story of the manufactures. I thought the product was meant for hair care and not for hair growth,” added the brand ambassador.
Therefore, it is clear that the actor endorsed the advertisement without even using the product, the forum noted in the order. The court further observed that the manufacturer could not deliver the result of the product as claimed by him.
Further, while making critical remarks against the trend of using attractive advertisements to entice gullible consumers to purchase sub-standard products, the Court observed that the precautions mentioned in the brochure along with the product are printed in such a way that it is not even visible even when looked at with the help of a magnifying glass.
“The complainant here did not question the effectiveness of ayurvedic medicines, but the question is whether he got the required result as promised through the attractive advertisements,” stated the forum.
“If there were no advertisements, the prices of products will be halved. Thus, the consumer would have been able to save that much amount. Basically, advertisements are a trick to cause a consumerist desire in people. A clever tactic to make people buy useless products,” criticized the forum.
Considering all the evidence, President C T Sabu and members Dr. K Radhakrishnan Nair and Sreeja S of the District Forum directed Anoop Menon to indulge in future advertisements only after making sure of the product’s credibility. It also directed the actor and the company to pay a compensation of Rs.10,000/- each. The court further directed A One medical, the medical store from which the product was purchased, to pay a fine of Rs 3,000.