Celebrity found guilty of endorsing product without test and punished by consumer commission
In an interesting order, a consumer court in Kerala has held a film actor liable for making false claims endorsing a hair cream product without ascertaining its effectiveness. The complainant, represented by Advocate AD Benny, told the forum that he had bought the cream for the first time in January 2012 for Rs 376 after seeing the advertisement in which film actor Anoop Menon the celebrity promised that the use of the product for six weeks will assure lush hair growth.Though he used the cream, no improvement happened. He complained that he was ridiculed by his friends and family for purchasing the product. Feeling humiliated, he approached the forum for Rs 5 lakh compensation alleging ‘deficiency in service’ by the opposite parties.
Anoop Menon, in his deposition before the forum, admitted during the cross-examination that he never used the product and he has only used the hair oil prepared by his mother. He also said that he was not aware of what was told during the advertisement as it was the ‘story’ of the manufacturers. He added that he thought the product was meant for hair care and not for hair growth.
Looking at all the evidence, the President C T Sabu and members Dr. K Radhakrishnan Nair and Sreeja S of the District Forum Thrissur directed Anoop Menon to indulge in future advertisments only after making sure of the product’s credibility . Forum ordered the manufacturers of ‘Dhathri Hair Cream’ and film actor Anoop Menon the celebrity to pay compensation of Rs 10,000 each to a consumer for making “false promises for endorsing the product in an advertisement. The court further directed A One medicals, the medical store from which the product was purchased, to pay fine of Rs 3,000.The order was passed on a consumer complaint filed by Mr. Francis Vadakkan against A-One Medicals, Dhatri Ayurveda Private Ltd and Anoop Menon
Consumer Commission made observations-
- The brand ambassador appeared in the advertisement without even using the product.
- The claim of manufacturer proved false and statement pronounced by Anoop Menon in the advertisement “Hair growth is guaranteed. Just within six weeks, the result will be threefold”- was also without test by the model
- 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 forum remarked against trend of using attractive advertisements to entice gullible consumers to purchase sub-standard products.Basically, advertisements are a trick to cause a consumerist desire in people. A clever tactic to make people buy useless products
- Consumer commission remarked that advertisements should help the growth of an informed consumer culture enabling the consumer to make the right choices by rejecting bogus products Media and newspapers have forgotten their journalistic duties to become only publishers of advertisements
Ref. Consumer Commission ,Kerela
Francis Vaddakkam V/s A-One Medicals,
Dhatri Ayurveda Private Ltd,Anoop Menon CC no 345/12 (3/7/12)
Decided on December 29, 2020.