New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has directed all private TV channels in India to stop airing “misleading” advertisements by Naaptol Shopping Online Pvt Ltd and GlaxoSmithKline-owned toothpaste brand Sensodyne.
In doing so, the ministry has sought compliance with a February order passed by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), which stated that Naaptol — which runs teleshopping and online shopping platforms — and Sensodyne should discontinue ads that make false claims about their products.
In a notice issued Tuesday, the I&B ministry said “non-compliance with CCPA orders is a violation… of the Advertising Code under Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and Rules 1994”.
The CCPA is a statutory body of the department of consumer affairs constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. Its role is to “promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers”. It was formed in 2020, when the late Ram Vilas Paswan was Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
The body, headed by Additional Secretary in the consumer affairs ministry Nidhi Khare, identifies misleading advertisements by companies and any false information on products being sold to the public. It is also responsible for keeping track of consumer rights violations and unfair trade practices.
“Both companies were given an opportunity to be heard and we still did not receive any data from them that would substantiate their claims. Naaptol has complied with the order and paid their fine also, but Sensodyne has appealed against the order,” Khare told ThePrint.
When contacted, a representative of GlaxoSmithKline said: “The matter is subjudice. We are a responsible and compliant company, committed to the welfare of our consumers and our products conform to the highest quality standards.”
ThePrint also sought a comment on the matter from Naaptol via email, but is yet to receive a response.
In February, the CCPA took suo motu cognisance of Sensodyne ads on various platforms, including television, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and passed an order to stop its “misleading” ads.
In March, the body slapped a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on the brand. It also ordered discontinuation, within seven days, of Sensodyne advertisements that make claims like “recommended by dentists worldwide” and “world’s no.1 sensitivity toothpaste”. The ads purportedly showed UK dentists endorsing Sensodyne toothpaste for people with teeth sensitivity.
According to CCPA officials, these actions were taken because no study was submitted by Sensodyne to substantiate its claims.
Meanwhile, Naaptol was asked to cough up Rs 10 lakh in February for “misleading” claims made while selling its products.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)