Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with the Concept
To begin with, familiarize yourself with the concepts of false advertising and unfair competition. False advertising refers to the use of deceptive or misleading statements in advertising. On the other hand, unfair competition involves dishonest or fraudulent rivalry in trade and commerce.
Step 2: Understand the Consumer Protection Act, 2019
India’s main law related to false advertising is the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. This act is designed to protect consumers from unfair trade practices and unethical business tactics. The Act also establishes a specific regulatory body to handle consumer disputes, known as the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA).
Step 3: Explore the Laws Related to False Advertising
The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 considers false advertising a punishable offense. Section 18 of the Act states that advertisers cannot make false or misleading statements about a product or service. If they do, they could be held liable for a fine and/or imprisonment.
Step 4: Discover the Provisions of Unfair Trade Practices
Understand what constitutes an unfair trade practice. This includes everything from falsely representing that goods or services have certain standards or approvals, to not revealing essential information about a product or service. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 defines and provides guidelines for unfair trade practices.
Step 5: Study Other Relevant Laws
There are other laws in India that also cover aspects of false advertising and unfair competition. These include the Indian Contract Act, the Trademarks Act, the Copyright Act, and the Patents Act. Familiarize yourself with these laws to fully understand your rights and obligations.
Step 6: Learn about Regulatory Authorities
India has various bodies responsible for enforcing these laws. For instance, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is an industry-regulated body that ensures ethical advertising. Moreover, The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a statutory body responsible for enforcing the Competition Act 2002, to prevent practices having an adverse effect on competition.
Step 7: Consult a Legal Professional
When dealing with cases of false advertising or unfair competition, it’s wise to consult a legal professional. They can guide you on practical and procedural aspects that are crucial for the complaint process.
Step 8: File a Complaint
If you come across any instance of false advertising or unfair competition, you can file a complaint with the relevant authorities, like CCPA, ASCI, or CCI. The complaint should include details such as the nature of the ad, the claim made in the advertisement, and why it is perceived to be false or misleading.
Remember, understanding these laws isn’t just beneficial for consumers—it’s also crucial for businesses that want to ensure their marketing strategies are compliant with the law.