Built on false promises

One sector where consumers are often taken in by false promises made in advertisements is the real estate sector. Take the following two ads.

The website ad by Marathon Nexzone claims: “New Panvel, Navi Mumbai Sept 2015 Possession 2 Bed Apartment 825 1300 Square Feet Rs. 40.3-75 Lacs.” However, on contacting the builder for the same project, the complainant was told that the information given was wrong. The minimum starting price was Rs. 55 lakh and possession was by December 2016. The builder refused to acknowledge that false information was put in the ad. When was contacted for the discrepancy it refused to take any action.

The website ad by Aims Max Gardenia Developers Pvt. Ltd. claims about project Glory 46: “Possession starting within three months”. This ad is misleading as the complainant felt the project had been active since July 2014 and with the current state of the project timelines none of the customers could get possession in the next three months.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) viewed these two website ads and upheld the complaints. In the first case, in the absence of comments from the advertiser it concluded that the claims in the advertisement were not substantiated. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.1 of the ASCI Code which says that advertisements must be truthful. “All descriptions, claims and comparisons which relate to matters of objectively ascertainable fact should be capable of substantiation.” In the second case, ASCI considered the advertiser’s response and concluded that the claim was false. Again, the ad contravened Chapter I.1 of the ASCI code.

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