Consumer Advocacy – (2020-2021)

  • Posted by CERC India
  • Posted in

CERC has always actively advocated for the formulation and/or modification of policies and laws which would strengthen consumer protection. This is undertaken by providing expertise, consumer and market feedback about products and services, and information based on substantive research and also product testing in laboratories, to Government bodies, Regulatory Authorities and other stakeholders. Projects/programs/activities undertaken for research and advocacy also generate information which can be used to educate and empower consumers.

FDCA stops the publication of objectionable Hempushpa advt: Hempushpa advertisement claimed that it is effective for insufficient blood (hemoglobin), pain during tough days, weakness, fatigue, irritability, and hormonal imbalance. This falls under the category of cure or prevention of disorders of menstrual flow and female diseases (in general), which is objectionable under the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act. CERC brought the advertisement to the notice of FDCA urging them to take action against it. FDCA ordered the company to not only stop the publication of objectionable advertisements with immediate effect, but to also discontinue marketing and sale of the product being advertised.

Dabur Honey – misleading use of CERS test report: A consumer wrote to us that he had purchased Dabur Honey and tested it for adulteration at home as per the FSSAI home test for adulteration. He found that Dabur Honey failed in this test. He brought to our notice that Dabur website mentions- “Dabur Honey ranked best buy by CERS (Express News Service, Ahmedabad, December 26).” The consumer asked us the basis on which we ranked Dabur as best buy. We checked our test reports and found out that the referred test was conducted in 2003 and reported in our then magazine “INSIGHT (November-December 2003)”. Dabur has referred to a test report that is 17 years old. It may not hold value after so many years. They have not even mentioned the year of testing which will enable consumers to make an informed choice. Also, they have done this without taking any permission from CERC.

We got a bottle of Dabur Honey tested as per FSSAI home test and did not find any adulteration. We wrote to the consumer about the results and that he may consider writing to Amazon (from where he had purchased) with a copy to us for our intervention.

We also wrote to Dabur asking them to:

  • Remove the misleading statement/declaration made on the web site with respect to Dabur honey;
  • Display a written apology on the home page of the web site for at least six months on account of displaying such a misleading advertisement for the past seventeen years;
  • Deposit an amount of Rs.10,00,000 in the Consumer Welfare Fund


Complaint sent to CCPA: After giving Dabur enough time, and their non-compliance, we have written to Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to initiate action against Dabur for the irresponsible conduct.

We have also written a letter to Secretary DoCA, GoI, drawing their attention to this issue for intervention.

Suggestions sent for CCPA for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Necessary Due Diligence for Endorsement of Advertisements Guidelines, 2020: DoCA has drafted guidelines for prevention of misleading advertisements and necessary due diligence for endorsement of advertisements which are proposed to be notified by the CCPA. This draft was put in public domain for comments and suggestions. We studied the Advertising Codes of other countries, based on which we prepared a detailed note with references to Global Best Practices. Our suggestions focused primarily on the following four areas which need to be addressed by the Guidelines:

  1. Advertisements directed towards Children
  2. Endorsements and Endorser
  3. Advertisements on Social Media and Influencers
  4. Advertisements with Environmental Claims

Representations sent to DoCA, MoHFW, FDCA to monitor the quality and safety of alcohol-based hand sanitizers in the market: State/Central Regulators and VCOs have found many available hand sanitizer brands to be contaminated / adulterated or of substandard quality, making them harmful and/or ineffective. We made strong representations on the issue to DoCA, Min. of Health and Family Welfare, and to Gujarat state FDCA and DoCA, for the need to issue clear guidelines for categorization of sanitizers as drugs, cosmetics or ayurvedic formulations, to enable monitoring of their quality/safety and protect consumers from harmful or ineffective products. We also emphasized the need to monitor the quality of hand sanitizers in the market by testing samples drawn across the state.

Representation made on Mandatory Setting up of State and District Consumer Protection Councils under the new Consumer Protection Act 2019: The new CPA 2019 directs the State Government to establish State and District Consumer Protection Councils, which will be advisory councils with the objective of rendering advice on promotion and protection of consumer rights under the Act within the State/districts. We wrote to the Minister of Consumer Affairs – Gujarat, Secretary of Consumer Affairs –Gujarat and Director of CAPAG to take necessary steps to establish the State and the District Consumer Protection Councils at the earliest.

Honey adulteration concerns for consumers: There has been a major concern among consumers about the quality of honey they use after the media reports and discussion on Honey adulteration. Many consumers started to question themselves if the honey they have been consuming as an immunity builder, may actually be a sugar heavy and adulterated product which is actually putting their health to a greater risk.

We wrote to the Minister of Consumer Affairs seeking immediate intervention in the matter. We suggested that they seek Audited data about their procurement of honey and as well as about their processing, production and sales of honey from major manufacturers. Such data of 3 to 5 years, will give a fair idea of a match/mismatch of input/output.

A similar letter was also prepared for the Minister of Agriculture urging the ministry to help consumers get some clarity amidst the controversy.

Subscribe to Newsletter
SIGN UP for the Newsletter.
Exclusive from Consumer Education and Research Centre!
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
"A placerat mauris placerat et penatibus porta aliquet sed dapibus, pulvinar urna cum aliquet arcu lectus sed tortor aliquet sed dapibus."
John Doe, Astronomer
Bubble Company Inc. © 2011-2014