Stumbled upon an ad that seems to be misleading a consumer by giving incorrect or incomplete information? The right thing to do would be to report it to The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulatory body created to ensure the protection of interests of consumers in advertising. Recently, ASCI launched an app that allows consumers to register complaints about misleading or incorrect ads directly to the council from their smartphone.
The app has a simple interface, with easy access to a complaint centre, where it’s possible to register complaints as well as track and maintain a record of old complaints. First-time users are required to submit personal details including name, address, email ID, phone number and location to continue using the app (ASCI promises on its website — ascionline.org — that personal details won’t be shared with advertisers). Once the registration is complete, you can access the complaint centre from the home screen.
Registering a complaint is easy. All one has to do is fill up a form, giving details about the nature of the ad, their grievance with the ad, medium of the ad and the location where it was spotted. Here, users can also submit optional image or video to further ascertain their point. Overall, it’s a great idea and a tool that empowers consumers to register their grievance with the ASCI about misleading ads.
However, during our trial run, we found the app to have certain issues in loading the complaint centre, especially when there is poor Internet connectivity. Perhaps, an offline approach, where users are able to save details about their complaints and submit it later when they are online, could be useful. Nevertheless it’s an effective tool for consumers to share their grievances with the ASCI about misleading ads.
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