Can you sue brands for false advertising?

June 07, 2019
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty

The influence of advertisements on consumer choice is unassailable. In our everyday lives, we are constantly bombarded with misleading advertisements. Take for instance the fairness creams that not only outrage the dark-skinned people but hook them to a pyramid of false hopes that using such creams will make them fair instantly. Be it guaranteed "fairness in just four weeks" or “Be fair, be handsome”, no matter what product or brand, there are numerous misleading advertisements out there. But will the use of such creams really make you fair?

The misleading advertisement of health and nutrition related products or drugs can have serious repercussions for the consumers. These advertisements not only violate the consumer’s right to information but can also affect their lives to a degree. False promises, exaggerated results, not revealing important information are few examples of content that makes advertisement misleading.

Consult: Top Civil Lawyers in India

Primitively, since there was no comprehensive legislation to regulate misleading advertisements, they were regulated by the courts, government, tribunals, and the matters were decided on the case to case basis. However, now the consumer can approach various forums for complaining and claiming relief for false and misleading advertisements under Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, Cable Television Network (Regulation)Act 1955, Food Safety and Standards Authority, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and Reserve Bank of India depending on the nature of goods for which unfair practices are being taken up.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has been established to crack its whip and bring companies to book that flout the rules. The duty of ASCI was to dispose of complaints based on its code of advertising practice


How to make a complaint before ASCI-

A complaint can be made in any of the following ways-

  1. Through a Letter addressed to The Secretary-General, the Advertising Standards Council of India, 219 Bombay Market, Tardeo, Mumbai 400 034;

  2. By sending an email at ([email protected] com; [email protected]);

  3. You can also register a complaint online at

  4. You can call ASCI on 022 23513982 or 022 23521066 or 1-800-22 –2724 (toll-free) to register a complaint.


Consult: Top Civil Lawyers in India


Who can make a Complaint?


  1. General public including government officials, consumer groups,   etc.,

  2. Suo Moto complaints from the member of the ASCI Board, CCC, or the Secretariat and,

  3. Intra-industry i.e. complaints from one advertiser against another.


Complaint under Consumer Protection Act, 1986

Any consumer who has been a victim of a misleading advertisement can seek redressal against such unfair trade practices under the consumer protection act, 1986. He will be entitled to following reliefs-

  • Refund of money equivalent to the price

  • Compensation for any loss or injury suffered.

  • The opposite party may be ordered to issue corrective advertisement to neutralise the effect of the misleading advertisement;

  • The court can also award punitive damages and costs of litigation to the consumer.


 Consult: Top Civil Lawyers in India


These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.

Googling your legal issue online?

The internet is not a lawyer and neither are you.
Talk to a real lawyer about your legal issue.

Popular Consumer Court Lawyers

Advocate Rajesh Rai
Sector-19, Dwarka , Delhi
20 years Experience
Advocate Sunil Kumar Bakshi
Sector-16 , Faridabad
33 years Experience
Advocate J. P. Rinwa
Swej Farm, Sodala , Jaipur
19 years Experience
Advocate Bala Janaki
330 Thambuchetty Street , Chennai
35 years Experience

Related Articles

Connect with top Consumer Court lawyers for your specific issue

Consumer Court Law Articles

How to File Consumer Court Complaints

Action against Builder for Delayed Possession

The Electricity Act, 2003

The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954

User Reviews

4.7 - 19 reviews

nice one. Please share more info

Abhay on Sep 06, 2020

nice article. Good legal advice

Bhavesh on Aug 02, 2020

thank you for the information

Pratik on Sep 07, 2020

nice work. Learned a lot. Thanks

Devendra on Aug 21, 2020

Gave me a very clear idea of the subject.

Dipak on Aug 13, 2020

Thanks for the detailed article.

Rama on Aug 26, 2020

learned all the basics about the legal issue. Good article. Keep it up.

Neelam on Sep 13, 2020

I have legal query. Who can I call?

Roshan on Aug 14, 2020

good article and easy to understand

Rajeev on Sep 04, 2020

Very nice article.

Rama on Sep 02, 2020


Ajith on Sep 02, 2020

how to contact a lawyer?

Vinayak on Aug 17, 2020

needed some more information on the subject.

Ashish on Sep 07, 2020

thanks for the information

Aditi on Sep 09, 2020

very helpful and detailed

Kishan on Aug 06, 2020

Answered all my legal queries.

Ashok on Aug 02, 2020

needed legal help…whom shall I contact?

Tanu on Aug 05, 2020

nice legal article.

Nitin on Sep 03, 2020

Detailed and informative.

Kirti on Sep 03, 2020