PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Rugulartory Authority) and CCP (Competition Commission of Pakistan) have taken strong exception of misleading ads running on various TV channels and both regulators now plan to come up with legislation that could land such companies in serious trouble as according to details companies running misleading ads may fine up to a whopping 10 percent of their total revenue.
The move came in the backdrop of complaints launched by consumers that several products attribute features with their products which are clearly missing and they also make unrealistic comparisons:
“PEMRA is gearing up to scan and thus penalize faulty companies very soon” PEMRA officials told at a seminar on “Deceptive Marketing Practices.”
Chairperson CCP Rahat Kaunain Hassan said that four different companies including a cellular service provider and a bank have been penalised for misleading their customers.
“CCP is basically a watchdog to ensure competition but tackling deceptive marketing is also part of our mandate,” she said. “My institution just got a legal cover. However, we will soon be investigating more cases.”
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) at the commission allows consumers to register complaints, she said.
“Please tell us about deceptive products. But also help us figuring out impact of any faulty product, its consumers and the size of market.”
Besides the CCP law, there are twelve other legislations, which deal with deceptive marketing practice and have provisions for punishment as well, she said. The law prohibits certain marketing practices, which includes distribution of false or misleading information that may harm business interests of another company, said Hassan.
In recent years, penetration of TV channels and rush for revenues has paved for makers of low-cost products to capture larger audience. From herbal medicines that promise cure of diabetes to drugs that help increase height- everything is being sold on TV, the seminar was told.