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Center issues new regulations for influencers, a maximum fine of Rs. 50 lakh if they are violated.

Center issues new regulations for influencers, a maximum fine of Rs. 50 lakh if they are violated.

In an ever-expanding digital world where advertisements are no longer restricted to conventional media like print, television, or radio, the Government of India has released new endorsement standards for celebrities and social media influencers to protect consumers’ rights.

To ensure more openness and consumer protection, the government has put restrictions on the growing social influencer economy, such as the release of transparent declarations about brand affiliations. Violators may be punished with penalties of up to 50 lakh rupees or have their ability to endorse products revoked for as long as six years.

Regulations require that disclosures, including words like “advertisement,” “sponsored,” or “paid promotion,” be posted prominently and legibly within the endorsement. The Directorate of Consumer Affairs at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution produced “Advertising deals Technical expertise!” as a template for famous people, businesses, and social media influencers to follow when they promote something online. This guide is intended to protect consumers’ interests.

Consumer Protection Act

The requirements are designed to make sure people don’t deceive their audiences when endorsing goods or services and that they’re abiding by the Consumer Protection Act and any related rules or regulations.

As the digital world expands, norms are crucial.

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The Center issued these guidelines as a reaction to the growing number of grievances being lodged in the digital world. With the growing popularity of social media and digital channels like Fb, Twitter, and Insta, the popularity of digital influencer have increased alongside that of personalities and influencer marketing.

Considering the importance they play in businesses’ ability to reach and connect with customers, it’s no surprise that they’re increasingly being used. The value of the Indian social influencer market is projected to increase from its current estimated level of about Rs 1,275 crore in 2022 to around Rs 2,800 crore by 2025, representing a CAGR of roughly 19%.

According to Singh, the country is home to more than 1 lakh social media influencers, or users with a sizable following. The likelihood of customers being duped by marketing and dishonest business practices by these people on social media platforms has increased as a result of this.

Statements to be included in the endorsement

Assertions must be extensively and pointedly presented in the endorsement, and they must be very difficult to miss, according to the rules. Each and every celebrity, influencer, or virtual influencer who has direct exposure to a community and can sway their thoughts about a good, service, brand, or experience is required to disclose any relevant business relationships. Everything from monetary and non-monetary rewards to freebies (with or without strings attached), discounts, freebies, gifts, and personal or business contacts counts as a benefit.

Utilization of knowledge of influencers individually

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Endorsements should be using terminology like “advertisement,” “sponsored,” or “paid promotion,” as well as a plain, simple language. They should refrain from endorsing any good or service they have not personally used or experienced or for which they have not done their due research.  Access to the guide is provided in compliance with the requirements of the Consumer Protection Act of 2019.

The CCPA may forbid an endorser of a false advertisement from making any endorsements for a period of up to one year and for future violations, Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh announced the release of these recommendations at a press conference and noted that they fall under the purview of the CCPA, which offers a framework for protecting consumers against deceptive advertising and unfair business practices.

Rohit Kumar Singh, who is in charge of Consumer Affairs, says that the new rules will have the most effect on the personal care and clothing industries, which are choosing social media influencers most frequently to promote their brands.

Advertising that is deceptive is forbidden by law

These guidelines, which outline the standards for legitimate advertisements and the obligations of manufacturers, service providers, advertisers, and advertising agencies, were released by the relevant department in 2022. They are intended to prevent misleading advertisements and endorsements for misleading advertisements.

These rules also made note of celebrities and brand ambassadors. It proclaims that all forms, media, and manifestations of fraudulent advertising are prohibited by law. The industry has expressed appreciation for and support for the publication of these rules, saying that doing so will strengthen it even more and safeguard customer interests.

CCPA sent notifications to e-commerce companies

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The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) only recently sent notices to three e-commerce companies: Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal for selling toys in breach of guidelines the Central Government has mandated as mandatory use.

It demanded a response from the e-commerce businesses within seven days of the notice’s issue, failing which necessary action would be taken. Consumer durables including electric immersion water heaters, electric irons, home gas stoves, microwave ovens, sewing machines, etc. are now included in the nationwide campaign launched by the CCPA to stop the sale of fake and counterfeit items that breach Quality Control Orders (QSOs).

CCPA sent a letter to District Collectors all around the nation.

The CCPA has written to district collectors all throughout India requesting that they look into allegations of deceptive business practices and violations of consumer rights involving the production or sale of such goods and submit a report detailing the actions they took.

“Defect” in the context of the Consumer Protection Act of 2019 refers to any flaw, imperfection, or insufficiency in the quality, amount, potency, purity, or standard that must be upheld under any currently in-force legal provision.

Consumer awareness

Additionally, policies are put into place by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) for the benefit of consumers and the general public, enhancing consumer protection and awareness in the process. Numerous initiatives are taken to achieve this goal, which is what motivates consumer rights and information activity.

It is important to raise consumer knowledge of these programs, especially in rural and underdeveloped areas, so that consumers may take advantage of them and make better decisions. DoCA has been running “Jago Grahak Jago,” a nationwide multimedia awareness campaign. Consumers are informed about fraudulent activities, issues, and how to file a complaint through the use of straightforward communications.

edited and proofread by nikita sharma

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