Consumer Protection Bill could make celebrities responsible for brand endorsements
The Consumer Protection Bill, which is currently pending before Parliament, will address the issue of misleading celebrity brand endorsements including for fashion, jewellery, and beauty brands.
The Consumer Protection Bill aims to create a powerful Central Consumer Protection Authority that will work to end unfair retail practices.
As the bill awaits the approval of Parliament, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) sent a letter to the Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan urging him to add adequate legislation to the bill concerning celebrity brand endorsements. The letter also urged that such action be taken during the current session of Parliament.
The CAIT said in an official statement: "It is imperative that liability should be cast upon brand ambassadors under the Consumer Protection Act... Engaging brand ambassadors for product promotions has become widely prevalent and consumers are guided or misguided by such endorsements irrespective of the quality of the products.” The idea is that, by making celebrities legally responsible to some degree for brand endorsements they agree to, they will take greater care in choosing endorsements that are not duping the consumer.
Celebrity brand endorsements have been in the news in India for a variety of reasons. As part of the ongoing Punjab National Bank (PNB) diamond fraud investigation in which Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi are accused, celebrity brand ambassadors from both brands stepped down and spoke out, including the Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra. This pressing issue and others will be addressed in the upcoming Consumer Protection Bill.
However, the bill has encountered severe delays since it was introduced to Parliament in 2015 despite the Prime Minister Modi stressing the necessity of the bill. The bill has been approved by the Union Cabinet and is currently in the queue to be passed by Parliament.
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