Regulations
ASCI upholds complaints against 62 Advertisers including P&G, Snapdeal, TV 18 and Hyundai Motors
ASCI upheld 62 out of the 97 complaints received by them in December. Almost a third of the advertisements axed are from the Personal and Healthcare category, followed by Education 
 
The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) upheld as many as 62 out of the 97 complaints during December 2014. Some of the companies that will now have to pull out their advertisements include Procter & Gamble Home Products Ltd (Pantene Total Damage Care Shampoo & Conditioner), Rich Feel Trichology Centre (Richfeel Anagrow), Career Launcher (CAT Coaching), TV 18 Broadcast Ltd (CNN-IBN), Hyundai Motors India Limited, Reliance Industries Ltd (Reliance Digital)  and Jasper Infotech P. Ltd (Snapdeal.com). 
 
In a pattern similar to November, most of the complaints upheld were from the Personal and Healthcare category (40 out of 62), followed by Education (11) and others such as Automobiles, News Channels and E-commerce. 
 
Some of the examples are: 
 
Procter & Gamble Home Products Ltd's advertisement for Pantene Total Damage Care Shampoo & Conditioner made an unsubstantiated claim that  3,50,00,000 women got the proof of Pantene’s Split-end protection. The only fact mentioned in the advertisement that could be substantiated from the cited survey was that there were 3,50,00,000 users in the study.
 
An advertisement for Richfeel Anagrow by Rich Feel Trichology Centre claimed that it could treat illnesses that lead to hairfall. These illnesses include thyroid, stress, PCOD and dieting.
 
The advertisement for Pillsbury Fridge Cheesecake (from General Mills India P. Ltd) referred to a healthy diet of vegetables and salads as “sada hua salad”.
  
 
 
The advertisement for The Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CK Birla Hospitals) included no disclaimers when it made the misleading claim of providing free checkups. 
 

An advertisement of Max Hospital (from Max Healthcare Institute Ltd) claimed to “save an ill heart” in just 45 minutes. No substantiating evidence or disclaimers were provided. 
 
Along with these, several advertisements for “miracle” drugs and treatments were banned by ASCI. These products make huge claims about being able to cure a wide range of diseases and ailments like diabetes (Shugreen Amrut Drops, Daibinash Churna, GM Pharmacy Range of Products, Aarogya Peeth), hairfall (Biogreen Japakusum, B-Healthy from JM Wellness Private Limited, Krissh Hair Oil from Params Pharma etc.) and impotency (Swapandoshantak Capsule and Krishna Herbal). 
 
Two advertisements from Career Launcher  - one for CAT coaching and the other for the CAT Test Series Program came under scrutiny for making unsubstantiated claims about their ranking and the number of their students who received calls from IIMs. 
 
Complaints against seven other educational institutes were upheld for making false claims about providing 100% placements or about their ranking as Number 1 Institutes. 
 
Jasper Infotech, i.e., Snapdeal.com, in one of its advertisements stated - “1+2 years of warranty valid with Videocon KC50FH (50) Full HD LED Television”, which was misleading. 
 
CNN-IBN of TV 18 Broadcast Ltd also received flak for an advertisement in which it shows a see-saw with one side showing a 'CNN-IBN' with big number 1 outweighing all other numbers on the other end of the see-saw. According to the ASCI Release, “The CCC concluded that the negative portrayal of image of other channels is misleading by implication and disparaging to other competitor channels.” 
 
Complaints against three advertisements from Hyundai Motors India Ltd were upheld – one each against Hyundai Grand i10, Hyundai Grand i20 and Hyundai Xcent. These advertisements violated The Indian Motor Vehicles Act by not showing the registration number displayed in the front of the car while being driven on the road. 
 
Another one from the automobiles category was an advertisement for Bajaj Discover (from Bajaj Auto Ltd), which shows people driving dangerously in a zig-zag manner while also cutting lanes, violating all safety and traffic regulations. 
 
Another advertisement that was axed was one for Reliance Digital, which claimed “zero down payment” without mentioning that the customer did have to pay processing fees while making the purchase. 

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A Sheldon Silver Mystery: Did He Betray New York Renters?

Prosecutors allege the state Assembly speaker made changes to rent regulation on behalf of a developer

 

When New York enacted a major rent regulation law in 2011, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver celebrated the passage of the legislation as a victory over real estate interests.
 
"Despite fierce and well-financed opposition to working families in New York City, we were able to secure important victories for tenants," he said at the time.
 
But the bribery case against Silver unveiled by prosecutors last week raises questions about whether Silver pulled his punches in negotiations on that 2011 bill, potentially at the expense of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who live in rent stabilized apartments.
 
A little-scrutinized section of the criminal complaint alleges a luxury developer implicated in the Silver bribery scheme requested changes to the law. The changes were ultimately adopted.
 
The complaint has tenant advocates who lobbied on the bill, known as the Rent Act of 2011, wondering what really happened. For now, it's a mystery: U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara hasn't specified what change Silver made on behalf of a developer who was part of the alleged bribery scheme.
 
"It's hugely important," says Benjamin Dulchin of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development. "I hope Preet Bharara tells us someday."
 
The complaint itself provides only a bit of detail.
 
With the legislation pending, it says, "the Lobbyists met, on behalf of Developer 1, with Silver in his State office to advocate for certain proposed terms for the new Real Estate Legislation. The legislation that was enacted included Developer 1's recommendations in substantial part."
 
"Developer 1" is widely reported to be Glenwood Management, the politically influential firm of centenarian developer Leonard Litwin
 
So what might Glenwood have wanted out of the legislation?
 
The heart of the fight that year centered on rent regulation, which limits rent increases on about a million units in New York City, including some of Glenwood's. The state law governing rent regulation comes up for renewal periodically.
 
Landlords can deregulate apartments and begin charging market-rate rents under certain circumstances, such as when an apartment becomes vacant and its rent passes a threshold, at the time $2,000. As a result, over 200,000 units have become deregulated over the past 30 years. In the 2011 negotiations, tenant advocates wanted to stem the flow of units out of the program by tightening the rules. Another focal point was the formula that governs how much landlords can raise rent on regulated apartments when they invest money in improvements.
 
There were other matters the legislation dealt with that could have been of interest to Glenwood Management, including tax exemptions for new development. The firm did not respond to a request for comment.
 
Silver has said he will be vindicated when the case is aired in court. His lawyers did not respond to a request for comment. 
 
The ultimate rent deal struck in 2011 among Silver, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and the state Senate did not please tenant advocates.
 
"Both Cuomo and Silver tried to spin the 2011 bill as a great victory for tenants when in fact there were very minor improvements," says Michael McKee, the treasurer of the Tenants Political Action Committee, who lobbied on the bill.
 
He says even at the time – long before the alleged bribery scheme between Silver and the developer was known — it wasn't clear where exactly Silver stood.
 
"Silver was not forthcoming about what he was working to achieve," McKee says. "Silver always presented himself as pro-tenant, but who knows what happened behind closed doors?"
 
 
Courtesy: ProPublica.org
 

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Green Coffee Bean Extract Marketer to Refund Customers
Marketers made millions off "Oz effect" but FTC says there was no proof the supplement worked
 
The marketer of a green coffee bean extract, who appeared on Dr. Oz and The View, touting the supplement’s weight-loss benefits will be paying consumers $9 million in refunds under an agreement with the FTC.
 
Lindsey Duncan and his companies, Genesis Today Inc., and Pure Health LLC, deceptively claimed that consumers could lose up to 17 pounds of their body fat in just three months without diet or exercise if they took the extract, according to the FTC.
 

In his Dr. Oz show appearance, Duncan, who also blogged for Oz’s site, cited a clinical study that the FTC later cited as severely flawed and which its authors later retracted.
 
He also capitalized on his appearance on Dr. Oz, and reaped millions in sales, the FTC said, by posting links to the Oz episode on his websites and marketing the supplement in retail stores with phrases such as “As Seen on TV.” He also issued a press release after his appearance on the show warning about scam companies selling green coffee extract and recommending his own company as a retailer.
 
Dr. Oz — a TINA.org Wall of Shamer — was later skewered at a Congressional hearing for promoting “miracle” weight-loss products, such as green coffee bean extract and garcinia cambogia.
 
The FTC also alleged that several company spokespeople portrayed themselves as independent sources of information about natural weight-loss remedies such as green coffee bean extract, failing to disclose their financial ties to Duncan’s companies.
 
Under the settlement agreement, Duncan is barred from making any weight-loss claims about a supplement or drug in the future without two well-controlled human clinical tests that support them.
 
TINA.org has reached out to Genesis Today and Dr. Oz for a comment. Reuters reported that a spokesperson for Genesis Today said Duncan had left the company in 2014.
 
Read more here on green coffee extract and weight-loss claims. 
 

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