ASCI bans 373 ads including Amul Milk, Bennett University, Make My Trip, Wagh Bakri Tea, ACC Gold Water Shield, MI A2 in December 2018 & January 2019
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) processed 415 complaints during December 2018 and January 2019. Out of these complaints, advertisers ensured corrective action for 125 advertisements while the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of has banned as many as 230 advertisements out of 290 advertisements evaluated, ASCI says in a release.
 
The self-regulatory industry body, in a statement said, out of these 230 advertisements banned, 106 belonged to the education sector, 61 to the healthcare sector, 32 to the food & beverages sector, nine to personal care, and 22 were from the 'others' category.
 
The banned ads are from prominent companies like Gujarat Co-Operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (Amul Milk), Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (Bennett University), Allied Blenders and Distillers Pvt Ltd (Officers Choice Blue Snacks), United Spirits Ltd (Royal Challenge Sports Drink), Bajaj Corp Ltd (Bajaj Nomarks Ayurvedic Antimarks Cream), Marico Ltd (Hair and Care Fruit Oil), Dabur India Ltd (Dabur Amla Hair Oil), Make my trip India Pvt Ltd (Make My Trip), ACC Ltd (ACC Gold Water Shield), Keystone Realtors Pvt Ltd (Rustomjee), Gujarat Tea Processors & Packers Ltd (Wagh Bakri Premium Leaf Tea), Xiaomi Technology India Private Limited (MI A2) among others, they range from FMCGs to autos, personal accessories to alcohol, and education to media.  
 
Among several advertisements that were examined, the CCC observed that in two separate cases renowned cricketers were endorsing liquor brands that did not meet the ASCI Guidelines for Qualification of Brand Extension of Product or Service.
 
Additionally, a famous Bollywood celebrity was seen endorsing two face cream product variants of the same brand, both made absolute claims of removal of skin marks which were unsubstantiated and hence misleading. Advertisements for two hair oil brands featuring celebrities were also considered misleading. Claims regarding mosquito repellent product by a famous Bollywood celebrity and claims regarding an online pharmacy endorsed by a cricketer were considered to be unsubstantiated.  These advertisements were in violation of ASCI Guidelines on Celebrities in Advertising.
 
A significant number of complaints looked into by the CCC pertained to Education sector arising out of Suo Motu surveillance activity by ASCI followed by Healthcare products and services. The most common reason for upholding complaints were unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims that exploit consumers' lack of knowledge. 
 
D Shivkumar, chairman, ASCI said, "In order to create mass consumer awareness about objectionable advertisements, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) issued an advisory for a scroll to be carried by all TV broadcasters in support of self-regulation for grievance against objectionable advertisements that refers to ASCI. With more and more TV channels carrying the ASCI WhatsApp number 77100 12345 in a scroll, there has been over a tenfold increase in consumers reaching out to ASCI."
 
DIRECT COMPLAINTS
 
The following advertisements were in violation of ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. The advertisers did not provide any evidence to show that the celebrities did due diligence prior to lending their name to the endorsements, to ensure that all description, claims and comparisons made in the advertisement are capable of substantiation:
 
1. Allied Blenders and Distillers Pvt Ltd (Officers Choice Blue Snacks): In two advertisements, celebrity MS Dhoni was seen endorsing surrogate advertisements for the promotion of a liquor product – Officer’s Choice Blue. The advertisements are misleading by implication and contravened Chapters I.1, I.4 and III.6 (b) of the ASCI Code. Furthermore, the advertisements did not meet the requirements of the ASCI Guidelines for Qualification of Brand Extension Product or Service and thereby contravened Chapter III.6 (a) of the ASCI Code.
 
2. United Spirits Ltd (Royal Challenge Sports Drink): In the advertisement, famed cricketer Virat Kohli was seen pulling the emergency chain in a train. When the train stops, he says it is a bold move to pull the emergency chain. The advertisement is a surrogate advertisement for promotion of liquor product - Royal Challenge whisky. The advertisement is misleading by implication as it did not meet the requirements as per ASCI's Guidelines for Qualification of Brand Extension of Product or Service and thereby contravened Chapter III.6 (a) of the ASCI Code. The advertiser also did not submit any testimonials, or evidence of celebrity’s consent for the claims.
 
3.  Bajaj Corp Ltd (Bajaj Nomarks Ayurvedic Antimarks Cream): The advertisement’s claim, “No Nishaan” is an absolute claim and implies that the product delivers such results which will leave no mark on the skin under any condition irrespective of individual skin type, which was not substantiated as the study results did not support complete removal of marks. Additionally, the product claim of being “New” was not justified since it was only a change in packaging graphics and the disclaimer was also not on the same front panel, thus the product pack claim of “New” is misleading by ambiguity and implication. Additionally, the advertisement featuring celebrity Taapsee Pannu was found to violate the ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.
 
4. Bajaj Corp Ltd (Bajaj Nomarks Ayurvedic Antimarks Cream):  The front panel of the product pack claims “NEW” but the disclaimer added on the back of the pack reads, i.e. “New Pack Graphics”, which is a violation of ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers. The advertisement featuring celebrity Taapsee Pannu was also found to violate the ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.
 
5. Marico Ltd (Hair and Care Fruit Oil): The advertisement’s claim, “Hair & Care Fruit Oil has nutrition of Olive and Vitamin E oil”, was inadequately substantiated and was misleading by implication as the Advertiser did not provide any evidence showing some measure of nutrition provided by the ingredients. The advertisement featuring celebrity Shraddha Kapoor was also found to violate the ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. 
 
6. Dabur India Ltd (Dabur Amla Hair Oil): The advertisement’s claim “Asli Amla, Dabur Amla” was considered to be misleading by implication. Additionally, the advertisement makes reference to a green bottled ‘sadharan amla’ oil and claimed two times superiority compared to Nihar Shanti amla. Phrases like “Sasta amla, wo to sirf man ko shanti dene ke liye theek hai” are crafted to directly refer to “Shanti Amla” and an intent to point to “Shanti Amla”. Hence, the references to “Sasta Amla” and “Mann ki shanti” are misleading by implication. Reference to “Dugne majboot balon ke liye”, shows a hair roller dropping with hair breakage, this was not substantiated and the tests showed that the hair was not two times stronger. The advertisement also featured celebrity Kareena Kapoor Khan and violated the ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.
 
7. Mamaearth: The advertisement’s claim, “Jo mosquito repellent aapke baby ke liye istamal kar rahe hai, who machhar se jyada baby ke liye hanikarak hai”, was inadequately substantiated, and is misleading by implication, and unfairly denigrated the category of mosquito repellents.  The claims, “Mamaearth’s Natural Mosquito Repellent, jo aapke baby ko de 100% Natural protection”, and “100% protection indoor as well as outdoor” were inadequately substantiated, and are misleading by ambiguity and implication. The advertisement with celebrity, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, was also found to violate the ASCI Guidelines for Celebrity in Advertising; the visual of the celebrity when seen in conjunction with the above claims is likely to mislead consumers regarding the product efficacy.  
 
8. Netmeds Marketplace Limited: The advertisement’s claim, “The pharmacy with over 100 years of experience” was misleading and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. The claim, “Trusted by three million+ Indians”, was not substantiated with any market survey data or with an independent third-party validation. The advertisement featuring celebrity MS Dhoni, was also found to violate the ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. It was concluded that the visual of the celebrity when seen in conjunction with the claims is likely to mislead consumers. 
 
Food and Beverage 
 
1. Gujarat Co-Operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (Amul Milk): The advertisement’s claim “Fresh Har Pal”, was not substantiated, and is misleading by ambiguity. During the CCC, it was noted that the shelf life of pasteurised milk is limited and claiming it to be fresh always is misleading.  The CCC also observed that the FSSAI regulations on Advertising and Claims also refer to such claims.
 
2. United Oil Industries (Swarnam Gingelly Oil): The advertisement’s claim, “Only brand which has passed the GLC (Gas Liquid Chromatography) test”, was not substantiated with comparative technical data/test results for the advertiser’s product and other Sesame oil brands, to show that other oils do not pass the GLC test. The claim, “Omega 3 rich oil which is healthy for Skin and Blood pressure”, was not substantiated with scientific rationale, or clinical evidence for the advertised product. 
 
3. Allied Blenders and Distillers Pvt. Ltd (Sterling Reserve Music CDs): The advertisement depicting the Sterling Reserve brand name is a surrogate advertisement for promotion of liquor product – Sterling Reserve whiskey. The advertiser did not provide in-store availability of the product which must be at least 10% of the leading brand in the category of the product. The advertisement contravened ASCI's Guidelines for Qualification of Brand Extension of Product or Service.
 
Education 
 
1. Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd- Bennett University: The advertisement’s claim, “100% placement for 2016-18 MBA class: 27 companies”, was not substantiated, and is misleading by omission. The claim, “Average CTC Rs. 7.8 lakhs per annum.”, was not substantiated with supporting evidence to prove that students were offered the claimed salary packages, and the calculation taking into account the entire class strength and the CTC per student to arrive at the average CTC figure. 
 
2. WeMakeScholars: The advertisement’s claims, “WeMakeScholars in association with SBI”, “WeMakeScholars supported by IT Ministry, Government of India”, and “Under digital India campaign”, were not substantiated with supporting evidence of their tie-ups with the Government and are a case of misrepresentation.  The claims are making unjustified use of the names of Government departments, Ministries and SBI.
 
Personal Care
 
1. MARICO LTD - Nihar Naturals Shanti Amla Hair Oil: The advertisement’s claim “Zamana badal gaya hai aur aamla tel bhi” implies that the advertised product has changed in terms of formulation. The claim was misleading by ambiguity and implication.
 
2. R. G Marketing Pvt Ltd (Qraa Gold Illuminating Face Wash): The advertisement’s claims, “Nourished with the nectar of natural honey and gold dust, this face wash makes skin fresh, radiant and gives illuminating complexion”, “Enriched with Mulberry extracts, it provides an even skin tone and deep cleanses the pores leaving skin fresh and tingling”, and “The rich formula washes away tan and protects it from dryness”, specifying benefits, were not substantiated with product efficacy data and are misleading by exaggeration.
 
Healthcare  
 
1. Johnson & Johnson Private Limited (Benadryl): The advertisement’s claim, “50 Years Doctor’s Trust” and Voice over claim, “Pachchaas saaloon se doctoron ka bharosa”, was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity. The survey relied upon for the claim, was conducted in the year 2012, moreover the interviewed doctors had less than 20 years of clinical experience.
 
Others
      
1. Make my trip India Private LTD (Make My Trip): The advertisement’s claim, “Zero cancellation offer” on hotel bookings under Makemytrip.com, was misleading by omission of a qualifier that the offer is subject to terms and conditions. In the TVC, the claim offer, “Zero cancellation charge on Hotel Bookings” was qualified via disclaimer to mention that T&C apply, however the position of the above disclaimer was not correctly placed in the advertisement, and contravened Clause IV of the ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.
 
2. Pitambari Products Private Limited (Pitambari Dish wash Bar): In the website advertisement of Pitambari Dish wash Bar displayed “new” on the image of the image of the current pack offered for sale. On the advertisers YouTube channel the packaging in the commercial dated 2016 is the same as the website there is no visible change in the packaging. The advertiser also did not submit any evidence of the current product (on the website) being “New”. The claim contravened ASCI Guidelines on Validity & Duration of Claiming New / Improved.
 
3. ACC Limited (ACC Gold Water Shield):  The advertisement’s claims, “Desh ka ekmatra cement jo ghar ko rakhe seelan se door”, and “Paani ki no entry”, were not substantiated, and are misleading by exaggeration. The advertiser did not provide technical data to prove that their water-repellent cement acts as a shield against water seepage.  The advertiser also did not submit any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s product and other cement brands in India to prove that their product is the only one to have water repellent properties.
 
4. Keystone Realtors Pvt. Ltd (Rustomjee): The advertisement’s claim, “Kids who do better at school, solving problems and facing challenges have one important thing in common: Time with Dad”, is presented as a statement of fact which was not backed with any research data to prove that only children spending personal time with their fathers are good at school, and are able to solve their own problems. The said claim when seen in conjunction with a picture of a father and two kids on a seesaw slide implies that mothers / single mothers are not able to take proper care of kids, or that kids do not enjoy the company of their mothers. Hence, the claim was not substantiated and is misleading by implication.    
                                                   
SUO MOTO Surveillance by ASCI
 
The advertisements given below were picked up through ASCI’s Suo Moto surveillance of Print and TV media via the National Advertisement Monitoring Services (NAMS) project. Out of 263 advertisements that were picked, 91 cases were informally resolved meaning the advertisements were voluntarily withdrawn by the advertisers immediately post receiving the complaints. Of the 264 advertisements, complaints against 171 advertisements were upheld. Of these 171 advertisements, 91 belonged to the Education sector,  55  advertisements belonged to the Healthcare sector, 15 belonged to the Food & Beverages sector, one to Personal care and nine belonged to the ‘Others’ category.
 
Education
 
1. The LNCT World School: The advertisement’s claim, “The most trusted brand of Madhya Pradesh”, was not substantiated with any supporting comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes in Madhya Pradesh or market survey data or through a third party validation 
 
2. Omega Classes: The advertisement’s claim, “An Institute to provide most and best results in Western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand”, was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data, or through an independent third party validation. 
 
Healthcare 
 
1. Dr. Batra’s Positive Health Clinic (Geno Homeopathy): The advertisement’s claim, “New STM which is one inventive hair growth treatment from France”, was not substantiated with any details of the STM Cell treatment procedure based on French technology, and considered to be misleading by exaggeration.
 
2. NIMS Heart Foundation: The advertisement’s claim, “The prime heart care centre in South Kerala with the highest success rate” was not substantiated with supporting data, or any third-party validation. 
 
3. 24 Carat Natural Oil: The advertisement’s claim “Protect from 80 types of diseases arising from air and heart attack, B.P, Diabetes, Cancer, wear & tear of joints” was not substantiated with scientific rationale, or clinical evidence for the advertised product. The CCC also expressed its concern for promotion of this food product with therapeutic claims.
 
Food and Beverage 
 
1. Gujarat Tea Processors & Packers Ltd (Wagh Bakri Premium Leaf Tea): The advertisement’s claim, “Preferred taste in over 40 countries” was not substantiated with other verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s tea brand and other leading tea brands to prove that it was preferred for taste over other tea brands, or through a third party validation. 
 
2. Cothas Coffee Company-Cothas Coffee: The advertisement’s claims, “Kannada State's No.1” and “Most preferred and trusted”, were not substantiated with verifiable comparative data / market survey data, of the advertiser’s product and other coffee brands in Karnataka,  or through a third party validation.  
 
3. GreenFizz Beverages Pvt. Ltd. (Fly Up Cola): The advertisement’s claims, “Loaded with natural goodness of real fruit juice” and   “totally free of artificial sweeteners, which means it can be consumed by all”, were not substantiated with product label and product composition details and were considered to be misleading by exaggeration.
 
Personal Care
 
1. Shree Sanjeevan Wellness Solutions (Pure element Cucumber Green Tea Ultralight SPF 50): In the advertisement, the pack claim shown regarding Sun Protection Factor value “SPF 50”, was not conclusively established for the finished product. The claim is misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration.                                                                                                                                             
 
Others 
 
1. Xiaomi Technology India Private Limited (MI A2):  In the Xiaomi advertisement, the hold duration of disclaimers in the TVC “Free unlimited photo storage” was not for four seconds or more on the screen. The purpose of a disclaimer is to help a consumer to understand the claim and if an important claim is qualified, adequate time needs to be provided for a consumer to read, decipher and correlate the disclaimer. The claim contravened Clause 4 (X) of ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers. 
 
2. Indigo Paints Pvt. Ltd (Indigo Dirtproof & Waterproof Exterior Laminate): The advertisement’s claim of being “the first in India to introduce dust and water resistant properties” (voiceover claim, “India ka pehla paint jo dhool mittee aur paani dono ko roke” was not conclusively proven. The advertiser did not provide any test conducted on their finished product, or any comparative data of their product versus other products in the same category, to prove their product being India’s first to offer these dual benefits and hence the claim is misleading by exaggeration.
 
3. The Citizen Urban Co-operative Bank Limited: The advertisement’s claim, “No.1 Urban Co-op Bank of North Zone” was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s bank and other banks in North Zone, to prove that it is in leadership position (No.1), or through a third-party validation. The source for the claim was not indicated in the advertisement. The claim is misleading by exaggeration. 
 
4. Calvin Home Appliances: The advertisement’s claim, “India’s No.1 Auto Clean & Maintenance Free Chimney”, was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s product and other kitchen chimneys in India, to prove that it is in leadership position (No.1), or through a third party validation. It was not clear how the Chimney was “maintenance free” and had “auto-clean” feature. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and implication. 
 
 
Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

Is ‘Artificial’ Shortage the New Way To Sell Mobiles in India?
Indian customers have, over the years, become accustomed to the phenomenon of online flash sales, but are they now being gamed or is it turning into a con game?
 
Recent flash sales, especially on Flipkart, seem to indicate that the sellers are offering a tiny number of handsets during the flash scale, probably as a bait to lure people online by offering a few phones. After all, online marketplaces are constantly having to create fake hype and advertise relentlessly to ensure that people keep visiting and spending online.
 
Mobile makers also seem to sell only lower-end phones in these flash sales, thus creating more demand (and possibly a black market) for higher end versions. But more about the black market later. 
 
Around two-three weeks ago, Redmi India launched its Note 7 and Note 7 Pro in the country. Among these models, there is not much demand for Note 7 and it can be bought easily during the flash sale. For the Note 7 Pro, there are two versions. One comes with 4GB random access memory (RAM) and 64 GB internal memory and costs Rs13,999. The higher-end phone comes with 6GB RAM and 128 GB memory at Rs16,999. This mobile from Redmi is available exclusively on Flipkart. 
 
Redmi Note 7 Pro has created a buzz among users. However, there still is no sign of the higher end-version. A few days ago, it was available on Flipkart as well as the company's portal. However, Redmi Note 7 Pro 6GB/128GB has now vanished altogether. A tweet from Redmi’s official handle says the higher-end phone would be available in coming weeks. Let us see how long it will be available. 
 
 
 
Coming back to the scarcity scenario for the Redmi Note 7 Pro, here is my experience. Earlier, I have successfully used Flipkart’s flash sales to buy different items. I have even bought the Redmi Y2 on a flash sale, over a year ago. But nothing seems to work for the Redmi Note 7 Pro; and all phones seem to be 'sold' within a fraction of a second. Even using the fastest Internet connection possible, all I could do was to press the buy button, only to see that the handset is 'out of stock'! How many phones did Redmi sell, if any? Or is it only a gimmick. 
 
As expected, both Redmi and Flipkart do not reveal the exact number of mobile handsets sold during flash sales. We emailed Redmi’s India head, Manu Jain, for details, but the email has remained unanswered at the time of writing this story.
 
Experts feel that when there is good demand, especially for a mobile handset, the company should be working to maximise sales. There are new handsets entering the market everyday with better features and attractive prices; why would the company not exhaust its inventory when there is a demand for the product? Selling a limited number of phones through flash sale seems like a strategy to disappoint customers and drive them away.
 
While the company and Flipkart insist you can buy the handsets only through online flash sales, I have spoken to several retailers, who were willing to sell Redmi Note 7 Pro (lower version) if I paid Rs1,500-Rs3,000 extra. They were also clueless about availability of higher version of this phone model.
 
Something similar is happening at Samsung, albeit with a small difference. The higher version of Samsung A50 is available exclusively on Flipkart but without any flash sale. The problem is that this model becomes available only for few minutes and then goes out of stock almost immediately. 
 
 
As I stated above, the higher-end model of Samsung A50 (6GB/64GB) is visible on Flipkart. When I asked Amazon about this model, I was told that it would be made available on 21 March 2019. Indeed, it was available on that day, but with a delivery time of 12-15 days (even for an Amazon Prime member), when Flipkart was delivering the same in two days! Unfortunately, Amazon is now selling only lower-end (4GB/64GB) model, as of now.
 
 
The only difference between Redmi and Samsung is that the latter is easily available across platforms, while Redmi Note 7 Pro is not available at all with physical retailers. Also, Samsung's A50 higher version was readily available offline.
 
Most importantly, instead of paying 'extra' (like in case of Redmi Note 7 Pro) for Samsung, I could successfully bargain the price with several shopkeepers that I spoke to. Many offered me the A50 (6GB/64GB) model at a discount of Rs500 to Rs700, on an already discounted price of Rs22,990. The maximum retail price of this model is Rs24,000.
 
So, in the end, you may ask which mobile handset did I buy? None. I am expecting easy availability and a drop in prices for both the models mentioned above. The next version of popular OnePlus is on the horizon, while Amazon is offering steep discount on Apple iPhone X, in case you are interested.  
Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

COMMENTS

MIHIR AVINASH KULKARNI

2 months ago

After reading your article related to smartphone features, I bought a decent smartphone. Thank you.

Anil Kumar

2 months ago

Thanks. Insightful article.

AAR

2 months ago

Ebay was the best platform for Indian Consumers thats why competitors closed it in India using their lobbying power.
It completely blocks Indians from buying directly from China 3rd party sellers.
Ebay sale page would have count of available quantity and how many were sold so far.

Just bring back Ebay.in

Consumers Finding Cable, TV Bills Going Up after New Tariff Rules; TRAI Says 'All Is Well'
The much touted about new regulatory framework for broadcasting and cable services industry from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is turning out to be a costly affair for most viewers of cable TV and direct to home (DTH) users.
 
While many consumer viewers are finding their monthly bills almost double, the regulator continues with its stance that the new framework may actually decrease TV bills, provided you watch only up to 40 channels.
 
Umasankar Brahma, one of the readers of Moneylife says, "Before TRAI's new framework, I was a happy cable TV viewer with a monthly bill of Rs350 for all channels including the high-definition (HD) ones. But now with this rule, viewing some of my favourite channels is costing me around Rs600." 
 
A Banerjee, another reader, says cost of viewing TV has, indeed, doubled after 1 February 2019. "On top of it, the TRAI authorities just do not care even to respond to the complaints mailed to the designated officer and the service provider clearly does not care about TRAI either. This is my sad experience," he says. 
 
Earlier in February, ratings agency CRISIL had also mentioned about an increase monthly bill of most subscribers of television channels. "Our analysis of the impact of the regulations indicates a varied impact on monthly TV bills. Based on current pricing, the monthly TV bill can go up by 25% from Rs230-Rs240 to about Rs300 per month for viewers who opt for the top-10 channels, but will come down for those who opt up to top five channels," Sachin Gupta, senior director, ratings at CRISIL had said. (Read: Cable TV and DTH Bills Will Go Up for Most Users)
 
CRISIL's analysis assumes a scenario where subscribers opt for the top-10 channels by viewership in addition to the free-to-air (FTA) ones. 
 
However, instead of addressing the concern raised by the rating agency, TRAI chairman Ram Sevak (RS) Sharma said that the CRISIL report was prepared on an 'inadequate understanding' of the TV distribution market and it was incorrect. 
 
In the report, ratings agency CRISIL had said, "The network capacity fee (NCF) and channel prices announced by broadcasters and distributors as per the TRAI's new guidelines could increase the monthly bill of most subscribers of television channels."
 
The regulator, in a statement, however, had claimed that its preliminary data analysis shows a reduction in TV bills. It says, "These are early days and detailed data-sets will be available only after a few weeks." Yet, the Authority has information from few large distribution platform owners (DPOs) and the preliminary data analysis reflects actual savings by subscribers to the tune 10% to 15% in metro towns and between 5% to 10% in non-metro (DAS3 and DAS4) areas. (Read: TRAI Refutes Reports of Rise in TV Bills after New Broadcast Norms; Consumers Disagree)
 
TRAI’s formula to bring down cost for consumer is based on low usage. In its frequently asked questions (FAQ) page, TRAI says, “80% subscriber as per the viewing pattern given by BARC, either view or flip 40 or less number of channels.
 
Further, if a consumer carefully chooses channels of its choice for complete requirement of a family, the amount payable by him may be even less than the present payments being made per month.”
 
The problem with TRAI’s calculations is that it assumes that the customer will stick with TV channels that are priced low or almost free. Most of the popular TV channels across the segment are priced at higher levels or at Rs19 per month. So even if a viewer decides to select only 10 popular TV channels, she needs to pay at least Rs190, in addition to the fixed Rs130, excluding taxes.

Manu Ashar, a reader of Moneylife feels that TRAI as regulator is least concerned about consumer viewers. "TRAI keep on talking about how 80% of customers view only few channels. The idea of the rules was actually to give the customers freedom to choose, which is not available due to their absurd working of 'best fit package' and indirectly endorsing packages of various service providers by publishing them on the TRAI website. This defeats the idea of free choice."

Moneylife’s calculations and analysis had also shown that consumers will eventually end up paying more than they do now, if they wish to have a variety of options such as — news, entertainment, kid channels, sports and infotainment—that too in multiple languages. Since many families have members across generations, they will have to subscribe to multiple bouquets, since they are priced far lower than a-la-carte options. But that too, restricts choice, since opting for a bouquet would mean, leaving out specific channels of other broadcasters. (Read: How Much You Will Have to Pay for Cable TV and DTH?)
 
While extending the deadline for customers to select TV channels, TRAI had warned that those who fail to decide will be migrated to best fit plan. According to the regulator, the 'best fit plan' will be designed based on consumers' usage pattern and language spoken. "It should preferably be a blended combination of  various genres, while making 'best fit plan' for a subscriber, the distribution platform operators (DPOs) should ensure that payout per month of the 'best fit plan' generally does not exceed the payout per month of existing tariff plan of the subscriber," the regulator clarified.
 
After making several efforts, many consumer viewers have either selected the package offered by their cable operator or DTH service-provider. This, of course, costs more than what the users were paying. For example, a cable operator from Kalyan used to charge Rs300 for a bouquet of around 300 channels from all genres. However, after the new tariff regime, the same operator is providing a bouquet of less than 220 selected channels, including free-to-air channels, for Rs490 (including goods and service tax-GST) per month. 
 
 
Customers of DTH services, who have paid in advance, are also in lurch.       
 
"Earlier we were getting courteous service from DTH operators as they wanted our business. Our DTH call centre personnel now have been threatening to move our plan to best fit immediately if we do not opt for one without informing about the shifting of the end date to 31 March 2019,” says Vijaykumar Kilar, one of the Moneylife readers. 
 
He says, “They (customer service executives at DTH) are extremely curt when we ask for an email explaining various options or a brief about the choices available.
 
They had collected our money for validity up to September 2019 and hence could take a stand of take it or leave it on consumers. Their argument is that everything is in the newspaper, and I should go to their website or visit each channel’s website to know the monthly charges. Most consumers who have paid for the full pack are in the dark. I really do not know whether the consumer has been benefited or the service levels will go down drastically as no one cares to retain a customer with the new norms."
 
Since there is no free TV channel per se (since even for FTA channels, we are paying money), Antony Terry, a reader of Moneylife makes an interesting observation. He says, "If we pay for each channel, will channels and broadcasters reduce the number of advertisements they show and thus help the viewers save their time? That is hard, right? So we have to pay extra money and waste our time watching the ads you show."
 
Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

COMMENTS

Arun Adalja

2 months ago

i agree bill will go high and 6 months pack and 12 months pack not available and pack provided by dth fellow are costly and they skip zee channel or sony channel in their pack.trai must go back to old system.

Chetan Kadam

2 months ago

My DTH bill has come down from 399 to about 350 and also now I get a few English movie channels which were not there earlier

Subramanian MV

2 months ago

It is true we all have to pay more atleast double of the earlier payments. How do we represent to Government to restore the old system? Is there is a possibility of a PIL? I am willing to bear the cost for the benefit of local public.

Shiv Bharadwaj

2 months ago

View what is shown to you and listen to what is told to you; otherwise close your eyes and ears & stay put; or else train your mind to reduce your craving for even the minimum home entertainment like viewing the Television or listening to the Radio. Every guidance and channelization is for good 'cause the money thus saved may come in handy at times of need.

N Bala Krishna Rao

2 months ago

The local cable operator is asking to select the pack being give by them only. If we want
a single channel Under CNBC18, they are not agreeing.They insist for whole package of that channel group

Dhiraj Bhatia

2 months ago

I am Tata Sky user the new rules does not allow to go a la carte and the channels offered in package. Are not of my interest
HD channels are to expensive i do not get to choose Free to aur channels but imposed with regional channels of not my interest
The consumer is being taken for a ride again ...

Mrinal Kanti Ganguly

2 months ago

Most of us pay Rs.600 to 800 for DTH service, cable operators of course charge much less. Do we really watch more than 20 HD channels other than the free channel and almost free news channels. I think if we choose our channels judiciously , the cost will be reduced. Large families with varied interest may have to subscribe for more. Problem is , for example, selecting a sports channel, when I am interested only in cricket and we dont know in advance which channel to select. Can we change our package frequently or if not at what interval and will the charges will be on daily basis? If I am not watching TV for longer period when on long leave, can we reduce the channels and add paid channels on last 5 days(say) of a month, will I be charged accordingly or the higher amount for the entire month?

Bernie Barton

2 months ago

This a mirror of the history of pay-tv in the U.S. Continual package (bouquet) restructuring and rate increases and either refusal to offer ala-carte (single-channel) selection, or sky-high ala-carte rates. The only workable way to get desired channels is to either purchase multiple packages, or to subscribe to a high-priced "get it all" deal. This is now leading many subscribers to drop pay-tv altogether in favor of online streaming, if they receive fast internet service. My long-time idea has been to do a "metered" TV payment arrangement, where the actual consumption of TV is metered like electricity. A system to record total hours of viewing along with which channels are viewed- this would answer complaints that a subscription isn't "worth it" for a smaller number of use-hours, as well as entirely putting an end to the packaging racket.

Mohammad Alam

2 months ago

I shifted to online to watch the normal TV through their app like hotstar, zee5 etc.

Bhuveneshwar Gupta

2 months ago

It is a fact that if number of channels is kept the same as before TRAI order, total price goes up substantially. However, the value goes down if only those channels are selected, which are frequently tuned. Moreover, the service provider is not able to load desired channels even during last 2 months, probably due to large number of subscribers.

V Ramesh

2 months ago

My DTH bill has come down significantly under the new rules. It is only fair that who watch more channels pay more. It appears that so far people like me, who watch a limited number of channels, have been subsidizing those who watch several channels.

Anil Kumar

2 months ago

My initial experience was increase in cost. I continued the same ' all HD' pack of Airtel DTH - it went from 500 to 700 per month. The high cost forced me to evaluate which I really wanted - that brought the number of channels - all la carte- from 100 + to 40 - the cost then come down to 400+ . So I guess the new regime cuts out inefficiency in the system. People are forced to choose - more efficient use of resources. No wonder lot of la carte channels have priced themselves RS. 1 like news channels. Think it is early days. Will need to give time to see how it develops - Thali might be the most popular item in restaurant, but combined to overall orders, Thali is only a fraction. Bulk of people prefer individual items. Till date we only had the Thali option. Now individual items are in menu. 😊

Harshavardhan Peddapalyam

2 months ago

The customers are paying significantly higher bills in this new regime. Apart from that listening to the TRAI 's ridiculous claims that bill have come down is frustrating. They've gone nuts.

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

online financial advisory
Pathbreakers
Pathbreakers 1 & Pathbreakers 2 contain deep insights, unknown facts and captivating events in the life of 51 top achievers, in their own words.
online financia advisory
The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Online Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
financial magazines online
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
financial magazines in india
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Online Magazine)