For the first time, Centre is putting in place a series of legal provisions in an attempt to stop misleading advertisements. While the Real Estate Act, recently passed by Parliament, has provisions for returning the entire amount with interest to the buyer if a builder fails to deliver a property as promised in the advertisement or brochure, Bureau of Indian Standards (BSI) Act provides for stringent punishment, including imprisonment and hefty fine for those caught misusing the Indian Standard (IS) mark or not conforming to the standards in certain cases.
Similarly, the Consumer Protection Bill, which will come up for discussion and passage in the second half of Budget session, provisions for heavy penalty including a jail term of up to five years for misleading advertisement besides provisions for product liability. It covers both the manufacturer, promoter and even the endorsers.
"All means of misleading consumers and alluring them to buy an item or service must be stopped by the government. Consumers must be informed about the right information so that they take an informed decision. It's for the government to put mechanisms in place to shield customers from such menace," said consumer rights activist Bejon Mishra.
As per the Real Estate Act, the builder has to return the payment with interest to buyers who are affected by "incorrect, false statements contained in the notice, advertisement or prospectus or the model apartment, plot or building as the case may be." The real regulatory authority is empowered to order "compensation" to consumers in case of misleading advertisements. Some members of the select committee in the Rajya Sabha had indicated that there was pressure on them not to come out with stringent provisions against defaulting developers/ builders.