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Amitabh Bachchan and Flipkart: All You Need to Know About the Legal Dispute Over Misleading Ads

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The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has officially lodged a complaint with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs against an advertisement run by e-commerce giant Flipkart featuring Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan. The contentious advertisement promotes Flipkart’s upcoming Big Billion Days sale and has been strongly criticized as ‘misleading’ by CAIT, setting the stage for a potential legal dispute.

The legal dispute between Amitabh Bachchan and Flipkart centers around a contentious advertisement that has stirred controversy in India’s e-commerce industry. Here’s a detailed overview of the case:

  1. Complaint by CAIT: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) filed a formal complaint with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs against Flipkart. The complaint specifically targeted an advertisement featuring Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, which promoted Flipkart’s upcoming “Big Billion Days” sale. CAIT’s primary allegation was that this advertisement was “misleading.”
  1. Misleading Advertisement: In the advertisement, Amitabh Bachchan was seen promoting exclusive mobile phone deals on Flipkart for the upcoming festive season. The tagline of the ad, “yeh Dukan per nahin milne wala” (This will not be found in stores), led to controversy. Mobile phone retailers and industry experts argued that this statement was misleading to consumers because it implied that the deals offered by Flipkart were unique and unavailable in physical retail stores.

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  1. AIMRA’s Concerns: The All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA), representing approximately 150,000 mobile retailers, voiced their concerns over the advertisement. AIMRA believed that such advertisements were influencing consumer behavior through false and misleading claims. They wrote a letter to smartphone brands, urging them to address this issue.
  2. CAIT’s Statement: On October 2nd, CAIT released a statement denouncing Amitabh Bachchan’s involvement in the Flipkart advertisement. They criticized it as “partial” and “deceptive.” CAIT’s stance was that such advertisements could harm the interests of traditional retail businesses.
  3. Removal of the Advertisement: In response to the controversy, Flipkart removed the contentious advertisement from its YouTube channel. This move suggested an acknowledgment of the potential issues raised by the advertisement.
  4. Legal Implications: CAIT’s complaint to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs signaled the possibility of legal action against both Flipkart and Amitabh Bachchan for their roles in the advertisement. The case could involve scrutiny of advertising practices, consumer protection laws, and the responsibilities of celebrities in endorsing products or services.

Also Read: Himalaya’s #BeautyHasNoColor Campaign Sparks Controversy for Exclusion of Darker Skin Tones

Industry Experts Critique Amitabh Bachchan’s Involvement in Misleading Flipkart Advertisement

Industry experts and trade leaders, including CAIT’s national president B C Bhartia and secretary general Praveen Khandelwal, have expressed strong disapproval of Amitabh Bachchan’s involvement in Flipkart’s misleading advertisement. They regret Bachchan’s participation, despite a significant endorsement fee, as they believe it poses a threat to local small shops, potentially impacting the livelihoods of ordinary sellers. Bachchan’s association with a foreign multinational corporation known for ethical concerns is a point of concern. Additionally, they noted that the advertisement violated the Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ guidelines on deceptive advertising, warranting a formal complaint to the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA). This case underscores the broader debate surrounding celebrity endorsements and corporate responsibility in advertising, especially within India’s retail sector.

CAIT Demands Penalties for Amitabh Bachchan and Flipkart Amid Legal Dispute

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has taken a decisive stance in the legal dispute involving Amitabh Bachchan and Flipkart, demanding penalties for both parties due to a controversial advertisement. CAIT has specifically cited relevant provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, specifically referring to ‘false or misleading advertisement.’

CAIT has called for a fine of Rs 10 lakh (1 million rupees) on Amitabh Bachchan for his endorsement of the disputed commercial. They assert that Bachchan’s participation in the ad has misled the public regarding the pricing of mobile phones available from sellers and suppliers in the Indian smartphone market. This, according to CAIT, not only disparages the goods and services but also affects the overall trade environment. The demand for a substantial fine on Bachchan highlights CAIT’s determination to hold both the celebrity endorser and the e-commerce giant accountable for their actions.

CAIT’s Secretary General, Praveen Khandelwal, elaborated on their position, citing Section 2(47) of the Consumer Protection Act. According to Khandelwal, the Flipkart advertisement, featuring Amitabh Bachchan, is misleading because it fails to provide truthful and honest representation. Instead, it is characterized as wholly incorrect, malicious, misleading, and manipulative. Furthermore, Khandelwal referred to Rule 4 of the Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022, emphasizing that the advertisement was in violation of these guidelines.

Notably, neither Flipkart nor Amitabh Bachchan has responded to the controversy as of yet. The dispute emerged after CAIT questioned Flipkart’s “Big Billion Day” sale, claiming that consumers would not find mobile deals offline at retail stores, a contention that fueled the ongoing legal battle.

The Big Billion Days Sale to go live from October 8 to 15

The Big Billion Days sale is scheduled to commence from October 8th to 15th. Recently, brands launched a fresh ad campaign featuring Amitabh Bachchan, and in response to the earlier controversy, they have decided to omit the contentious line. Moreover, the same theme, centered around the Big Billion Days, has been incorporated into another advertisement featuring the acclaimed Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt.

Conclusion

In summary, the legal dispute between Amitabh Bachchan, Flipkart, and trade organizations like CAIT highlights the significant impact of advertising in today’s competitive market. It sheds light on the responsibility of celebrities and corporations when it comes to endorsing products or services. While the controversy over misleading advertisements has led to calls for penalties, it also serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and ethical advertising in an age where consumer trust is paramount. As the dispute unfolds, it remains to be seen how it will shape the future of advertising practices and the role of regulation in the Indian e-commerce landscape.

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