Consumer watchdog warns of misleading advertisments


COMPANIES which put out misleading advertisements can be investigated by the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission, an official says.
ICCC executive manager consumer protection division Brian Ivosa said consumers who came across misleading advertisements by companies could lodge their complaints for investigation.
Ivosa was asked whether there was any legal option that consumers can take when they do not experience the benefits of products or services as portrayed through advertisements put out by companies.
“The ICCC does investigate complaints related to misleading advertisements,” he said.
“Apart from the other consumer-related laws the ICCC administers, we do administer the Commercial Advertisement (Protection of the Public) Act 1976 (CAPP Act), which gives the mandate to ICCC to investigate complaints related to such matters.
“The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission has in the past successfully investigated and resolved related consumer complaints using the CAPP Act.
“Any complaints related to such misleading advertisements can be registered at our office and investigated, assessed and based on our investigation/assessment a decision is made to the complainant and the offender.
“If the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission considers that a public statement in response is required for the benefit of consumers, it will then publish the results through the media.”
According to Section 3 of the ICCC Act, a person who publishes or causes to be published any unfair statement in any commercial advertisement, is guilty of an offence. The penalty is a fine not exceeding K1000.
Section 6 of the Act states that prosecution for an offence under this Act shall not be instituted without the prior written consent of the Public Prosecutor.
Section 7 of the Act says where a court finds a person guilty under this Act, it may, in addition to any penalty, order the correction of any unfair statement.