CHANDIGARH: While rejecting an appeal by VLCC against State Commission’s order to refund the entire fee amount to the complainant along with costs for mental suffering. The Chandigarh State Consumer Commission said that giving false hope and false assurance about weight loss through any advertisements comes under the act of unfair trade practices.
The Court said –
“The act of the appellants of giving false assurances on one hand by way of misleading advertisements and on the other hand, obtaining declaration from the consumers qua no guarantee/assurance regarding the result and outcome of the programme, is a clear example of unfair trade practices adopted by them, for which, the consumers (respondent in this case), could not be made to suffer at the hands of the appellants.”
In the said case, a complaint has purchased a course of VLCC’s weight loss and tummy trim program. The program has assured its customers of weight loss of 5 Kg and tummy circumference of 4 inches within one month with a money-back guarantee.
However, when the complaint was unable to lose weight the appellant recommended another program to the Respondent which involved an imported machine for treatment. When there was still no result, he filed a complaint with the Consumer Commission.
In defense, VLCC said that complaint had given an undertaking that he understands that no guarantee be given to him regarding the outcome of the program, and in circumstances of unsatisfactory results due to factors beyond the control of the VLCC staff, he shall not be entitled to claim/damages or to hold VLCC or its staff liable. Further, the respondent had to strictly abide by certain dietary instructions and had to complete the entire course for the desired outcome, which VLCC claimed was not done by the Respondent.
The State Commission observed that the disclaimer given by VLCC is totally invalid as their own advertisement was that of the money-back guarantee.
The Court observe – “Now when no desirable results were forthcoming from the first plan, the appellants further allured the respondent by showing him an imported costly machine, through which the treatment would be done, for which, again the appellants made the respondent to make further payment“, the Commission further observed.