Polycab India Limited - Polycab PuroCoat Fans

Recommendation: Upheld | Medium: General Public

The ASCI had approached the advertiser (yourself) for its response in addressing the grievances of the complainant and forwarded the details of the complaint, verbatim, to the advertiser with a request to respond to the same. The advertiser was offered an opportunity to seek an Informal Resolution (IR) of the complaint and a telecon with the ASCI Secretariat to seek further guidance, which they did not avail but submitted their written response. Advertiser in their response submitted point-wise reply to the objections raised in the complaint. Advertiser submitted supporting data to demonstrate the authenticity of the benefits and the efficacy of the product. Claim – “Naya Polycab PuroCoat fans with Nanova Technology - Anti Virus, Anti Germs, Anti Dust, Anti Rust” - advertiser stated that “the quantitative assessment of Anti-viral activity done at the lab shows virus reduction percentage of 99.19% with the Nanova Ultraguard E2C 140X AB coating. The 1 quantitative assessment of microbial kill activity with Nanova Ultraguard E2C 140X AB Anti-dust, anti bacterial easy to clean Nano coating: i. Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538 is 99.95% , ii. Escherichia coli ATCC 8739 is 99.93%. The advanced highly cross-linked nanocoating equipped with hydrophobic (water) and oleophobic (oil) repellent properties and which makes Purocoat fans are non-stick to dust and easy to clean depicting their “Anti-Rust” Claim. There is a clear disclaimer as ‘Claim not applicable to coronavirus (COVID-19)’ in the TVC.” Claim – “India’s First Anti-Virus Fans” – advertiser stated that “Polycab fans are the first ones to use and claim this revolutionary coating on its fans which deactivates viruses, germs, repels dust (easy to clean) and protects from rusting. Hence Polycab fans are the first to have Anti-virus, Anti-germ, Anti dust & Anti- dust features in one fan. They are not aware of any other brand to have any such product or made claim for it.” As claim support data, the advertiser provided – (1) Copy of the TVC, (2) Copy of storyboard, (3) Test report for the coating used is from Nova surface which is tested for Anti-dust and Anti -rust, (4) Test report from Biotech Testing Services on Nanova Ultraguard E2C 140X AB coating, (5) Test report from Biotech Testing Services on Nanova Ultraguard E2C 140X AB coating. The complaint and the advertiser’s response with the claim support data was referred to the independent technical expert of ASCI. The expert opinion was shared with the advertiser for making any additional submissions. The advertiser was also offered an opportunity for IR at this stage based on the expert opinion. The advertiser did not opt for an IR but sought for a meeting with the technical expert, which was arranged by the ASCI Secretariat through Zoom video conference. Post meeting with the ASCI Secretariat and the technical expert, the advertiser submitted test certificates and presentation of Slide wise test reports. This data was again shared with the technical expert. The Technical expert raised certain queries on the test reports and asked for further clarifications on the same. These queries were subsequently answered by the advertiser. Based on the advertiser’s additional response, the technical expert submitted his final opinion for the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) to consider. The CCC viewed the TVC and the YouTube advertisement (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hzJCdJrhMo) and considered the advertiser’s response as well as the opinion of the Technical expert presented at the meeting. The CCC observed that the study for the product was done by Biotech Testing services Mumbai for anti-bacterial and anti-viral activity with MS 2 phages which are viruses of bacteria and not against animal /human viruses. It is useful only for preliminary screening of anti-viral activity. Also, the report is not issued on appropriate NABL stationary and is without any reference to NABL accreditation status of the laboratory. The study is not based on the standard testing protocol for demonstrating the anti-viral /anti-bacterial activity/efficacy of products on surfaces which are for long term use. Additional data from NIBEC, Pune study against SARS CoV-2 Virus was not acceptable as a third party test report. BTS study document had no signature and was not on the proper format of report on their letterhead. The CCC noted that the advertiser had unsigned reports with them at the time of submission, and the advertiser subsequently submitted the signed reports, which was not acceptable. Similarly, the ‘d technology lab’ report for anti-viral study using MS2 phages and bactericidal/fungicidal test reports also had no signature. Activity against MS2 phages, as reported by this laboratory is only indicative and not specific anti-viral activity against COVID-19 virus. Therefore, this report is not acceptable as supportive of claim. Eurofins Gurgaon had a test report from ‘Biopharma product testing’ on Biocides and antimicrobials report using Bovine coronavirus with only 2 log reduction was additionally submitted. The testing result reports efficacy of 2 Log reduction which is not equivalent to 99.9% efficacy. Therefore it does not substantiate the claim of 99.9% efficacy. Additional test data from Nelson labs Fairfield, NJ ,USA reports on testing with Human coronavirus, but report carries a note which clarifies that it is as per US FDA Good Manufacturing Practice regulations only. This testing is not a testing of appropriate anti-viral testing to accept as a product claim data. Based on this assessment, the CCC concluded that the claims, “Naya Polycab PuroCoat fans with Nanova Technology - Anti Virus, Anti Germs, Anti Dust, Anti Rust”, were inadequately substantiated. The claims are misleading by exaggeration and are likely to lead to widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. Given the current pandemic situation, regardless of the disclaimer, the advertisement is likely to mislead consumers that the product offers protection from Coronavirus. In the absence of claim support data, the CCC concluded that the claim, “India’s First Anti-Virus Fans” was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data to prove their product being India’s first for the product features claimed, nor was the claim backed by an independent third party validation. The TVC and the YouTube advertisement contravened Chapters I.1, I.4, and I.5 of the ASCI Code. This complaint was UPHELD.