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CCP’s Rs. 10 Million Fine on P&G for Misleading Safeguard Ads Partially Upheld

Islamabad (News Desk) – In a significant ruling, the Competition Appellate Tribunal has upheld the Competition Commission of Pakistan’s (CCP) decision to penalize Procter & Gamble Pakistan (P&G) for making misleading claims in their advertisements for the Safeguard soap brand. However, the initial fine of Rs. 10 million has been reduced to Rs. 5 million.

The Tribunal dismissed P&G’s appeal challenging the CCP’s order on Monday, affirming the regulatory body’s authority to investigate complaints and take appropriate action. The CCP had previously imposed a Rs. 10 million fine on P&G for falsely advertising Safeguard as “Pakistan’s No. 1 Anti-Bacterial Soap” without sufficient evidence to substantiate the claim.

In its ruling, the Tribunal acknowledged P&G’s cooperation during the investigation and their decision to discontinue the contentious advertisement after the CCP initiated its inquiry in 2014. These factors were cited as the basis for reducing the fine to Rs. 5 million.

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The CCP’s investigation was triggered by a complaint filed by Reckitt Benckiser Pakistan Limited, which alleged that P&G’s advertisements for Safeguard were deceptive and violated fair competition principles.

According to the CCP’s findings, P&G’s advertisements contravened Section 10 of the Competition Act by creating the misleading impression that Safeguard was the top-rated antibacterial soap in Pakistan without adequate substantiation.

Furthermore, the use of the claim “Pakistan’s No. 1 Anti-Bacterial Soap” in advertisements without a clear qualifying statement was deemed a violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act.

Following the investigation, P&G was served a show-cause notice, providing them with an opportunity to respond to the allegations.

The Tribunal’s decision underscores the importance of truthful and non-deceptive advertising practices in maintaining fair competition within the Pakistani market. It also reinforces the CCP’s role in safeguarding consumer interests and ensuring compliance with advertising regulations.

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