KUALA LUMPUR: An advertising committee has been formed to monitor false or misleading advertisements to ensure the interest of consumers are protected.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the committee had prepared a guideline to prevent false or misleading advertisements as a reference for the industry to prevent the publishing of such advertisements.

“We also want to ensure that the advertisements have proper approval from relevant authorities,” he said during a press conference at the Companies Commission Malaysia (SSM) office yesterday.

He added that the ministry had received 38 complaints this year related to misleading or false advertising on furniture.

“The guideline is to control advertisements from companies which are involved in advertising through print or electronic media,” Ismail Sabri said..

The guideline covers advertisements which contain exaggeration or puffery prices must include all hidden charges and substantiation to any claims that a product or service provides.

“For example, an advertisement for a T-shirt claiming that it is made out of 100% cotton but turns out to be mixed with other materials is considered misleading,” he added.

He said any terms and conditions in an advertisement must be stated in simple language, in clear size and fonts as well as placed in locations that are visible to the public.

When asked on the specifications of the size and fonts, he said it was difficult to specify because advertisements come in different sizes.

Ismail Sabri said offences committed under this guideline could be taken with actions under the Consumer Protection Act 1999 and Trade Descriptions Act 2011.

“The guideline enforcement will begin on Jan 1 next year,” he said.

On the committee, he said there were representatives from relevant ministries such as Health and Home, consumer groups and advertising associations.

Source: “Panel Set up to Monitor Misleading Adverts.” Nation. N.p., 2 June 2013. Web.