Have you ever wondered about ads that promise to make you fairer, thinner, less bald and the ‘success stories’ these ads rely on as testimonials?
We stumbled across one such ad that promised to save you big bucks at the dermatologist by using a little known skin lightening product.
‘The Raves Are Pouring In’ said the advertorial on page called FITDAILY along with a before-and-after pictures of one Neha Pawan from Hyderabad.
Neha claimed that she was ‘utterly disappointed so many times before’ but got ‘fairer, glowing skin instantly’ by using a product named Radyance.
Not one to give up a good deal, we decided to fact check Neha Pawan’s story starting with Fit Daily’s website.
WHAT THE HECK IS FITDAILY?
Along with Neha Pawan’s story, Fit Daily’s page also has a testimonial of an individual named Rohan from Bangalore and how he got fairer using a product that was only available on the Internet, Radyance Instant Skin Brightener.
The page is also sprinkled with before and after pictures of people whose faces look unnaturally whiter and a bizarre video that shows you how to get five shades fairer in just two minutes.
But it didn’t take long to figure out that Fit Daily is not even a website. It’s a marketing ploy that mimics a site and even fakes comments by what it claims are real people.
Clicking on any other category mentioned on the page takes you to an ad for Radyance.
The images are photoshopped, the success stories are concocted and the names are fictitious. Worryingly, the images have been stolen from bloggers and make-up tutorials .
Ankita Srivastava is one such woman whose picture has been misused and given a fake identity of Neha Pawan from Hyderabad.
“The company is using my images without my permission. I have never endorsed their product,” Srivastava, whose make-up tutorial videos on You Tube are widely popular, told BOOM in an email.
We found another blogger whose real identity is Bhumika Thakkar and not Sadhana Malhotra as the ad states.
“Yes they have lifted images from my blog and using it for their fake ads. Is there a way out?,” Thakkar asked us in an email.
Buried at the bottom of Fit Daily’s page is a disclaimer that states it’s an advertisement and not a blog, news article or consumer protection update.
TRACING THE SOURCE
BOOM found the exact same images on a site called Eunoia Plus.
Eunoia Plus did not respond to an email from BOOM. According to its website it is a digital marketing company based in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Contact numbers listed were constantly busy and unreachable.
We also came across another website called Consumer’s Guide, a site dedicated to ‘Skin Whitening Education.’
In its post titled ‘Skin Whitening Trick That Works’, the website ranked Radyance Skin Whitening Serum as its ‘Top Choice.’
However, the post is authored by one Rishika Verma, who has used an image of actor Anushka Shetty, as her display picture.
RADYANCE: SPOTTING THE BLEMISHES
At the time of writing this story over 220 complaints against Radyance were posted on the Indian Consumer Complaints Forum, a website not affiliated to any government body. A summary of the complaints are listed below.
1. Radyance: Skin Brightening Complex did not make people fairer.
2. The maximum retail price (M.R.P) on the package stated Rs. 4,400 but the product was being sold for Rs. 1,692.
3. The contact numbers printed on the packaging were U.S. based but the manufacturer’s address either said Delhi, Gurgaon or Shimla.
4. Some of the ads for Radyance showed a white bottle but customers received a black bottle.
5. Several complainants stated that after placing an order, a representative named Neha Gupta would send them a text message saying that they(the customer) had accidentally ordered only ‘Radyance Night Complex’ without ‘Radyance Day Elixir’.
Neha’s text message explained how both creams were needed for the solution to work.
The company would then go ahead and order Radyance Day Elixir costing Rs. 1170 without seeking the customer’s permission. Requests to cancel the second order were ignored.
(To be in continued…
Click here to go to Part 2
In Part 2, we order Radyance Skin Brightening Complex to fact check the claims against it and uncover the identities of people behind the company. )