Khan Study Group (KSG) has been charged a penalty of Rs 5 lakh for violating the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. The group has been involved in unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements. The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) took this decision to safeguard the rights of the consumers in the country. KSG has also been told to discontinue the misleading advertisements with immediate effect.
The CCPA headed by Chief Commissioner Nidhi Khare, and Commissioner Anupam Mishra came across the misleading advertisements while monitoring various civil services exam coaching centres and their advertisements claiming successful candidates as their own. Many coaching centres heavily advertise the toppers to be of their own without even giving out any other details to attract other prospective students.
Notices to various IAS institutes were issued, including KSG.
False Advertisements Trap
According to the advertisements by the KSG, 682 out of the 933 selected students were from KSG. It also claimed that all the toppers of UPSC exam 2022 were from KSG and that it was the number one institute in the country.
Upon conducting a preliminary investigation, the CCPA discovered that although KSG advertised a variety of courses, the details regarding the course chosen by the advertised successful candidates in the UPSC exam 2022 were hidden from view. Thus, on August 3, 2023, a notice was sent to the Khan Study Group. In its response, the institute stated that 674 of the 682 qualified applicants shown in the contested KSG advertisement participated in a free mock interview program.
After a thorough investigation was requested from the DG (Investigation) CCPA, it was discovered in the report that, of the 682 successful candidates, only eight had received guidance for additional courses—and that, too, in prior years. Because they omitted this information from their ads, consumers were led to believe that these successful candidates were a result of the mentioned institution.
The UPSC CS exam 2022 top five, Ishita Kishore (AIR-1), Garima Lohia (AIR-2), Uma Harathi N (AIR-3), Smriti Mishra (AIR-4), and Mayur Hazarika (AIR-5) only participated in the free mock interview program offered by Khan Study Group, according to CCPA's findings.
By prominently featuring the images of successful candidates in the advertisement, Khan Study Group has been observed to be taking full credit for the efforts and achievements of these candidates. It is well known that a candidate's ranking is determined by both their interview and written test scores. Thus, deceptive advertising may entice candidates for the UPSC.