Searching for the best UPSC coaching institute? The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has just imposed a fine of Rs 5 Lakh on Khan Study Group (KSG) for misleading ads with IAS toppers.
The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on Khan Study Group (KSG), a coaching institute in India, on account of unfair trade practices and misleading advertising.
This action comes after observing various civil services exam coaching centres which post advertisements claiming successful candidates to be their students. These institutes use pictures and names of toppers without indicating the length of the course, the fees paid or the course opted to lure prospective students.
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As per an India Today report, “An advertisement is considered to be valid and not deceitful when it does not mislead consumers by exaggerating the usefulness of the products or services, says the consumer affairs ministry.”
KSG was found making false claims such as 682 out of 933 selected students for UPSC CSE were from KSG.
“The DG (Investigation) CCPA was asked for a detailed investigation into the matters and it was found in the investigation report that out of 682, only eight successful candidates took guidance for additional courses and that too in previous years,” says the report.
Out of those 8, the five toppers only took mock interview programmes from Khan Study Group which were free of cost.
To avoid being lured by such scams, here are a few red flags to spot as suggested by Aakarsh Agarwal, a motivational speaker, lawyer, and financial guide on Quora. Aakarsh has over 4 lakh views on his profile.
1. Do not fall for unrealistic success rates
A coaching centre claiming a 99 percent or 100 percent success rate is a big red flag according to Aakarsh. “It’s important to remember that success rates can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the difficulty level of the exam and the individual abilities of the students,” he says.
2. Beware of fake reviews and testimonials
Akarsh says that if there are too many good reviews of the coaching online then they might be fake. “You can try to verify the authenticity of these reviews by checking if they are from real people and if they have similar language or writing styles,” he says.
3. Ask for result verification
He suggests asking for verification of all the good results the institute is claiming. “If a coaching centre is not willing to provide proof of their students’ success, such as exam scores or certificates, this may be a red flag. A reputable coaching centre should be able to provide this information upon request,” he says.
4. Check for accreditation or certification:
Another red flag that he suggests that everyone should watch out for is certification. “If a coaching centre is not accredited or certified by a recognised organisation, this may be a sign that they are not meeting certain standards or regulations,” he says.
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5. Lack of transparency
“If a coaching centre is not transparent about its teaching methods, course materials, or success rates, this may be a cause for concern. A reputable coaching centre should be willing to provide this information to prospective students,” says Aakarsh.
(Edited by Padmashree Pande)
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