Govt tightening rules to check misleading ads, fake claims by coaching centres
New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) The Central Consumer Protection Authority’s (CCPA) committee held its first meeting on Tuesday to discuss the draft guidelines to prevent misleading advertisements and false claims regarding success rates in coaching institutions.
Consumer Affairs Secretary & CCPA Chief Commissioner Rohit Kumar Singh highlighted the need for clarity, specifically in addressing certain aspects related to advertisements in the coaching sector. He further stated that CCPA firmly believes in safeguarding the rights of consumers and ensuring no false or misleading advertisement is made of any goods or services which contravenes the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
The guidelines shall be applicable to all the coaching institutes whether online or physical and cover all forms of advertisement regardless of form, format, or medium.
The guidelines also prescribes Do’s and Dont’s that need to be observed before coming up with advertisements:
The coaching institute shall mention requisite information with successful candidate photo, including the rank secured by successful candidate, the course opted by successful candidate, the duration of course, and whether it is paid or free
Coaching institutes shall not make claims on 100 per cent selection or 100 per cent job guaranteed or guaranteed preliminary or mains.
The font of disclaimer/disclosure/Important information in the advertisement shall be the same as that used in the claim/advertisement. The placement of such information shall be at a prominent and visible place in the advertisement.
It was also clarified that penalty for misleading advertisements by the coaching sector will be governed as per Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and the guidelines are just in the nature of clarification to the stakeholders and violations of the provisions of the act shall continue to be governed under the existing provisions of the act.
The Committee observed that there is an urgent need to issue the guidelines and the draft as discussed in the Meeting should be issued at the earliest.
The CCPA had taken suo motu action against misleading advertisements by coaching institutes.
In this regard, it has issued notices to 31 coaching institutes for misleading advertisement and imposed fine on 9 of them for misleading advertisements.
The CCPA has observed that some of the coaching institutes mislead consumers by deliberately concealing important information with respect to course opted by successful candidates, duration of the course so attended, and the fees paid by the candidates. It also said that some of the coaching Institutes also indulge in making claims like 100 per cent selection, 100 per cent job guaranteed and guaranteed preliminary and main examination without providing verifiable evidence.