The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, has issued an order against ed-tech company Byju’s and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan for alleged “fraudulent behaviour” and “unfair trade practice” on the complaint of a woman who enrolled in their coaching course to become an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.
In its order, the commission stated that Rs 1.08 lakh in fees deposited by complainant Priyanka Dixit at the time of admission in 2021 must be returned along with 12 per cent annual interest, while Rs 5,000 must be given to her as litigation cost and Rs 50,000 as compensation for financial and mental agony.
The commission stated that the local manager of Byju’s and actor Khan must pay the amount “jointly or severally” to Dixit. Since the respondents did not respond after the notices were served, unilateral action was taken against them.
“The woman complainant was encouraged to take admission in Byju’s coaching (course) by placing false and misleading online advertisements on behalf of the opposition parties. No coaching facility was provided after receiving the fee and despite assurance of refund of the amount, the fee was not refunded, which in itself is fraudulent behaviour and shows unfair trade practice,” the commission’s order said.
Dixit had named Shah Rukh Khan as one of the respondents after claiming she had enrolled for the firm’s coaching course to prepare for the Union Public Service Commission’s civic exams after being influenced by its advertisement issued on January 13, 2021.
Despite repeated requests, the firm did not refund her fees, Dixit’s complaint alleged.
Dixit’s lawyer Suresh Kanga stated that as per provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, a person can file a complaint against a company for errors in services as well as against those advertising it.