Priyank Kanoongo, the head of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), announced on December 23 that Byju’s had agreed to modify its refund policy and conduct an affordability test of parents before selling them courses and loans.
According to Kanoongo, two company representatives from Byju’s spoke on behalf of the CEO (Byju Raveendran) and handed a letter to the NCPCR. Kanoongo further mentioned that they would receive written recommendations from the NCPCR on Monday.
“Byju’s has promised to assess parents’ ability to pay for courses and loans before offering them. They have committed to refrain from selling courses to those with monthly incomes below Rs 25,000. In addition, they have promised to reimburse parents who purchased courses and loans but would have passed the affordability test for the full cost of the courses, according to Kanoongo.
We also instructed Byju’s to have all sales representatives who deal with children, parents, and students directly undergo police verification. They have now been asked to provide us with further documents, which will be delivered to us on Monday. All of these things have been communicated to them verbally, and on Monday, we will provide them in writing, said Kanoongo.
According to Byju’s, it does not directly provide loans to its customers. Byju’s links the parents of such kids to respectable third-party banks or financial organisations, the company added, in order to help students who need financial support when requested. Additionally, the business asserted that it processes 98.5 percent of refund claims sent through authorised channels within 48 hours.
In reaction to media allegations suggesting that the edtech company exploits students by aggressively marketing and misrepresenting its courses, the NCPCR summoned Byju’s CEO Byju Raveendran on December 17.
Some parents in the aforementioned media story asserted that they were taken advantage of and duped, endangering their finances and future. The ed-tech platform has been “actively misleading” users into signing loan-based agreements for courses that cannot be returned even if the customer requests one, according to the investigation. Furthermore, it was claimed that Byju’s got numerous complaints from parents of youngsters but took no action.
A spokeswoman for Byju’s denied any mis-selling and stated that “by design, every sale is unapproved until it is verified by a triple-layered audit mechanism that reaches out to the interested buyer through SMS, audio, and video calls.”
“The central level is where a sale is completed. Customers who are disinterested in or unable to pay for BYJU’S products are not encouraged, ordered, or given incentives to buy from them. This was recently conclusively validated by a reputable international consulting organisation in an independently conducted thorough poll, “said the representative.
“Details of all the courses run by Byju’s for children, the structure of these courses and the fees details, the number of students currently enrolled in each course, the refund policy of Byju’s, the legal documents regarding the recognition of Byju’s as a valid edtech company, and all other relevant documents regarding the claims made in the media report,” Raveendran was asked to produce.
The NCPCR revealed that it had uncovered that Byju’s reportedly buys the phone numbers of kids and their parents and threatens them with a ruined future if they do not purchase its courses, which Byju’s “strongly rejected,” a few days after issuing a summons to the company.