Edtech unicornin a meeting at the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) claimed it does not encourage, order or incentivise sales staff or managers to pursue customers who are uninterested in or unable to pay for its products.
BYJU’S was represented before the commission by Pravin Prakash, one of its founding partners, in response to the summons issued last week.
The edtech firm stated that it does not directly offer loans to its users and in order to assist students that require financial support, where requested, BYJU’S connects the parents of such students to reputed third-party banks or financial institutions.
In addition, BYJU’S also said that it has a robust written refund policy for all products and services, and claimed that at every purchase touch point, the customer is informed about the terms of the refund policy.
Earlier today, a media report stated that BYJU’S agreed to revise its refund policy and conduct an affordability test of parents before selling courses and loans to them.
“They [BYJU’S] have agreed that they will not be selling courses to families having a monthly income of less than Rs 25,000. Other than that, they have agreed to refund the full course fees to parents who would have failed the affordability test but were sold courses and loans,” the apex child rights body’s chief Priyank Kanoongo told Moneycontrol.
“We have also told BYJU’S to conduct police verification of all the sales employees, who are directly in touch with students, kids and parents. Now we have asked for some more documents from them, which would be presented before us on Monday. We have told them all these things verbally and would be giving them in writing on Monday after the meeting,” Kanoongo added.
The NCPCR would meet BYJU’S again on Monday as it has requested additional information and documents from the company and would provide them with written recommendations following the meeting, the report noted.
The apex body issued a summons to Byju Raveendran over allegations that the company is indulging in malpractices to lure parents and children to buy their courses.
BYJU’S is facing a range of complaints on social media platforms and consumer websites, with customers alleging that they were exploited and deceived as they had to put their savings and futures in jeopardy, a Reuters report stated last week.
The edtech company stated it cannot verify the authenticity of the article.
Earlier this week, BYJU’S denied the allegations of purchasing phone numbers of children and their parents, and threatening them that their future would be ruined if they don’t buy its courses.
According to BYJU’S, it also informed the apex body that it provides free courseware to children from underprivileged families through its social initiative arm, Education For All. And the sales personnel have been encouraged to recommend every parent, who wants to learn from BYJU’S but cannot afford it, to the EFA team, the company added.
The commission had asked the company to appear in person before it along with the details of all the courses run by BYJU’s for children, the structure of these courses and the fee details, the number of students currently enrolled in each course, and the refund policy of BYJU’S.
NCPCR had also asked for 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 aforementioned news report to explain the discrepancies in relation to the said matter.