BYJU'S allegedly buying phone numbers of children, their parents, and threatening them: NCPCR Chief
“They're targeting first-generation learners. We'll initiate action and if need be will make a report and write to govt,” NCPCR Chief said.
Apex child rights body the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) said that it learnedis allegedly purchasing the phone numbers of children and their parents, and threatening them that their future will be ruined if they don’t buy its courses.
“They're targeting first-generation learners. We'll initiate action and if need be will make a report and write to govt,” NCPCR Chief Priyank Kanoongo told ANI.
The apex body has issued a summons to BYJU's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Byju Raveendran over allegations that the company is indulging in malpractices to lure parents and children to buy their courses. Byju has been summoned to appear before NCPCR this week.
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 Commission’s action was based on a news report that BYJU’S sales team was engaged in dishonest behaviour to persuade parents to purchase their courses for their kids.
"The Commission has come across a news article wherein it has been pointed out that the sales team of BYJU'S is indulging in malpractices to lure parents to buy their courses for their children," the NCPCR said in a statement to ANI.
The Commission added that the news report further alleged that BYJU'S has been actively tricking customers to enter into loan-based agreements for courses which may not be refunded if customers wished to do so.
“Under Section 14 of CPCR Act,2005, the Commission has all the powers of a Civil Court trying a suit under the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 and particular, in respect of the following matters- (a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath; (b) discovery and production of any document; (c) receiving evidence on affidavits; (d) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office; and (e) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents,” NCPCR said.
The Commission 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 has 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 at 1400 hours on December 23 to explain the discrepancies in relation to the said matter.
"The Commission is in observance that indulging into malpractices to lure the parents or children into entering loan-based agreements and then causing exploitation is against the welfare of children and in pursuance of the functions and powers under Section 13 and 14 of CPCR Act, 2005," NCPCR said on December 16.
With inputs from PTI.
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti