Ed-Tech Firms Like Byju’s Are Trapping Parents, Fooling Them With Offers? Govt Issues Advisory

Do not fall for false promises.

The government has been forced to issue an advisory to parents looking to avail services of edtech firms for their children.

There have been numerous instances of relationships between edtech companies and customers gone sour because the former failed to deliver in some way or another.

Byju’s name in particular comes up several times, which is India’s most valuable startup. 

Avoid Auto Payments

The Education Ministry said in its advisory to parents and students to exercise caution while making payments. 

It has recommended them to avoid using the automatic debit option for paying the subscription fee.

It said that it has been made aware of incidents in which ed-tech companies lure unsuspecting parents in the guise of free services.

They then get the parents to sign the Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) mandate or activate the Auto-debit feature.

They have been found to target financiallyvulnerable families in particular.

Don’t Fall For Freebies

The ministry has cautioned against the “Free-Premium business model” where a lot of their services appear free but the customer has to purchase a subscription for continued access.

Activation of auto-debit which happens once a person signs up for the free trial activates once the trial is expired.

The child does not realise what is happening and thinks that they are continuing to access the services for free.

Another cautionary measure is to avoid installing any mobile ed-tech applications without verifying its authenticity.

Can The Child Absorb The Lessons?

Check whether the content a platform provides is aligned with the student’s syllabus. 

Another important thing to check is whether the lessons and manner of teaching is easily comprehensible by your child.

Avoid credit/debit cards registration for subscriptions and place an upper limit on expenditure per transaction.

Don’t Expose Yourself (Unintentionally)

Some general online safety measures include not entering personal data like emails, contact numbers, card details, addresses etc online since they can be misused or sold. 

Do not share any personal photos or videos, and be cautious when turning on video or getting on video calls on an unverified platform.

Do not fall for false promises and subscribe to unverified courses. 

Don’t Be Fooled By Deceptive Marketing

A method edtech companies use to draw customers is sharing “success stories” which can be entirely fabricated.

Be wary of predatory marketing tactics and advertisements and always do your own research before registering with any platform.

You may look online for honest reviews from customers with first-hand experience with the platform. 

Keep Proof Handy

But don’t be surprised if you find critical evaluations less in number than the positive ones, given the company’s history of silencing its critics. 

If you feel you are being registered for something you don’t consent to, the advisory says that you should record calls in these instances to file a grievance against the platform.

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