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Business News/ Companies / Start-ups/  More than half of Byju’s tuition centre customers seek refund in past two years: Report

More than half of Byju’s tuition centre customers have requested refunds over the past two years, according to internal data exclusively obtained by Moneycontrol, This highlights a significant level of parental dissatisfaction with the method and practice of teaching at the Centers, which poses a challenge for the world’s most valuable edtech startup.

Between November 9, 2021, to July 11, 2023, a total of 43,625 refund requests were submitted to Byju’s Tuition Centers. Byju's reportedly processed 41,198 of these requests, accounting for approximately 95% of the total refund requests. It’s important to note that Byju’s has sold nearly 75,000 Tuition Center subscriptions in total.

Byju’s spokesperson refuted the reported numbers and labeled them as “wildly inaccurate." 

He, however, declined to provide actual numbers to rebut the accuracy of the data.

The elevated rates of refund requests from students indicate that they are dissatisfied with the quality and structure of the courses provided at Byju’s Tuition Centers (BTC). The Tuition Centers was initially considered a growth driver for the company’s future, but Byju’s has since taken a different approach by suspending its expansion plans. The company has chosen not to open any new tuition centers this year, a notable shift from its original target of leasing at least 300 additional centers.

The Moneycontrol spoke with the parents of 15 students to gauge their sentiments, particularly in light of the recent criticisms surrounding Byju’s. Except for the parents of two students, the rest extensively discussed various issues they’ve encountered.

\These concerns encompass a range of topics, including inadequate installation of CCTV cameras, irregular class schedules, alleged manipulation of attendance records, and a perceived lack of communication about class cancellations and refund processes.

The Moneycontrol gained access to a WhatsApp group consisting of 127 parents who have enrolled their children at Byju’s Tuition Center in Saraswati Nagar, Jodhpur. This group also included a few former employees who had been laid off by the company.

The group’s discussions were marked by expressions of frustration from parents, with messages like “Byju’s ko refund karna padega" (Byju’s will have to issue a refund) and “Hum sab ko refund chahiye aur ye sirf consumer court dila sakta hai" (We all want a refund, and only the consumer court can help us with this).

The parents in the group engaged in conversations centered around strategies to bolster their refund appeals, following several unsuccessful attempts to secure refunds. They also shared their experiences of facing unresponsiveness and discourtesy from Byju’s staff while making these refund requests.

Additionally, parents shared the refund request letters they had sent to Byju’s. They had visited the Saraswati Nagar Tuition Center multiple times in an effort to meet with the management there, but had not received satisfactory responses.

“Classes have not been happening on time. Our kids are sitting in staff rooms and studying instead of studying in classrooms. Students are constantly complaining about the quality of lectures. So many times we asked the managers to address these issues, but never got any response," Moneycontrol reported quoting a parent, requesting anonymity.


“The trigger actually was that in July, the class manager on whom we all trusted the most with our students, was forced to resign and when he refused to do that, the company leveled serious false allegations against him and terminated him with immediate effect. We didn’t want to continue sending our children to a tuition centre that has such horrible on-ground issues," the parent added.

The Moneycontrol reported that all the parents have stopped sending their children to the tuition centre and have submitted formal requests for refunds. However, staff at the centre have been marking the children present every day to show higher occupancy, and have not responded to parents' refund requests. 

Beside these challenges, Byju’s, India’s most valuable edtech startup, is also facing various difficulties, including discontent among its area business heads (ABHs) and ongoing negotiations for funding and debt repayment over incentives and variable pay.

Byju’s had initially invested heavily in the concept of hybrid learning through its BTCs, aiming to create a network of tuition centers across India.

The challenges within BTCs coincide with Byju’s ongoing efforts to secure funding and address financial issues. The company had initially planned to launch hundreds of tuition centers as a part of its expansion strategy, but the current issues highlight the complexities of managing offline classes and the importance of experienced personnel in the field.



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Updated: 17 Aug 2023, 06:30 PM IST
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