Denying allegations of aggressive sales tactics, edtech Byju’s has maintained that it does not abuse customer privacy or collect student data without any parental consent.
“We have 150 million registered users on our platform and we only respond to inbound queries. There is zero tolerance for abuse of customer privacy and collection of student data without parental consent,” a Byju’s spokesperson told the Free Press Journal amid allegations by the National Commission For Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chief Priyank Kanoongo that the edtech giant is allegedly buying phone numbers of children and their parents, and threatening them that their future will be ruined if they don't buy their courses.
NCPCR cites news reports, summon CEO Byju Raveendran
"We came to know about Byju's buying phone numbers of children & their parents, rigorously following them & threatening them that their future will be ruined. They're targeting first-generation learners. We'll initiate action & if need be will make a report & write to the govt,” Kanoongo told ANI on Tuesday.
NCPCR had earlier summoned Byju’s CEO and Co-Founder Byju Raveendran, requiring him to appear in person on December 23 over allegations that it is indulging in malpractices to lure parents and children to buy their courses.
The diktat by NCPCR comes amid reports by Reuters’ Context which found that many users of the edtech platform, often from low-middle-income families have been coerced into paying for courses through inappropriate sales tactics while also selling their data.
"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 had said in a statement while highlighting news reports which alleged that the company exploited and deceived parents and students and put their futures in jeopardy.
Byju’s says willing to come before NCPCR ‘if required’
On the summons, Byju’s has maintained that it is working on the responses and is willing to appear before NCPCR if necessary.
“We have received the summons and are compiling a transparent response based on facts to address the unsubstantiated complaints. We will clarify our position before the commission if required,” a spokesperson told FPJ.
NCPCR has maintained that if Raveendran fails to comply with the order without a lawful excuse, he will face consequences for the non-attendance as provided in Rule 10 and Rule l2 of Order XVI of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
The story will be updated once Kanoongo responds to FPJ's queries over allegations about threats to parents by Byju's.
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