How long can a business model founded on exploiting workforce, and doling out poor service to disgruntled customers last? Apparently, a decade and counting, with reported revenues of Rs 2,800 crore annually and at that value, you can get a Bollywood superstar to endorse the product/platform.
The Indian educational technology company, BYJU's headquartered in Bangalore, seemingly stands for all that's wrong with the Indian education system, at least that's what some parents and former employees of the company are alleging. Focus on remote learning, unaffordable education, tuition culture and exploited parents. More so, if the hundreds of social media posts and a detailed report in The Morning Context, are anything further to go by.
"These BYJU's stories are just really really sad," says one of the posts, resonating with many who have been at the receiving end of the tuition centre, citing the article which produces snippets from some of the conversations allegedly between managers and salespeople at BYJU's offices in Bengaluru.
Once a clever pitch has turned the gullible parents into customers, they are allegedly blocked. Serious allegations have been levelled against BYJU's stating parents have been conned into parting with their hard-earned money.
"They are easier sells for two reasons. One, a large number of them are living a tough life and would do anything to make the lives of their children better; and two, they don't have the time or the resources to check the efficacy of the product," the third salesperson says.
"This particular parent, in her late 30s was uneducated, and worked in the informal sector, earning around Rs 300-400 daily-a typical low-hanging fruit." her child was in high school then. The sale was easy and so was the loan process. Everyone was happy. Until the day the first loan instalment was debited from the parent's account. She realised she couldn't afford it. She didn't know how to cancel the product either. So she called up the person who sold her the product. "She wanted a refund. I assured her that I would look into the matter," says the salesperson. "In reality, I had no power."
So they went to the manager and narrated the event. "He told me that my job ended when I punched in the sale," says the salesperson. "He told me to block this parent's number, move on and focus on the next sale." The salesperson blocked the mother's number but didn't have the heart to make another sale. Within 10 days, they resigned.
Angry Netizens raise questions
"How long can a business founded and run on unethical means last? Poor service and dissatisfied customers, slowly get the better of growth. They have lasted five years," wrote a disgruntled customer on how the online education platform had allegedly already collected thousands of crores.
"What's the difference between these salespeople & the average phone scammer siphoning money?" questioned a user.
Not just parents with a bad experience, but some criticised the firm as an employer too.
"That's why I resigned from Byju's. It's the worst online education platform that I have ever seen. They only target poor people."
Clickbait commercials & clever marketing
They know what Indian parents dream of and will eventually for; the promise of a child being interested in learning, clear with concepts and doing well in studies.
"Leave your child at BYJU's tuition centre and leave the rest to us," says Shah Rukh Khan in one of the very repetitive ads on television. It's one of the half-a-dozen commercials he has shot for the company. Off the screens too, it's either the threat of a child failing miserably, or doing even better and unlocking their full potential that results in locked deals.
No one from the company has issued a statement on the allegations doing the rounds on social media. International Business Times has reached out to BYJU's regarding the allegations. The story will be duly updated.