Internal data exclusively obtained by Moneycontrol reveals that Byju’s, the leading edtech startup, has witnessed more than half of its tuition center customers requesting refunds over the past two years. Between November 9, 2021, and July 11, 2023, a total of 43,625 refund requests were submitted to Byju’s Tuition Centers. Out of these, approximately 95% were processed by Byju’s, which has sold nearly 75,000 Tuition Center subscriptions in total.
Despite these findings, a Byju’s spokesperson has refuted the reported numbers, labeling them as “wildly inaccurate.” However, the spokesperson did not provide specific numbers to counter the data’s accuracy.
The surge in refund requests suggests a significant level of dissatisfaction among students and parents with the quality and structure of courses provided at Byju’s Tuition Centers. This poses a challenge for the edtech giant, which initially considered the Tuition Centers a growth driver but has since suspended expansion plans.
Moneycontrol interviewed parents of 15 students enrolled in Byju’s Tuition Centers to gauge their sentiments. Most parents shared concerns about various issues, including inadequate installation of CCTV cameras, irregular class schedules, manipulation of attendance records, and poor communication about class cancellations and refund processes.
In one instance, Moneycontrol gained access to a WhatsApp group consisting of parents who had enrolled their children at a specific Tuition Center. Frustration was evident in the group’s discussions, with parents expressing their desire for refunds and discussing strategies to bolster their refund appeals. Parents also reported facing unresponsiveness and discourtesy from Byju’s staff.
Despite these challenges, Byju’s has halted its expansion of new tuition centers this year, indicating a change in approach. This comes alongside other challenges for the company, including discontent among area business heads (ABHs) and ongoing negotiations for funding and debt repayment.
Byju’s initial focus on hybrid learning through its Tuition Centers aimed to create a network of centers across India. However, the challenges faced in managing offline classes highlight the complexities and importance of experienced personnel in the field, posing a unique set of challenges for the edtech industry leader.