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Consumer Affairs department taking a “grim view” of ed-tech advertisement practices

Economic Times reports on MCA’s “grim view” of hard-selling and ‘misleading’ tactics of ed-tech sector, including Byju’s, India’s most valuable startup

What's up? Allegations of hard-selling and misleading tactics adopted by ed-tech companies have not gone under the Indian Department of Consumer Affairs' (CA department) radar as the agency is supposedly taking a "grim view" of the situation, the Economic Times reported. What are the allegations against ed-tech firms? Complaints against Byju’s and group entities were highlighted during a discussion between the government, ed-tech companies and the self-regulatory organisation India Ed-tech Consortium (IEC) on June 24. At the meeting, the Consumer Affairs officials pointed out that they had received 147 consumer complaints against ed-tech startups, out of which a majority were against Byju's, India's most valuable startup. "Aggressive mis-selling to parents is something that was discussed, among other issues, along with certain claims being made in advertisements. Byju’s was advised to work closely with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)," an anonymous official who was at the meeting told ET, adding, "The government has grown wary of the rising number of complaints against ed-tech startups, which also involves mis-selling of loans or financing options for various courses that these platforms are offering." Industry self-regulatory body ASCI had previously said in June that of the 5,532 advertisements that it had processed in the previous fiscal year, 33% of the complaints were about the education sector, which includes ed-tech as well as traditional educational institutes. What did Byju's say? In a statement to ET following the IEC-CA discussion, Byju's outright denied that it had been singled out at the meeting, adding, "With…

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