Govt issues advisory to citizens urging caution against ed-tech companies
- India is at the cusp of a digital revolution powered by increasing internet penetration and growing trend of technology adoption across industries.
- Given the pervasiveness of technology in education, several ed-tech companies have begun to offer online courses, tutorials, competitive test coaching, and other services.
- In light of this, parents, students, and other stakeholders in school education must exercise caution when considering the use of online curriculum and coaching provided by various Ed-tech companies.
About E-commerce Regulations & Redressal System:
- The Ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution also notified the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 via notification in 2020.
- Ed-tech firms are currently experiencing fast expansion, resulting in an increase in the number of students and teachers that subscribe to their learning platform.
- These platforms must be cautious about the promises they make about the services they provide.
- It is self-evident that Ed-tech enterprises that may be regarded as e-commerce entities must comply with the Rules in order to avoid future responsibility and must put in place a specific process to ensure compliance with the law.
- No e-commerce entity shall adopt any unfair trade (marketing) practice, whether in the course of business on its platform or otherwise.
- No e-commerce company shall falsely represent itself as a subscriber and post reviews about its products or misrepresent the quality or the features of any educational content and its learning tools.
- Every e-commerce entity shall endeavor on a best effort basis to become a partner in the convergence process of the National Consumer Helpline of the Government.
- To ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act or the rules made thereunder for grievance redressal or reporting any other matter, all Ed-tech companies are required to have a grievance officer and the name, contact numbers, and designation of the grievance officer, who must be resident in India; to be displayed on the platform or website; and to ensure that the grievance officer acknowledges the receipt of any consumer complaint within 48 hours.
- No e-commerce firm shall manipulate the pricing of products/courses offered on its platform for profit by imposing an inappropriate price on consumers in light of market conditions.
- Every e-commerce entity shall only record the consent of a consumer for the educational product offered on its platform where such consent is expressed through an explicit and affirmative action, and no such entity shall record such consent automatically, including in the form of pre-ticked checkboxes.
- Every e-commerce entity shall effect all payments towards accepted refund requests of the consumers as prescribed by the RBI or any other competent authority under any law for the time being in force, within a reasonable period, or as prescribed under applicable laws.