VK-owned Skillbox users demand tens of millions back

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Since February 2022, dozens of clients across Russia have filed lawsuits against the Skillbox educational platform for a total of RUB 22.6 million. Former users of the resource demand a refund of the cost of the course after the termination of the contract. Most on the net complain about the few course materials, long responses from teachers and technical support. Despite lawsuits, as well as the resale of Skillbox courses on Avito and groups on social networks dedicated to the return of money for training, the number of platform customers paying for courses is at least 383 thousand.

Claims against Skillbox

As CNews found out, since February 2022, 62 former Skillbox clients have filed lawsuits or claims against the company. Their total amount was 22.6 million rubles. Agreements have been concluded since 2018 throughout Russia from Komsomolsk-on-Amur to Kaliningrad. This publication was told by the lawyer of the public organization “Clientprav” Fedor Korobkov.

The essence of claims against the company is reduced to the return of funds paid for training. In most cases, the reason for terminating contracts is due to a mismatch between expectations and reality, Korobkov told CNews. At the same time, there is no logic for the return of funds, the lawyer notes.

Skillbox is a Russian Internet company in the field of online education. It provides various paid courses from 1C developer and game designer to accountant and sound engineer.

In general, consumers have a fairly strong legal position,” CNews said. Pavel Katkov, owner of the business school Katkov.School and member of the Russian Bar Association. According to him, the fact of applying for a refund, as well as whether the consumer used the service, will be of great importance for the court.

Customer Reviews

In open sources, you can find a wide variety of customer reviews about Skillbox. For example, many positively note the presentation of speakers and the structuring of the material. A large number of praise feedback on the platform. However, the negative reviews are just the opposite.

Dozens of Skillbox customers have filed lawsuits since February 2022

Many users noticed that there is very little material in the program. “I don’t see the point in spending that kind of money, I get most of the useful information in Google,” notes a user taking an Android developer course.

“The Java programmer took the course, there is very little material, you have to look for everything yourself,” writes one of the buyers of the course. “Often a video lesson superficially in 4-5 minutes reveals the topic of the fact that you have to google for 2-3 hours.”

“The lectures are terribly collected, you can only ask the teacher a question in writing on the platform, and you can expect an answer up to 3 days, while often the essence remains undisclosed,” notes another user. “Technical support is disgusting, for about a month they can’t fix the problem of broadcasting a video lecture in one of the lessons.”

Negative reviews are also often associated with platform feedback. “The curator constantly avoids answering with the words “review the lessons, everything was in the webinar” or simply does not give a normal answer due to your mistake,” another Skillbox user notes. Also, many people pay attention to checking homework for too long and waiting for technical support answers.

There are entire groups on social media dedicated to refunding money paid for Skillbox courses. For example, in VK the number of such a group has reached 3.6 thousand people. There is also a resale of Skillbox courses on Avito. Now there are published almost 400 such ads.

Demand for IT courses is growing

As representatives of Skillbox told CNews, the number of course returns has practically not changed since 2021. “If we compare the period from February to May a year ago and now, the share of claims from requests has grown by less than half a percent,” the company says.

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Despite the claims, Skillbox noted a manifold increase in interest in IT professions. “In April 2022, we recorded an increase in demand for courses across the entire area of ​​training in IT professions: + 127% year-on-year,” company representatives say. The most popular programming languages ​​are Python and Java. In April, the popularity of these courses doubled and quadrupled, respectively. In addition, the demand for data analysis programs has doubled.

Representatives of Skillbox explained to CNews that the company writes the courses itself. “A large team of specialists works on each educational product: a methodologist, a producer, a teaching assistant, a user chat curator, checking teachers and a career consultant,” the company notes.

According to the Kontur.focus database, the revenue of Skillbox LLC in 2021 amounted to 6.5 billion rubles, which is 109% more than in 2020. At the same time, the company’s loss is 162.6 million rubles. Skillbox is owned by VK (formerly Mail.ru Group).

Number of platform clients

As of the end of March 2022, the total number of registered users on the platforms reached 10.8 million. This figure is 1.5 times more than in March 2021, the Skillbox press service told CNews. The total paying audience approached 383,000. In the first quarter of 2022, almost 34,000 new paying users joined the platforms.

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Import substitution

In this regard, Katkov noted that Skillbox is a large school. “Hence the relatively large number of lawsuits,” he says. “We need to evaluate not their number or amount, but their share in the total number of students and the revenue of this platform.”

At the same time, the tendency for clients to go to court continues. Kommersant in January 2022 wrote about a class action lawsuit totaling 4.5 million rubles. GeekBrains users (part of the Skillbox educational holding).

Kristina Kholupova

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