Education customers have complained for years about their services being unreliable, sometimes causing them to cancel appointments or cancel services in the middle of a class.
But now, some companies are responding to complaints with better customer service.
In a letter addressed to the Education Department, a group of education and technology companies called on the department to create a national registry of educational services and support companies.
The groups are calling on the federal government to establish a nationwide database of companies offering “customer support,” so that consumers can get accurate information about their support providers and how much they are paying.
The letter says that in a few years, companies could be offering services as affordable as a college scholarship or as pricey as a $5,000 computer science degree.
The industry group also urged the department not to require “free, online services” from providers, because such a requirement would force companies to reduce their support and customer service budgets.
Companies also called for the creation of an industry-wide registry of education providers, which would include “information on the quality of service, the availability of support, and how customers can file complaints and request refunds.”
The letter was signed by some of the nation’s largest providers of online education services.
“The Department of Education is not the only entity with the authority to regulate the online education industry, and its oversight of such an important industry is essential,” wrote the letter’s signatories, including companies like TechStars, Lynda.com, Udemy and Khan Academy.
“The information you need to know about online education is available on the Internet.
Companies should be able to provide it to you.”
The education companies cited a 2015 Consumer Reports study that found that the average student has about 20 hours of instructional time a week, with an average teacher spending more than $1,500 a year.
They also said they had seen a 50 percent increase in customer complaints about online educational services.
The companies also cited studies showing that online education costs can be prohibitively expensive, especially for low-income students.
They also said that the government should require the Internet companies to use student information and payment data in a manner that is transparent to consumers.
The group also said companies should disclose the total amount they are charging their customers, including the cost of their support services, and provide a full description of how that money is spent.