Report shows universities violating consumer law

A new report indicates that over three quarters of universities are violating consumer law when it came to providing information to prospective students.

The report, released by the consumer group Which?, researched 50 psychology courses from universities. Their research showed that 38 of those courses had violated the law as it did not provide a certain piece of information to students considering studying the course.



In a statement, Richard Lloyd, the executive director of Which?, said it was essential students had all the facts before committing to a course.

“Students deserve to know at least the basics of what they can expect from a course before signing up, so it’s disappointing to find that a large number of universities still breaching consumer law,” Lloyd said. “It’s encouraging to see some providers demonstrating good practice, but we now need all universities to make better information easily available and accessible for prospective students.”

Disputing the report

The report added that 3 universities, Canterbury Christ Church University, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Huddersfield, had been in constant violations of the practice, not providing at least 30 per cent of information, including tuition fees.



Spokespersons for all 3 universities said they disputed the report’s findings. A spokesperson for Glasgow Caledonian University, reached by email, said Which? had gone beyond its remit by making stark and unsupported allegations.

“The allegation that GCU is consistently adopting unlawful practice is unsupported and defamatory,” the spokesperson said. “Glasgow Caledonian University is committed to providing the best possible service to students and potential applicants and would like to reassure them that we endeavour at all times to present information in the clearest and fairest manner.”

In an emailed statement to the media, a University of Huddersfield spokesperson said the suggestion of it not complying with advice from the Competition and Markets Authority was false, and was compliant with all legislation.

A spokesperson for Canterbury Christ Church University, reached by email, said they took immediate action to rectify any outstanding issues, including that of tuition fees. The spokesperson added that the university was committed to meeting consumer law in line with advice from the CMA.

Which? said they were submitting this report to the CMA, which released a report on consumer law and universities in higher education.

A spokesperson for the CMA, reached by email, said there is a compliance review in progress of that advice and welcomed the contribution by Which?.