Huddersfield University disputes Which? report findings

A report suggests three in four universities are breaching consumer law by failing to provide prospective students with vital information on their websites. However Huddersfield, one of the institutions named, has strongly rejected the report findings.

A report suggests three in four universities are breaching consumer law by failing to provide prospective students with vital information on their websites. However Huddersfield, one of the institutions named, has strongly rejected the report findings.

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A YORKSHIRE university is taking legal advice after rejecting claims by the consumer group Which? that it had failed to provide prospective students with vital information on its website.

Which? said it found three institutions, Huddersfield, Canterbury Christ Church and Glasgow Caledonian Universities had consistently adopted unlawful practice by failing to provide more than 30 per cent of the information required, when it investigated in September.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published advice, in March, setting out how consumer law applies to the higher education sector, including measures to ensure information is available to students so they can compare courses and make an informed choice.

However a spokesman for Huddersfield University said it took “great exception” to the Which? report and had now instructed Eversheds solicitors to act on its behalf in respect of the allegations.

He said: “The allegation that it is not compliant with a number of the CMA guidelines is completely false. The university is confident that it is fully compliant with consumer protection legislation, in line with the CMA’s advice. We strongly refute the allegations made.”

The investigation involved analysis of the information available to prospective students for 2016/17 psychology courses across a third (50) of UK higher education institutions’ websites between September 14 and 25 this year. Which? said its report was correct based on its findings between those dates.

Which? said nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of institutions it had checked failed to provide students with up-to-date information on course fees, and four in five (80 per cent) had not state or provide clarity on any extra fees students may have to pay to complete the course. Overall it said 76 per cent of the 50 universities it looked at had breachrf consumer law by failing to provide prospective students with vital information. While no institution consistently provided good practice across all areas, Leeds Trinity University and University of Greenwich demonstrated good practice across a number of areas, the consumer watchdog said. This included details on the number of contact hours students can expect, the workload and assessments for their course and fees they will be expected to pay. Which? said it had found the majority of students (75 per cent) use a university’s website or prospectus to make their first and insurance choices with UCAS.

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