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Consumer rights issues - CS082008
Case summary September 2020 | Partly Justified
A student complained to the provider that the course they had completed did not include enough teaching hours at the right standard to enable them to apply for professional accreditation from the relevant professional body.
The student said that the provider had misled them. Initially the provider rejected the student’s complaint, but later accepted that its written materials were unclear. It also acknowledged that it had not delivered the required teaching hours and arranged to deliver additional sessions. The provider offered the student a small payment as compensation for inconvenience.
The student complained to us. They had not been able to attend the additional teaching sessions. The student wanted a full refund of their tuition fees.
We decided that the provider’s materials were unclear. Accreditation in this field was not automatically awarded on completion of a course, and the student had understood this correctly. The teaching hours were one element of the professional body’s requirements, but evidence of continuing development in practice was also required. It was reasonable for the student to believe that the course would deliver the required teaching hours, covering the relevant subject areas at the right level, to support a personal application for professional accreditation.
The professional body had written to the provider shortly after the complaint was made, telling it that there was a significant gap in the taught hours for course graduates that were applying for its accreditation. It was reasonable for the provider to try to remedy the situation by offering students additional taught sessions. A number of students were able to take advantage of these, but the student who complained to us was unable to attend.
We decided that the complaint was Partly Justified. We did not recommend a refund of tuition fees. The student had benefited from the teaching that was delivered, had attained a qualification, and importantly, was still able to apply for professional accreditation by demonstrating other achievements in the workplace. But we did recommend that the provider increase the amount of financial compensation offered, in recognition of the serious distress and inconvenience that it had caused the student.