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12-06-2019, 15:46   #1
 
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Website, false advertising?

I want to know about the legalities of saying something on a website which turns out not to be true.

In this case, my friend signed up for a college course. On the website, it stated that the course had progression routes to another college. This turned out to be untrue. Also, the website outlined the course structure and the various modules as part of the course. Again, the actual modules were different and the stated location of where the modules were to take place was again different than stated on the website. Does anyone know if my friend can ask for money back or what is the legal situation? Thank you.
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12-06-2019, 16:26   #2
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Open for general legal discussion subject to forum rule on legal advice
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12-06-2019, 17:12   #3
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Again, the actual modules were different and the stated location of where the modules were to take place was again different than stated on the website.
Are you certain she applied to the right college?
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12-06-2019, 17:15   #4
 
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In this case, my friend signed up for a college course.
Was it actually a college course, ie, properly accredited, on the national framework etc...?

Or was it a "buy a degree" website with no actual college behind it?
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12-06-2019, 17:15   #5
 
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Are you certain she applied to the right college?
Yes, what she says is that she went to the college location for classes but certain classes were meant to be at a different location that was stated on the website. No classes ever took place there and the location would have been one of the biggest selling points for the course.
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12-06-2019, 17:16   #6
 
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Was it actually a college course, ie, properly accredited, on the national framework etc...?

Or was it a "buy a degree" website with no actual college behind it?
Yes, it was a proper college course. She attended the college but it didn't match the description of the course and the other things I mentioned.
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12-06-2019, 17:19   #7
 
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Yes, it was a proper college course. She attended the college but it didn't match the description of the course and the other things I mentioned.
Did she challenge the college about the difference between what was advertised and what she received?
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12-06-2019, 17:23   #8
 
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Did she challenge the college about the difference between what was advertised and what she received?
No. She just got on with it. The college was less than well run but her main complaint is that the college stated it had progression routes through a college in Ireland. She has found out that this is untrue and if she wishes to do a masters post her degree, she must do it in the UK.
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13-06-2019, 02:44   #9
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Ok. The first point is that the fact that these statemens were made *one a website* is not really relevant. the legal issues would be the same if the statement had been made in a newspaper ad, or a handbook, or wherever.

Except there may be this relevance: if you are thinking of any legal action, you need to be able to prove that the statements were made. Websites don't endure unchanged for ever. So take and keep screenshots.

The legal issue: I'm thinking misrepresentation. I signed up for this course, paid my fees, rejected or did not pursue other offers, on the faith of representations made by the college that the classes would be held at this location, and that successful completion of the course would be acceptable for meeting the entrance criteria for another course. Both of these representations turned out to be untrue. If the representations had not been made, I would not have signed up for this course; I would have pursued other options. I am at a loss as a result.

To succeed in an action for damages, you need to be able to prove that the representations were made (hence the screenshots); that they were untrue; that they were made negligently; that you relied on them; and that you suffered detriment as a result.

The "negligent" bit could be important. It may be that, for example, when the representation was made, the course did qualify for admission to another course, but that this changed later, due to a decision made by the other college for which the college that made the representation was not responsible, and which it could not reasonably have foreseen. If that's so, they'd argue that they didn't make the representation negligently. Likewise the venue change might have been forced on them by unforeseen circumstances. Or, they might argue that while the venue change was inconvenient, it didn't really cost you all that money. (Was the alternative venue a couple of kilometres away? In another city entirely? This makes a difference.)
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13-06-2019, 10:52   #10
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Is it possible that this is an innocent mistake?
That there used to be a progression route but the course isn't running or the requirements changed.

I've seen it on websites before that students may progress to somewhere else. The language is very conditional.

Practically the onus is probably on the student to check the progression before committing.
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13-06-2019, 16:33   #11
 
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Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
Ok. The first point is that the fact that these statemens were made *one a website* is not really relevant. the legal issues would be the same if the statement had been made in a newspaper ad, or a handbook, or wherever.

Except there may be this relevance: if you are thinking of any legal action, you need to be able to prove that the statements were made. Websites don't endure unchanged for ever. So take and keep screenshots.

The legal issue: I'm thinking misrepresentation. I signed up for this course, paid my fees, rejected or did not pursue other offers, on the faith of representations made by the college that the classes would be held at this location, and that successful completion of the course would be acceptable for meeting the entrance criteria for another course. Both of these representations turned out to be untrue. If the representations had not been made, I would not have signed up for this course; I would have pursued other options. I am at a loss as a result.

To succeed in an action for damages, you need to be able to prove that the representations were made (hence the screenshots); that they were untrue; that they were made negligently; that you relied on them; and that you suffered detriment as a result.

The "negligent" bit could be important. It may be that, for example, when the representation was made, the course did qualify for admission to another course, but that this changed later, due to a decision made by the other college for which the college that made the representation was not responsible, and which it could not reasonably have foreseen. If that's so, they'd argue that they didn't make the representation negligently. Likewise the venue change might have been forced on them by unforeseen circumstances. Or, they might argue that while the venue change was inconvenient, it didn't really cost you all that money. (Was the alternative venue a couple of kilometres away? In another city entirely? This makes a difference.)
Thanks for the detailed reply. First of all they completely changed their website but she only realised this a few months into the course, long after she paid. The new website doesn't mention any of the things on the old website. It lists the course she actually did, the location the original website stated the course would be on is gone and the progression route to the Irish university is gone. Thing is she looked up this other website that shows old webpages, basically a saved version of the original website. I forget the name of the webpage that does this but it's all there.
I take on board your legal issues paragraph and that all makes sense to me. The venue wasn't far away. It's a place with excellent facilities. Instead of this place, they rented out other venues that were far inferior and in fact many times these bookings were not organised correctly so they had no access to them. It wasn't the only part of the course which was run very badly. Her whole class were very disappointed with the course and questioned where their money had gone as they had no facilities as mentioned and classes were very basic.
That leads me to another question. Because of the negative view of the course. My friend was looking at alternatives. With this same college, they had an online version of the course listed on their new website. She and others in her class stated interest in doing this to the course coordinator. The cooridinator stated they need to validate the course before offering it to my friend and her classmates. The details were listed on the webpage, all the details, the price etc. This was earlier this year. The coordinator took till last week to get back to them and tell them the course has been validated. Great news thought my friend. She contacted the other day about details of it and she got some. The price had increased by a large amount. To almost the same level as it would cost to do the course in the college. My friend is pretty sure that no one else is doing this online course except her and a few classmates. The increase in price was just for them.
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13-06-2019, 16:39   #12
 
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Originally Posted by pg633 View Post
Is it possible that this is an innocent mistake?
That there used to be a progression route but the course isn't running or the requirements changed.

I've seen it on websites before that students may progress to somewhere else. The language is very conditional.

Practically the onus is probably on the student to check the progression before committing.
She did research. She contacted the other college to see but they gave a generic answer. Saying they take every applicant on their own merits type of thing.
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13-06-2019, 16:49   #13
 
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No. She just got on with it. The college was less than well run but her main complaint is that the college stated it had progression routes through a college in Ireland. She has found out that this is untrue and if she wishes to do a masters post her degree, she must do it in the UK.
This sounds like a private college with a degree that is not accredited/recognised on the national framework?
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13-06-2019, 17:06   #14
 
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This sounds like a private college with a degree that is not accredited/recognised on the national framework?
It's a private college, the degree is awarded by a UK university.
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13-06-2019, 17:15   #15
 
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It's a private college, the degree is awarded by a UK university.
Yes thats exactly what I thought.

And presumably the UK university accreditation is not recognised by QQI? Which is why there is not progression within Ireland.

This is quite a common situation, I wont go so far as to call it a scam, but its certainly very misleading for people.

You can usually check here if a course is recognised:
https://www.qqi.ie/Articles/Pages/Qu...cognition.aspx

I have also found QQI spectacularly helpful on the phone and via email.

It could be that they were awaiting recognition/thought it was about to happen and were advertising a bit optimistically based on that - particularly as the advertising is now removed.

I would advise you to get your friend to screen grab the original website pages (she is probably using the wayback machine to get at them).

Also - did she have any paper documentation from the college promising progression to a university in Ireland?

It sounds like she did not get what she paid for and on that basis perhaps herself and her classmates should speak to a solicitor and find out if they have a case to bring against the college.
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