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The Student Contract: “CMA” Implications of Consumer Statutory Guarantees and Remedies

  • United Kingdom
  • Education - Briefings

02-05-2017

Welcome to the fourth in our series of fortnightly Student Contract: ''CMA'' Implications ebriefs for universities, colleges and private providers. These ebriefs highlight aspects of the application of consumer law to the student contract which pose challenges for the tertiary education sector.

This time we focus on the implications of the statutory guarantees and remedies provided to students by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“CRA”).

Pursuant to the CRA, students entering into contracts from 1 October 2015 are given certain “statutory guarantees” about how they can expect an institution to provide the services promised under the student contract. Where these standards are not met, a student will have defined “statutory remedies” available to them. This means that it has become even more important for institutions to clearly define the “services” which they offer to students so that there is certainty as to what is being provided as part of those services and what, therefore, is excluded.

The “statutory guarantees” mean that services must be provided:

• with reasonable care and skill;

• within a reasonable time (if no time is actually specified in the contract); and

• at a reasonable price (if no price is agreed at the outset).

For the first time, defined “statutory remedies” are available to students where the statutory guarantees are not complied with. For services, these include repeat performance in the first instance or a price reduction where re-performance is not possible or was not carried out properly. Re-performance of the particular service complained about may not always be practicable in the student contract context and institutions would therefore need to consider a possible price reduction. It is worth noting that a price reduction can be anything up to a full refund.

When dealing with student complaints about service delivery or performance under the contract, it is important to bear in mind that institutions must not mislead students about their legal rights (particularly their consumer law remedies), as to do so could be a criminal offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. How an institution considers and determines potential redress to be offered to disgruntled students should therefore be carefully considered, documented and applied consistently in case the institution finds itself challenged on this point.

Eversheds Sutherland is currently running a series of free seminars at which we invite you to join us. Further information can be found at https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/training/showevent.page?Events=en/EDU_CMA_2017

Next time - The Student Contract: “CMA” Implications on Incorporation

Eversheds Sutherland has a wealth of experience advising on student contract / “CMA”-related issues in the HE and FE sectors. If you would like to discuss how Eversheds Sutherland may assist you in managing any of the issues addressed above (or any other student contract/consumer related issues) please contact Siân Jones-Davies or Eve England.

 

For more information contact

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