'Universities can't stop these students going home' - consumer rights expert

28 September 2020, 23:33

LBC's consumer lawyer talks about student rights

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Consumer rights expert sets out what students can do if their university is attempting to force them into lockdown.

Amid ongoing student lockdowns in universities across the country, Tom Swarbrick asked LBC's Consumer Hour host Dean Dunham to walk listeners thought what parents and students can do if they're told they must quarantine by their university.

Dean said there were two things that could be done. Firstly students should consider "can they get a refund or a deduction in their tuition fees."

The consumer rights expert said lots of people had been asking him this question.

He told LBC that there was not a "generic" answer but it "depends on what is your university doing to try and keep this business as usual?"

He said that just because you might be experiencing a change in circumstances, it does not mean you automatically get a refund.

"If there's a change in the quality of the teaching, if there's a change in what they're actually doing," Dean said.

Adding just because lessons have gone online then that doesn't mean you get a refund unless you are getting less teaching or reduced service.

'This was an entirely predictable situation' - Union secretary tells LBC

He told Tom Swarbrick the independent ombudsman, the place you go to complain about universities, was siding with universities at the moment.

However, he said: "Forget about what they say, the Consumer Rights Act is the law behind this, and as I said before it clearly says you have to get what it says on the tin."

"If you've paid for tuition, and you're just not getting what you should," then Dean said his view was that "you are going to be entitled to some kind of deduction.

When Tom asked the consumer expert what rights students had if they were being told they could not leave then Dean's answer was simple.

He said universities were not able to enforce lockdowns of halls of residence, while the local authority can, universities alone do not have the power to put somewhere in lockdown.

Dean urged universities to "do it the proper way" if they think students need to be quarantined.

"Universities can't stop these students going home, they can't do that unless they do it legally."

'If a student wants to go home then they can do so," Dean ended with.

Watch the whole interesting and informative exchange in the video at the top of the page.

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