Saturday 22 July 2017

Trinity College found in breach of advertising guidelines over online course listing on website

Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College Dublin
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

DUBLIN'S Trinity College has been found to be in breach of advertising guidelines over a course listing on its own website.

Details on the Trinity College Website for a Masters in Cognitive Psychotherapy provided details of the fees for Years one and two of the course.

“Fees for the Masters course in Year 1 are €9,779 (€20,507 for non EU students) and in Year 2 €8, 471", the details of the course outlined.

The complainant applied for the Masters course and understood that the fees would be €9,779 as advertised.

However when the complainant received an invoice for his fees he discovered that a Sports Centre Charge of €120, USI Levy of €8 and a Commencement/Graduation charge of €135 were added.

This brought the total to €10,042.

The University claimed in its response to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) that details on their website showed tuition fees only.

Reference to the additional charges were contained in the course handbook available on the same webpage, it said.

They said that the content displayed on their website was correct in that the tuition fees for the 2016/17 academic year were as displayed, €9,779.

They considered that the information was factually correct and there was no intention to exploit prospective students.

However the ASAI upheld the complaint, considering that the advertising was in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.22 and 4.23 of the Code.

The Committee noted that the advertiser had referred to the charges for the course in their response as ‘tuition’, however the advertisement had used the term ‘fees’ which could be understood to encompass all fees related to the course.

The Committee reminded the advertiser that if a price is included in an advertisement, it must include all inescapable charges.

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