Unconditional offers and ‘pressure selling’
Universities give unconditional offers to those students who have already met the requirements needed or to encourage students to take certain courses. In other words, it is a guaranteed place on a course.
However, the reality is not necessarily that simple. There could be conditions within the offer that must be followed, such as having to put that university as your first choice, or that once candidates accept the offer, they cannot have an insurance choice or enter clearing.
Smita Jamdar, our partner and head of education, explains ‘pressure selling’ and how this could be applied to unconditional offers:
“‘Pressure selling’ is a phrase recently used by the Office for Students (OfS) regarding unconditional offers. It is a statement that carries weight, as under consumer protection law, it refers to aggressive or misleading sales techniques. In order to regulate this, certain behaviours are banned. For example, falsely claiming an offer is only available for a limited time. Others can also be subject to a wider test of “unfair dealing”. Criminal sanctions and enhanced consumer rights to financial redress can be brought in if these regulations are not followed.
“There have been no specific examples given of ‘pressure selling’ linked with unconditional offers by the OfS, but institutions need to be aware of the financial and reputational consequences that could occur if rules are breached.”