Southern Institute of Technology Digital Marketing
COMPLAINT NUMBER 17/122
COMPLAINANT Z Garrett
ADVERTISER Southern Institute of Technology
ADVERTISEMENT Southern Institute of Technology
DATE OF MEETING 18 April 2017
OUTCOME No Grounds to Proceed
Advertisement: The Southern Institute of Technology website, https://www.sit.ac.nz/Fees- Enrolments/Zero-Fees advertises its "Zero Fees" scheme and includes details about eligibility and what the scheme covers.
The Chair ruled there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.
Complainant, Z Garrett, said: I am currently in the middle of a complaints process with SIT regarding their misleading communications/advertising and the enrolment of myself in a course without my consent, with the resultant enforcement of cancellation fees.
The SIT website utilises the 'Zero Fees' slogan heavily and I would like to raise a concern regarding this. I made enquiries about a course on offer and made a provisional enrolment in order to do so. Following this I was sent the hard copy letter attached, outlining that enrolment would be completed upon payment of fees and upon acceptance of the offer. I actively declined the offer of enrolment and did not pay said fees.
However, without my knowledge or consent, I was then enrolled and have now been held to account for a $50 admin/cancellation fee for said enrolment.
I would like to warn others of the misleading nature of the 'Zero Fees' advertising, when clearly there are certainly fees and the application of these is enforced outside of the parameters outlined in SIT's correspondence.
The relevant provisions were Code of Ethics - Basic Principle 4, Rule 2.
The Chair noted the Complainant's concern that the advertising for zero fees was misleading, as she was still charged a payment for fees as well as a cancellation charge for withdrawing from the enrolment.
The Chair reviewed the information on the Advertiser's website. She noted a number of references were made to the Zero Fees scheme only applying to the base tuition fee for each course and that direct material costs would still be payable. In the Chair's view, the advertisement was clear about the fees and related course costs.
In the matter of the cancellation fee, the Chair concluded that this was a service issue rather than an advertising issue.
The Chair ruled the advertisement had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers, was not misleading and there was no apparent breach of the Code of Ethics.
Accordingly, the Chair ruled there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.
Chai r' s Ruling: Complaint No Grounds to Proceed