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This glossary provides an explanation of terms relevant to consumer protection law and how it relates to higher education institutions. Please feel free to contact us if you would like further terms to be added to this page.

Competition and Markets Authority
A non-ministerial department which aims to promote competition for the benefit of consumers, both within and outside the UK, in order to make markets work well for consumers, businesses and the economy.

Consumer Protection Law
Consumer protection is a group of laws and organisations designed to ensure the rights of consumers as well as fair trade, competition and accurate information in the marketplace. The laws are designed to prevent businesses that engage in fraud or specified unfair practices from gaining an advantage over competitors. They may also provide additional protection for those most vulnerable in society. Consumer protection laws are a form of government regulation, which aim to protect the rights of consumers.

Material Information
This is the information that the average consumer needs, according to the context, to take an informed transactional decision. With respect to students, this includes the length of the course, which compulsory and optional modules are offered, and so on. It should also include other, non-course-related information that students consider important and is likely to impact on their decision making, such as in respect of accommodation options and the availability of funding and support.

Mis-leading Omissions
If prospective students are not supplied with the necessary material information that they need at the appropriate times, including before they make a decision about which HE providers and courses to apply to, this may constitute a 'mis-leading omission'.

Pre-Contract Information
This any information a consumer is provided with prior to entering into a contract with the supplier which is likely to have influenced their decision. Documents such as the hard copy and electronic prospectus are part of pre-contract information, but so is any other communication with a potential applicant, e.g. in a conversation or email.