ACM: Dutch education provider NCOI Group informs consumers more clearly going forward and adjusts its operational processes
The information that Dutch education provider NCOI Group provides about the courses it offers must comply with consumer protection rules. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has confronted the company with these findings following complaints and reports filed by consumers concerning cancellation conditions, the provision of information, service, and complaint-handling, among other aspects. Based on discussions with the provider, it appeared that the company had already implemented several improvements.
Edwin van Houten, Director of ACM’s Consumer Department, explains: “If you enroll in a course or program, you, as a customer, enter into a contract with an education provider, spending a vast sum of money and a considerable amount of time. That’s why it’s important that you know in advance what conditions apply and that your questions and complaints will be handled properly. The company will therefore adjust its operational processes. That is a great result for consumers.”
Improvements in the operational processes of NCOI Group
NCOI Group consists of various educational institutions, including NCOI Opleidingen, LOI, and NTI. Some of the adjustments that NCOI Group has made to its operational processes and information are, among other things:
- The provision of information to consumers has been improved, such as the statutory right to cancel agreements at no cost within 14 days after receiving a confirmation of enrolment;
- Since September 1, 2021, the more favorable cancellation conditions (industry-wide ones) apply to all institutions;
- The lead times for complaint-handling have been reduced, and all institutions can now be reached more easily;
- Various costs for additional services have been eliminated, and consumers are better informed about these prior to enrolling. Delays that can be attributed to the NCOI Group, for example those in connection with correcting tests and getting the results, cannot lead to additional costs.
Over the next few months, ACM will continue to monitor whether the improvements actually produce the desired outcome, by requesting progress reports and by keeping an eye on complaints.
Swift approach to consumer problems
ACM has many different instruments at its disposal for solving consumer problems. When selecting the right approach, ACM puts consumers first. In this case, ACM prefers to confront the company with its findings in order to solve the problems quickly. By keeping an eye on reports filed with ACM ConsuWijzer, ACM’s consumer information portal, ACM will continue to check whether the company has implemented the adjustments agreed on.