Students could be down £240 a year by not knowing rights


Research suggests that students are losing an average of £240 a year because they do not know their rights, or are afraid to complain about charges by utility companies or landlords.

In total this results in a loss of £335m a year for students, according to the Ombudsman Services, the consumer mediator.

Some students forgot to reclaim their deposits, or paid for the same service twice, but they also fell foul of overcharging from energy, property and telecoms providers.

Providers sometimes overcharged students for gas and electricity, amongst other things, and the survey found that only one quarter of students who experienced a problem complained about it.

Reasons given for not submitting a complaint included being embarrassed or afraid of intimidation, or simply because they could not be bothered to do so.

Chief ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith stated that students need to be able to stand up for their rights when it comes to being overcharged or paying for damage they did not cause.

Mr Shand Smith said: “We want to ensure that all students are able to stand up for their rights and speak out when things go wrong, whether that is being asked to pay for a bill from a previous tenant or paying for damage they did not do. Students should not be losing money, simply because they don’t know their rights or are not making a fuss.”

Students are strongly advised to look around for the best deals, and read contracts and tenant agreements carefully, so they know their rights. If there are any issues they should be taken up with the party at fault, in order to resolve the issue and save the students from losing money.