The brochure offered the following information in relation to the courses provided:
“Easter/Summer 2015 for 5th year students. February/October 2015 for 6th year students. Combined one week and two week Irish & French Leaving certificate Courses. 12 students per course. Accommodation in private houses.
Coláiste Bhreandáin is located about 9 miles west of Dingle, Co. Kerry. The college is under the patronage of St. Brendan and St Thérése of Lisieux. The college itself is in a cul-de-sac and all the families accommodating the students live in that area...
Each course provides 37 hours of tuition. 12 students per course. The classes run as follows:
10.00am to 1.00pm – Irish classes
3.00pm to 6.00pm – French classes
8.00pm to 9.15pm – Oral Practice…”
The following information was also provided in relation to the two week Summer courses.
“Each course provides 90 hours of tuition. The course provides an in-depth coverage of Irish and French culture covering the Leaving Certificate syllabus of the Department of Education… This course is for students who are genuinely interested in Irish and French and will be doing higher level Irish and French in the Leaving Certificate.”
The complainant who was attending the course at the time of making the complaint said they were of the opinion that the course was to be conducted in a college. This was not the case, however, and the course which the complainant attended took place in a man’s sitting room.
The complainant also said that while the advertising had indicated that the course would consist of Irish classes in the morning and French classes in the afternoon, as per the syllabus of the Department of Education, this was not what they had been provided with. The teacher in question veered away from the timetable and while a small amount of tuition had been provided in these subjects, most of the tuition had been centred on the catholic religion.
The complainant concluded that their parents had paid for a course which had not been delivered as advertised.
The advertisers said that their solicitors would be dealing with the matter on their behalf.
The Solicitors subsequently informed the Authority that it would not be possible for their client to address an anonymous complaint.
The Executive provided the advertisers’ solicitors with the background to the complaint. They informed them that the complaint was not an anonymous complaint as they held the complainant’s details. They also pointed out to the Solicitors that it was not the policy of the Authority to identify consumer complainants and that the onus was always on advertisers to be able to demonstrate that their advertising was in conformity with the Code.
The Solicitors said they would revert once they had received instructions from their client. To date, however, the Authority has not received a response to the complaint.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and noted that while the advertisers had been given an opportunity to respond to the complaint they had chosen not to do so.
They reminded them that the onus was on all advertisers to be able to substantiate the claims which they make in their advertising.
In the absence of a response from Coláiste Bhreandáin, the Complaints Committee concluded that the advertisers had not substantiated the claims in their advertising. The Committee considered that the advertising was in breach of Sections 2.7, 2.9, 2.22 and 2.24 of the Code.
The advertising should not be used in its current format again.