The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has passed an order imposing a penalty of Rs 5 million on the University of Management and Technology (UMT) for making false claims regarding its ranking and accreditation in violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010.
On receipt of information, CCP conducted an inquiry to ascertain whether the university has violated the Competition Law.
The inquiry concluded that UMT has made multiple deceptive claims in its prospectus and other promotional material regarding its ranking and accreditation just to make profits by luring new students into taking admission in the university.
Some of the false claims were:
- Top 10 in South Asia and best accredited in Pakistan
- UMT School of Business and Economics (SBE) is the only business school in Pakistan that has SAQS Accreditation by the Association of Management Development Institutions in South Asia (AMDISA),
- UMT is also at the top as per HEC ranking in the General Category (medium sized) of private sector institutions in Punjab in a row since last year
- Ranked as 2nd best by HEC* and Top 10 in South Asia
- …the best ranked and best accredited School of Business and Economics (SBE) at the University of Management and Technology.
These misleading and deceptive claims jeopardized the future of thousands of students and caused financial losses to their parents who made important decisions about their children’s education.
The misleading claims could also harm the business interests of other undertakings.
On the inquiry’s recommendations, a Show Cause Notice was issued to the university. During the hearings, the UMT could not substantiate these claims and tendered an unconditional apology. It also made a commitment to discontinue the practice of making deceptive claims.
CCP’s Prosecutor who assisted the bench referred to a similar example from the United States of America where a federal judge finalized the $25 million settlement between President Trump and students of his now-shuttered Trump University for making false claims regarding its status.
In view of the UMT’s commitment to compliance and unconditional apology, the bench imposed a penalty of Rs 5 million and directed it to refrain from indulging in any form of deceptive marketing practices in the future.
CCP is mandated under the Competition Act to ensure free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity, to ensure economic efficiency and to protect consumers from anti-competitive practices indulging deceptive marketing.