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ASA rules against Oxbridge Essays

Date: January 9 - 2019

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned online advertising by Oxbridge Essays that misleadingly implies students can submit purchased essays as their own. The ASA also found a claim that most of the essay writers have studied or taught at either Oxford or Cambridge to be misleading.

Oxbridge Essays said that its essays were intended to be used as model answers. However, the ASA considers the overall impression given by the home page was that consumers would be able to submit the purchased essays as their own, particularly because of claims such as:

  • “100% guaranteed plagiarism-free”
  • “We make sure you get the grade you want”
  • “Download your work … sign in to download your custom essay or dissertation”.

On the second part of the complaint, the ASA was not satisfied by Oxbridge Essays' evidence of its writers mainly coming from Oxford or Cambridge, and has ruled that the company cannot use this statement in future advertising.

This is the third case against essay companies that the ASA has upheld. In March 2018, it upheld complaints brought by QAA against UK Essays, and in November, it upheld complaints against Thoughtbridge Consulting, trading as Essay Writing Service UK.

Responding to today's case, QAA's Head of Policy and Public Affairs Gareth Crossman said:

'By stressing that their essays are ‘plagiarism free’, companies like Oxbridge Essays are inviting students to submit work as their own, as unique essays are unlikely to be picked up by plagiarism software.

'It makes the disclaimers they publish meaningless. The reality is that no student would pay hundreds of pounds for the kind of ‘model answer’ that is freely available from their institution.

'The ASA rightly upheld the complaint against Oxbridge Essays, which promoted links with Oxford and Cambridge to mislead students into thinking this legitimises its products or assures higher quality.

'Oxbridge Essays is only one of hundreds of online essay companies encouraging students to cheat. QAA is campaigning to put companies that profit from cheating out of business.'

QAA is leading the sector’s response against essay mills. Guidance to universities and colleges on how to address contract cheating is available on the QAA website.

Contracting to Cheat in Higher Education - How to Address Contract Cheating, the Use of Third-Party Services and Essay Mills

Publication Date: 09 Oct 2017