Lobby Against Circuit Laundry
Anonymous submitted on
Friday 18th February 2022
Let's face it, Circuit Laundry is terrible.
The negotiation of better prices than at other unis, whilst good, does not excuse the behaviour of the company or the numerous faults with the machines. You cannot seek a refund without incurring a £3 'admin fee'; this includes refunds for both faulty washers/dryers and for transferring your balance back to yourself should there be an excess, which there almost always will be at the end of the year given that you can only top-up your account in £5 increments- you also cannot get your remaining balance back at all if it is less than £5, which does amount to theft.
Circuit Laundry is also part of a wider monopoly on student laundry services, with roughly 90% of the student halls market being controlled by either themselves or other subsidiaries of their parent company (JLA). This encourages poor service. They were forced in 2018 to sell off 'Washstation' as it gave them too much market dominance, but the problems are unresolved and their monopoly continues.
The university should do the following:
- Consider alternative providers at the nearest opportunity, i.e. when the contract next comes up for renewal, or a break clause is met
- Raise concerns directly with Circuit Laundry and lobby them to improve their service
- Release the contract details to all students, including the commission rates for the university (FOI request from SUSU if necessary)
- Establish an open forum for complaints to gather evidence
Thank you for reading.
Here, you can view the complete set of official responses from the sabbatical officers regarding this submission.
Students' Union replied on
Friday 18th Mar 2022 10:27am
Hi there. Thanks again for your great submission. As promised, I have held a productive meeting with a number of colleagues from the Residences Team, which has left me feeling positive and reassured that your concerns can be resolved. Firstly, you mentioned an admin fee when using Circuit Laundry. It is worth noting that the fee is not applicable when a machine encounters a fault or there is a quality complaint; the charge is made when a student wishes to transfer their balance out of the Circuit app. I agree that this isn't an ideal situation, but I understand it is attributable to the charges incurred by the PayPal transaction.
You will also be interested to know that the University is due to go out to tender for laundry supply at Halls soon. This means that, if Circuit wishes to continue working with us, it will be required to undergo the same rigorous tender process as other firms, who are welcome to bid for the contract. After meeting with colleagues, I have been reassured that, when drawing up the specification for the tender, the University will be looking for an offer on laundry which puts students at its heart. This might include factors such as: keeping the cost of laundry low, asking that admin fees are not charged, or contactless debit payments. I hope that students will be involved in this tender process.
Students' Union replied on
Tuesday 8th Mar 2022 8:42pm
Thanks so much for this submission - you make an excellent case, and I have raised this as a key priority in my discussions with the University's Residences team. I'll update you in due course.
Forwarded to Union President
Friday 25th Feb 2022 9:04am
Let's keep this space positive and respectful! Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions, but please remember to keep the conversation friendly and avoid any offensive comments.