Student help lines attacked

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Students who call university "hot lines" looking for places cannot always expect good advice or even basic courtesy, according to research published yesterday.

A third of the people answering phones during clearing this year were unhelpful or incompetent, and one in six was not even polite, anonymous calls to 151 universities and colleges showed.

At Riley Advertising, one of the biggest university recruitment agencies, found that two of those called had printed the wrong phone number for their help lines.

Of 22 who offered to send specific details of courses, only one did so. Almost half failed to identify themselves properly when answering the phone.