The OFT has this week announced on its website that it has started an investigation into whether the terms and conditions which some universities may have with their students are unfair or otherwise in breach of consumer law. The OFT has expressed concern about the imposition of certain "academic sanctions" for debts owed by students to their universities for a range of matters not relating to payment of their tuition fees, for example accommodation, leisure facilities and library fines. In determining whether a term is unfair, it is necessary under one set of consumer regulations to consider whether the term creates a "significant imbalance in the rights and obligations of the parties". An unfair term under those regulations also has to be "to the detriment of consumers" and "contrary to the requirements of good faith". We do wonder whether there may be another law at work here, namely the law of unintended consequences. What will be the consequences if universities, as academic communities, are constrained in using self-help measures in appropriate situations to manage their financial responsibilities. Will it be in the interests of students if universities are forced to resort instead to other  credit control measures and debt collection procedures like commercial businesses and landlords?