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UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, has been forced to apologise after it sent a misleading email advertisement to students with the subject line “you have been accepted”.

UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, has been forced to apologise after it sent a misleading email advertisement to students with the subject line “you have been accepted”.

The email, which contained an offer for a discounted HP laptop, was sent to students who were waiting anxiously for their A-level results, which were published yesterday.

In its apology, UCAS explained: “The title of the message was 'You have been accepted to receive big discounts on HP laptops!' but because of the way some email programs truncate the title of emails, the message at first glance may have appeared to some as “You have been accepted...”

Students had responded angrily to the misleading email, with one setting up a Facebook group called “Thanks to UCAS, I will never, ever, buy a HP laptop”.

Raheem Kassam, spokesperson for the Student Rights’ website, said that that the blunder “smacks of inappropriate behaviour”.

He also told the London Evening Standard: “To send something like that the day before A-level results is utterly callous. Heads will roll. It was a huge error of judgement.”

UCAS said: “We understand and apologise for the confusion this has caused to some applicants, and we are looking at reviewing our quality filters to avoid this type of situation in future.”

HP has told Computerworld UK that the IT company created and wrote the advert that UCAS distributed.

"It was never HP's intention to cause confusion or offence with this offer. We accept fully that the way in which the offer was written, and its timing, was insensitive.

"HP would like to apologise unreservedly to anyone who has been upset by this communication," the company said.