More about the complaints process

iStudent Complaints deals with your complaint in a timely, cost-effective, and fair manner and, in particular, in a way that:

  • encourages the parties to work towards a mutually agreed solution
  • maximises the use of consensual measures to resolve the dispute, that is, favouring negotiation and mediation before adjudication, unless negotiation and mediation are not appropriate for resolving the dispute
  • takes the views of the parties into account in the decision on measures to resolve the dispute
  • is consistent with the principles of natural justice
  • is on a without-prejudice basis.

The New Zealand international student should raise the issue with the provider first and give them an opportunity to resolve it. Once the student and the provider have reached the end of the provider’s complaint process and the student is not happy with the outcome, iStudent Complaints may be able to help.

If their complaint is a contractual or financial issue or both, they can lodge their complaints to iStudent Complaints by phone, email, post, or via our online form. Once we receive the complaint, we will acknowledge receipt in writing within 10 working days by email or post. If the complaint is about the quality of education received, we will direct the complaint to NZQA for follow-up.

iStudent Complaints encourages the international student and education provider (the parties) to consider legal advice, however legal representation is not required.

Step 1: Enquiry

iStudent Complaints will:

  • collect additional information from the student
  • arrange language assistance if necessary
  • review the complaint and ensure it is something we can accept under the International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme Rules 2016 
  • contact the provider concerned, advise them of the complaint and, if they have not had the chance, give them the opportunity to resolve the dispute with the international student directly.

Step 2: Negotiation

We will then help the student and the provider negotiate a resolution that they both agree with. In some cases, we may decide that the complaint needs to go straight to adjudication if we do not think that negotiation or mediation will be suitable.

Step 3: Mediation

If the parties cannot come to agreement in the earlier stages, we will arrange a mediation with the parties. In some cases, we may decide that the complaint needs to go straight to adjudication if we do not think that mediation will be suitable.

Step 4: Adjudication

Should a settlement still not be gained from mediation, then the matter will go before an adjudicator who will issue a binding decision.

The adjudicator is usually the same person who mediated, so they will be familiar with the case however parties can ask for someone different to be appointed as the adjudicator following mediation.

After reviewing all the information provided, the adjudicator will prepare a provisional decision. Both parties have the opportunity to comment on the provisional decision. The adjudicator will then issue a final decision.


Case closed

Once a resolution has been agreed or if a decision has been issued, iStudent Complaints will close the case.  

Following an adjudicated decision, if either party makes an application for enforcement the District Court may either uphold or vary the decision.