NZ iStudent Complaints Guide – for International Students

Thursday, May 2, 2019

A blog on all the things you will need to know when making a complaint with us, whether you are the student making the complaint or an education provider looking to understand the iStudent Complaints process.

The student should raise the complaint with the provider first and give them the opportunity to resolve it. That way the provider has a chance to sort out the issue themselves, rather than the student coming directly to iStudent Complaints without first establishing that there is a problem, and their education provider being aware of it.

Once you and your provider have reached the end of the provider's complaint process, if you are not happy with the outcome, iStudent Complaints may be able to help. If you have engaged the provider and are still unhappy about their response to your complaint, you can then consider reaching out to us. The service is fully funded by the Export Education Levy and is completely FREE. iStudent Complaints can work with Language Line if interpreters are required to assist.

iStudent Complaints resolves your contractual and financial disputes against your provider in New Zealand. We will direct any complaints about Code breaches to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

Note that iStudent Complaints may decline to accept a complaint for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The provider has not been given an opportunity to resolve the issue.
  • The dispute is being addressed in another forum (i.e. Disputes Tribunal or a Court).
  • The dispute would be more appropriately dealt with by a court or other authority.
  • The dispute has been previously dealt with by iStudent Complaints.
  • Given the age of the dispute, it is no longer feasible to gather enough evidence or other information for resolution of the dispute.

You can complain to us by using the online complaint form, emailing us or free calling 0800006675. If you are located outside of New Zealand, you can reach us by calling +64 4 918 4975. You can also contact us by direct message on Facebook or Instagram.

Investigation - Once you have made your complaint, 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 discuss what investigation has already taken place.

Pathways – how we can help
Based on your case our resolution practitioners will decide the best pathway that will lead to the fairest and fastest resolution. Sometimes the process will start in the negotiation stage and then progress to the mediation and/or adjudication stages. Other times, your case will be resolved at the negotiation stage, without the need for mediation or adjudication.

1. Negotiation - Formal discussions between people who have different aims or intentions, during which they try to reach an agreement. This can be done over the phone, via email or over video call. We will then help the complainant 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.

2. Mediation – To settle disputes with an intermediary between parties. This is usually done face to face but can also be done via video call. If the parties cannot come to agreement at the earlier negotiation, 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.

3. Adjudication – To make an official decision on the dispute. Should a settlement still not be gained from mediation, then the matter will go before an adjudicator who will issue a binding decision. The binding decision is FINAL and must be upheld by both parties.

Who are iStudent Complaints and what can we help you with?
iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand.
As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers.

Why did we do this blog?
Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.