About the case

A family enrolled their children for a short course starting in February 2020. Due to COVID-19 the family decided not to travel to NZ as intended in January and requested a refund of their tuition. The provider declined the request for refund, responding that the family did not provide enough notice for withdrawal.

How we helped

The iStudent Complaints facilitator worked with the parties and the school decided to offer an extended enrollment period to allow the children to attend the course in 2022. The family declined this offer and the case proceeded to mediation.

The mediator, with the assistance of an interpreter, assisted the parties in sharing perspectives which allowed the provider to explain the contract and elaborate on the proposal. The family shared that due to the age of the children in 2022 the programme would no longer be suitable and only a refund would be accepted. No agreement was reached, and the parties proceeded to adjudication.

The family submitted that force majeure prevented the parties from fulfilling the contract. The provider submitted that their enrollment contract, which the student’s family signed, included a clause agreeing that no party would be held liable in a force majeure situation.


The adjudicator issued a determination. The complaint was not upheld.