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Should I make a complaint to ASQA?

Your training provider is required to have a formal complaints and appeals process to make sure that complaints are addressed effectively and efficiently.

This process should include the option for you to appeal your complaint—that is, to have someone independent of your training provider look at your complaint—if you are not satisfied
You should only submit a complaint to ASQA if:

  • you have made a complaint directly to a training provider, and
  • you have received a response which does not resolve your issue, and
  • you have requested an independent review of your complaint and your issue is still not resolved.

Make a complaint about a training provider

ASQA can consider complaints and information about:

  • registered training organisations (RTOs) that have not met their obligations, and
  • registered providers of vocational or English language education to overseas students on student visas that have not met their obligations.

Anyone can lodge a complaint with ASQA.

ASQA also receives complaints about organisations whose marketing implies that they are registered but in fact are not.

Some complaints related to training providers will be handled by other organisations. Select the main reason for your complaint from the list below to find out who may be able to consider your complaint.

Make a complaint about marketing, student recruitment or enrolment processes

Training providers, as well as other organisations providing services on their behalf, must provide clear and accurate information to potential students.

This is so that potential students can understand whether a course will meet their needs.

Potential students should be provided with information about:

  • the name and code of the course
  • how long the course will take
  • the location where the course will take place
  • how the course will be delivered (for example online or face to face)
  • if there is work placement required (and if so, information about how students will complete their work placements), and
  • the fees the student will need to pay and/or any loan obligations.

Registered training organisations (RTOs) can only advertise nationally recognised training courses that they have been granted approval to deliver.

Your next steps

If you were provided with information about a course that may have been misleading, you may choose to lodge a complaint with ASQA.

It is important to understand that ASQA does not act as an advocate for individual students and is not responsible for resolving disputes between students and training providers. However, ASQA highly values complaints about training providers and uses information from all complaints as intelligence to inform our regulatory activities.

In some cases, another organisation may be able to provide individual assistance with your complaint.

If you are studying with a government-run training provider (such as a TAFE) and your complaint is about fees and refunds, you can seek help from your state or territory ombudsman:

If you are an overseas student in Australia on a student visa, you can also contact the Overseas Students Ombudsman by calling 1300 362 072. The Overseas Students Ombudsman can investigate complaints about problems that overseas students have with private training providers in Australia.

Make a complaint about course fees, refunds or VET Student Loans—Concerns about the accuracy of information about fees or loan terms

Before you enrol or start your training, your training provider must give you information about:

  • any fees you need to pay
  • refund terms and conditions, and
  • how you will be required to pay any debts under VET FEE-HELP or the VET Student Loans scheme.

Your training provider must also let you know if they make any changes to agreed service terms.

Your next steps

  • If you have concerns about the accuracy of the information you received about fees or loan terms, you may choose to lodge a complaint with ASQA.
  • If you are seeking a refund or a cancellation of your course fees or VET Student Loan, ASQA is not the correct agency to assist. For more information, please select the option that best describes your complaint from the options below:

Make a complaint about course fees, refunds or VET Student Loans—Changes to agreed service terms (fees)

Your training provider must let you know about any changes to agreed service terms. This includes any changes to the fees you need to pay.

If a training provider notifies you of changes to the fees payable, and you do not agree to these changes, this is considered a ‘contractual dispute’. ASQA cannot help you with these disputes, but we can help you find the appropriate agency.

Your next steps

You can choose to:

  • make a complaint to ASQA about a training provider making changes to the agreed service terms.
  • find out more about seeking refunds of course fees.

Make a complaint about course fees, refunds or VET Student Loans—Refunds of course fees

There are a number of consumer protection agencies and other organisations that can help students seek refunds of course fees.

ASQA’s role does not include assisting students to seek refunds of course fees.  

Consumer protection agencies
The consumer protection agency in your state or territory can provide you with information about your rights and options.

Your consumer protection agency may be able to help you negotiate with your training provider.

If you are studying with a training provider that is located in a different state or territory to where you live, you can report your concerns to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

Offices of state, territory and training ombudsmen
If you are studying with a government-run training provider (such as a TAFE) and your complaint is about fees and refunds, you can seek help from your state or territory ombudsman.

If you are a current or former overseas student that has been studying with a private training provider in Australia, you can seek help with fees and refunds from the Overseas Students Ombudsman by calling 1300 362 072. 

Make a complaint about course fees, refunds or VET Student Loans—VET Student Loans

The VET Student Loans Ombudsman handles complaints about VET Student Loans and VET FEE-HELP.

The VET Student Loans Ombudsman can help people who believe they may have a VET FEE-HELP or VET Student Loans debt they should not have, as well as help students who feel they have been treated unfairly by their VET FEE-HELP or VET Student Loan approved provider.

Your next steps

Contact the VET Student Loans Ombudsman for information and advice:

Make a complaint about training, assessment or study support

Training providers are required to have:

  • reasonable support services to help students complete their courses
  • qualified and skilled trainers who have current industry experience
  • suitable and safe training facilities and resources for students (online or physical), and
  • a fair assessment process that ensures students have the right skills and knowledge.

Your next steps

You may choose to make a complaint to ASQA about a training provider’s training, assessment or study support services being inadequate or unfair.

It is important to understand that ASQA does not act as an advocate for individual students and is not responsible for resolving disputes between students and training providers. However, ASQA highly values complaints about training providers and uses information from all complaints as intelligence to inform our regulatory activities.

In some cases, another agency may be able to provide individual assistance with your complaint.

If you are studying with a government run training provider (i.e. TAFE) you can contact your state or territory ombudsman with your complaint about poor training, assessment or study support:

If you are an overseas student in Australia on a student visa, you can also seek help from the Overseas Students Ombudsman:

Make a complaint about receiving a certificate after completing the course

Registered training organisations must issue a student with a certificate or statement of attainment:

  • within 30 calendar days of the student successfully completing all assessment requirements of the course, and
  • if all agreed course fees have been paid.

Training providers are not permitted to issue a certificate or statement of attainment to a student that has not met all course requirements.

Your next steps

If your complaint relates to certification, you may wish to lodge it with ASQA.

It is important to understand that ASQA does not act as an advocate for individual students and is not responsible for resolving disputes between students and training providers. However, ASQA highly values complaints about training providers and uses information from all complaints as intelligence to inform our regulatory activities.

In some cases, another agency may be able to provide individual assistance with your complaint:

If you are studying with a government run training provider (i.e. TAFE) you can contact your state or territory ombudsman with your complaint about poor training, assessment or study support:

If you are an overseas student in Australia on a student visa, you can also seek help from the Overseas Students Ombudsman:

Make a complaint about a training provider’s general business operations—bullying or discrimination

If you feel that you have been treated unfairly because of your sex, disability, race or age, you can lodge a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission:

  • Phone: 1300 656 419 or (02) 9284 9888
  • Email: infoservice [at] humanrights.gov.au

If you are an employee of a training provider and are experiencing bullying, you can contact the Fair Work Commission:

Your next steps

While ASQA is not the appropriate agency for resolving bullying or discrimination issues, you may still choose to report this information to ASQA.

These reports give us a better picture about how a provider conducts its business and will inform the provider’s risk profile.

Make a complaint about a training provider’s general business operations—Suspected dishonest conduct or behaviour

If you suspect a training provider may be engaging in dishonest conduct or behaviour, the appropriate agency to refer your issue to may be:

For criminal activity such as theft or assault, please contact the police in your state or territory.

For fraud against the visa system in relation to an overseas student please contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection:

For fraud against state funding bodies please contact the relevant state or territory training authority.

State/territory Relevant state funding bodies
ACT

ACT Government supported training pathways include the Australian Apprenticeships (User Choice) program, the Skilled Capital training initiative and government subsidised training delivered by the public provider, Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT).

NSW

In New South Wales, funded training is provided through the Smart and Skilled program.

The Smart and Skilled website includes information on consumer protection for students.

NT

In the Northern Territory, endorsed providers can apply for funding for students through the ‘Northern Territory Training Entitlement’, which is administered through Workforce NT (part of the Department of Business).

QLD

The Queensland Department of Education and Training oversees a range of programs that administer funded training.

SA

In South Australia, the WorkReady program (part of the Department of State Development) administers subsidised training activity.

  • For more information, refer to the WorkReady website or contact the Skills and Employment Infoline on 1800 506 266.
TAS

The Skills Tasmania website includes information about funding programs for students in Tasmania.

  • Contact Skills Tasmania by email complaints [at] skills.tas.gov.au or phone (03) 616 56075 or (free call) 1800 655 846
VIC

In Victoria, VET funding contracts are administered by the Victorian Department of Education and Training, Higher Education Skills Group:

WA

Future Skills WA, part of the Department of Training and Workforce Development, administers subsidised training places in Western Australia.

Your next steps

While ASQA is not the appropriate agency for issues relating to criminal behaviour, fraud against funding bodies, or immigration reports, you may still choose to report this information to ASQA.

These reports give us a better picture about how a provider conducts its business and will inform the provider’s risk profile.

Make a complaint about a training provider’s general business operations—Too many students for the available staff or resources

Each training provider is required to give students access to suitable resources, facilities and trainers that will help students gain the skills and knowledge they need.

If there are too many students in your class or course, you may be able to submit a complaint to ASQA.

You might find that:

  • classrooms are overcrowded and/or unsafe
  • you do not get a chance to use necessary resources, or
  • your trainer cannot engage with students due to the size of the class.

Your next steps

You can:

  • find out more about contacting the workplace health and safety agency in your state or territory about the safety of a training provider’s facilities
  • make a complaint to ASQA about a training provider that has too many students for the available staff or resources.

Make a complaint about a training provider’s general business operations—Premises are not safe or clean

Each training provider must provide safe facilities for its students and staff. This is required by Workplace Health and Safety legislation that applies to every business in Australia.

If you feel the premises of your training provider are not safe, you may wish to contact Workplace Health and Safety agency in your state or territory:

Your next steps

While ASQA is not the most appropriate agency to assist with concerns about the safety of a business’s premises, you may still choose to report this information to ASQA.

These reports give us a better picture about how a provider conducts its business and will inform the provider’s risk profile.

Make a complaint about a training provider’s general business operations—Staff dispute about pay or entitlements

ASQA cannot resolve complaints relating to pay or entitlements—to resolve these complaints, please contact the appropriate agency:

Your next steps

While ASQA is not the appropriate agency to assist with staff disputes about pay or entitlements, you may still choose to report this information to ASQA.

These reports give us a better picture about how a provider conducts its business and will inform the provider’s risk profile. For instance, information that a provider is not generally honouring its obligations to its staff may be indicative of more general issues.

Make a complaint about a training provider’s general business operations—concerns about management practices

If you are a current or former employee of a training provider, you can make a complaint to ASQA if you believe the training provider has breached its obligations under the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 or other relevant legislation. This might include:

  • requiring or encouraging employees to pass students who have not demonstrated all competency requirements
  • inadequate resources to train and assess students, or
  • not providing students with the services they have agreed to.

Your next steps

You can make a complaint to ASQA about a training provider that is requiring employees to pass students who have not demonstrated all competency requirements, not providing sufficient resources or not providing students with agreed services

Make a complaint about an organisation falsely claiming to be an RTO and/or issuing certificates

VET qualifications and statements of attainment can only be issued by registered training organisations.

RTOs can only issue VET qualifications or statements of attainment for training products on their scope of registration.

Your next steps

You can make a complaint to ASQA about an organisation that is not an RTO issuing VET qualifications and/or statements of attainment, or about an RTO issuing VET qualifications or statements of attainment for training products that are not on their scope of registration.

What to expect when you submit a complaint to ASQA about a training provider

Your selection indicates that it may be appropriate for you to submit a complaint to ASQA.

This page explains what will happen when you submit a complaint.

How we will contact you

If you lodge a complaint, ASQA will formally respond to you:

  • acknowledging receipt of the complaint (within five working days)
  • advising whether or not any action will be taken, and
  • if so, notifying of the action taken and the outcome of that action.

ASQA may contact you to seek further information.

We aim to complete our review of all complaints within four months of submission; however, in cases where a complaint triggers a compliance or audit or investigation, this may take longer.

If we recommend you contact another organisation

If we are not the most appropriate organisation to deal with your complaint, we will recommend that you contact the appropriate organisation.

If we accept your complaint

If your complaint is about an issue that ASQA regulates, we will decide what action to take.

ASQA takes a risk-based approach to complaints about training providers and this means the action we take will vary depending on the seriousness and potential impact of the complaint.

In almost all cases, we will notify the training provider of the complaint. The training provider will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations.

In some cases, ASQA may decide not to take action.

Action may include:

  • Writing to the provider to remind them of their obligations.
  • Looking at a provider’s practices to see if they are meeting their obligations. If they are not, we may:
    • require the provider to correct its practices to protect future students
    • require the provider to take action in relation to past or current students to rectify the impact non-compliant practices may have caused
    • suspend, cancel or place conditions on that training provider's registration.

What we cannot do:

  • ASQA cannot act as a student advocate.
  • Act to resolve a dispute with your training provider—ASQA will use the information from complaints to inform ongoing monitoring of training providers, but may decide to take no immediate action in relation to your complaint.

Your next steps

You can submit a complaint, or if you do not want to submit a complaint, you can choose to report information to ASQA.

If you are ready to lodge a complaint with ASQA

To lodge a complaint you will need access to our asqanet system (https://asqanet.asqa.gov.au) and a user login.

Go to asqanet

If you don't already have an asqanet login, select the button 'Register to use asqanet'.

Once signed in, you will need to provide further details about your complaint and supporting evidence.

For students—Before submitting a complaint

Please confirm: I have sought to resolve my complaint via the training provider’s complaints process and have records.

  • Go to asqanet and start your complaint

Inform ASQA of an issue with a training provider

If you would like to tell ASQA something about a provider, you can report the issue to us by completing the form below, instead of making a complaint.

ASQA encourages people to report their concerns about providers. These reports give us a better picture about how a provider conducts its business. The information we receive can inform regulatory activity (such as audits).

Completing a report is a simple, one-step process.

Reports are not dealt with in the same way as complaints. ASQA reviews all reports received and adds relevant information to the provider’s profile. In most cases, you will not be contacted by ASQA about the information you provide.

ASQA may share the report with other government agencies where authorised by legislation to do so.

Which training provider do you wish to report?

My details

Declaration
I declare that that the information provided by me is, to the best of my knowledge, true and correct. I understand that ASQA may use the information in performing regulatory functions and may share it with other government agencies where legislation allows.

I understand that this is not an official complaint, and is provided for information purposes only.

I understand that ASQA will not advise me of how the information will be used or the outcome of any regulatory activity it contributes to.