Problems with IALC language schools are rare, but for those rare cases, we have a formal Complaints Procedure.

Please first try to resolve the problem directly with the school. Most issues can be resolved quickly and satisfactorily through direct communication. If you are still unsatisfied, please follow the procedure below.

Complaints procedure

  1. Member Schools must provide every client with written procedures for the resolution of complaints in accordance with Appendix 1 (Code of Ethics).
  2. A customer or agent of a Member School who is dissatisfied with the service of the Member School should first do everything possible to resolve the problem directly with the Member School. Member Schools must respond promptly to any complaint from a student or agent and seek a satisfactory resolution or compromise. Complainants must contact the Member School immediately the complaint arises, to give the Member School time to resolve the complaint.
  3. If a complaint cannot be resolved directly using the school’s documented complaints procedure, the complainant may inform the Association, provided that the complaint:
    1. Is made in writing to Seek-Mui Sum, Chief Operating Officer at 
    2. Gives full details of the history of the case
    3. Is factual
    4. Includes copies of all relevant documentation
    5. Includes evidence that the Member School was made aware of the complaint when it arose
    6. Is pursued solely through the IALC Complaints Procedure
    The Member School must provide the Association promptly with its position on the case, which must:
    1. Be in writing
    2. Give full details of the history of the case
    3. Be factual
    4. Include copies of all relevant documentation
    5. Include confirmation to pursue the issue solely through the IALC Complaints Procedure
    The Executive Board will consider the evidence and make a recommendation to the complainant and Member School, and encourage them to negotiate a mutually satisfactory resolution or compromise.
  4. If the complainant and the Member School cannot find a resolution or compromise, the case will be referred to the IALC Ombudsman. The IALC Ombudsman will recommend a solution.

The Member School must implement the Ombudsman's solution or face disciplinary sanction up to and including expulsion from IALC. The complainant must accept that the Association has acted in its best judgment and done everything possible to bring about a satisfactory resolution.

IALC Ombudsman: James Swift

The IALC Ombudsman mediates between IALC schools and agencies or students in disputes or complaints that cannot be settled at an earlier stage of the IALC Complaints Procedure.

James Swift is the former owner of the LAL English language schools, which were members of IALC during the 1980s and 1990s. Now retired, James was also a co-director of Frosch Touristik and LAL Sprachreisen, and chaired the German agency association FSDV. He brings to the role of IALC Ombudsman the perspective of both school owner and study travel agent.

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