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IELTS Complaints Guide (for test takers)

This IELTS Complaints Guide applies to all test centres in Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific and Japan.

We’re committed to providing the highest standard of customer service for every test taker. We want to hear from you if you feel we haven’t met your needs. All feedback and complaints are taken seriously and help us to improve our products, services, and test takers’ experience. We strive to resolve any area of dissatisfaction or complaints that you have in a fair and timely manner.

Giving feedback

We love getting feedback! If you just want to tell us about your experience and don’t require any further action be taken, you can do so by using this web form.

How can complaints be made?

If you want to submit a formal complaint, the first step is to contact your test centre. In most cases, your test centre will be able to resolve your issue directly. If you are unable to contact your test centre for any reason, you can contact us by following this link.

When to make your complaint?

You should submit your complaint as soon as possible. Please do not wait for your results to be released.

The sooner we can start investigating your case, the easier it will be to gather all the information needed to provide a full response. Where possible, we encourage you to contact us with your complaint on the day of your test or prior to results release.

It’s important to report your concerns as soon as possible because:

  • Investigating early better enables us to collect information that supports your claim. We may need to review footage, interview staff or seek information from other parties.

  • Complaints should be based only on the circumstances of the test and not based on the test results. We may not be able to take any action after test results have been released.

  • The earlier a decision can be made, the more options that may be available to support you. For example, if there was a problem during your Speaking test, the centre may be able to quickly arrange a resit without you needing to re-sit the Writing, Reading and Listening tests.

Please note that whilst we endeavour to complete all investigations and resolve any issues as quickly as possible, your result release may be delayed while we work to resolve your complaint. This may provide an opportunity for you to re-sit part or all of your test, or receive a refund as part of the complaint resolution. Note that where a test is refunded because the complaint is considered justified, the results will be considered invalid and will not be released.

Who can make a complaint?

A complaint can be made by the person who is affected by an issue, or by a person acting on behalf of an affected child under the age of 18.

How do we deal with complaints?

We take a four-tiered approach to complaint handling, as follows:

  1. Same-day resolution: test day staff can receive your complaint, assess it, and resolve it immediately, if possible.

  2. Formal investigation: if test day staff cannot resolve the complaint, they will refer it to an officer, or if you’re submitting your complaint after test day, you can do this directly by using the web form.

  3. Internal review: if you feel that the outcome of the complaint or the way it was handled was not fair, you can request a review.

  4. External review: if you’re still not satisfied with the process or outcome of an internal review, you can consider external review options.

What resolutions are available?

If we have made an error that has affected your performance, we will take steps to redress the situation.

Before your results have been released

If we received your complaint before your results are released, possible remedies include (but are not limited to):

  • an explanation of why the error occurred and the steps taken to prevent it from happening again

  • correcting the error we made

  • offering you to re-sit (part/all) of your test

  • cancel your test results, and offer you a new test

  • offering you an Enquiry on Results by a senior examiner

  • refunding your test fee and cancelling the results release

After your results have been released

If we received your complaint after your results are released, possible remedies include (but are not limited to):

  • an explanation of why the error occurred and the steps taken to prevent it from happening again

  • correcting the error we made

What types of complaints can we deal with?

We welcome you to contact us about any IELTS service offered. This can include (but is not limited to):

  • an issue or inability to register for a test

  • an issue with the way the IELTS test was conducted on test day

  • inappropriate staff and/or examiner conduct

  • an unexplained delay in the release of results

  • a decision for a withheld result or malpractice outcome

  • an IELTS preparation product

How long does it take to resolve a complaint?

We strive to resolve all complaints as quickly as possible whilst ensuring our investigation and response is thorough, fair and consistent.

Your complaint might be resolvable on the same day if it’s reported immediately. For complaints reported after test day or those requiring investigation, we will confirm receipt of your complaint within two business days and provide an outcome within 20 working days.

Where it is not possible to resolve your complaint within 20 working days, we will discuss this with you and provide a revised timeline.

Are there time limits for making a complaint?

Complaints must be made using the prescribed form (available via the link above) within:

  • 12 months of the incident you are complaining about; or

  • 12 months after the date you became aware of the matter related to your complaint.

If there is a valid reason for not raising your complaint within the time frame detailed above and if it is still possible to investigate the complaint fairly and effectively, the IELTS Partners may, in its absolute discretion, still consider your complaint.

All information provided by you in the course of the complaint will be handled in accordance with the IELTS Privacy Policy and will be kept for a period not exceeding seven years. If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your complaint, an escalation point and next steps will be outlined in our response.

Please note: our Complaints Policyexternal icon is subject to the requirements of laws in force at the test venue, including Consumer Protection laws and relevant legal proceedings.

Further questions

If you have any other questions about complaints, feedback or this policy, please contact us here.

Submit your complaint

If you wish to provide feedback or submit a complaint, you can do that through our online form here:

Submit feedback or a complaint