Complaints and Appeals
Wine Enthusiast (WE) aims to make its policies on complaints and appeals as transparent and user-friendly as possible. Please find the process summary below:
WE aim to provide a consistently excellent level of service to students. While every care is taken to ensure high quality standards, there may be occasions where we fall short. Where this is the case, we would like the opportunity to improve our service by listening and responding, taking whatever action is needed to put mistakes right and to prevent them from happening again.
Policy aim and purpose
This policy provides a clear and structured process which highlights who can make a complaint (the complainant), how they can make a complaint and what WE will do to seek a resolution to the complainant’s satisfaction. Wine Enthusiast (WE) aims to make its policies on complaints and appeals as transparent and user-friendly as possible.
- Making a complaint is as easy as possible
- An appropriate response is provided e.g. an explanation, apology or action taken
- Complaints are properly documented and reviewed to improve service
Definition of a complaint
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about the standard of service, actions or lack of action by WE, a member of its staff or a representative, affecting a stakeholder or group of stakeholders, especially WE students/candidates.
Dissatisfaction may be associated with the service provided or with the way an individual perceives to have been treated by a WE member of staff or representative, which may or may not be justified or associated with professional misconduct.
Who can make a complaint?
Complaints can be made by an individual stakeholder or group of stakeholders who have been adversely affected by or have witnessed, the cause of dissatisfaction, or someone acting on behalf of the affected stakeholder (referred to as third parties).
Third parties submitting a complaint on behalf of the complainant may only do so with written permission to represent the complainant and their interests. This must be presented to and accepted by WE.
Students/candidates wishing to raise dissatisfaction about services provided by WE as an Approved Program Provider must address their concern directly with WE. Only when WE’s full complaints procedure has been followed and the complainant continues to remain dissatisfied with the outcome should they contact WSET Awards.
Receiving a complaint from an unidentified source potentially limits WE’s power to effectively investigate that complaint. However, if an anonymous complaint is received, WE will consider if there is enough information in the complaint to enable further investigation. The decision on whether to pursue the complaint rests with the Head of Quality and Compliance, Hope Platel (firstname.lastname@example.org; (914) 345-9463 ext. 4221)
How to Make a Complaint
The informal approach aims to resolve the concern quickly, keeps matters low key and enables mediation between the complainant and the individual to whom the complaint has been directed.
Therefore the complainant should contact the Course Educator for an informal discussion, in response to which we will aim to resolve the concern by providing an explanation, apology or another desirable outcome.
If a concern cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, the formal complaints procedure should be followed. It might be necessary to provide further information to ensure the complaint is fully understood, thoroughly investigated and allow for a comprehensive response to be provided.
Formal complaints are submitted in writing and marked for the attention of the Head of Quality and Compliance, who will assign the Nominate Educator (Marshall Tilden at email@example.com or (914) 345-9463) as responsible for the initial investigation. When submitting a complaint, the complainant must provide the following:
- Name, address and contact information
- Full details of the complaint i.e. the cause of dissatisfaction with operations, actions or behavior
- All supporting information i.e. relevant documentation, dates, locations, any witnesses
- Details of any previous attempts to resolve the identified dissatisfaction
- What action or response they seek to resolve the dissatisfaction.
A response, including explanation and resolution, will be provided within 20 working days of the case being assigned (i.e. the date of the initial acknowledgement). However, where the complainant wishes his/her name to be withheld from an investigation, WE will not be able to provide information on the outcome other than to inform the complainant that the investigation has been completed. In some cases (such as especially complex or serious complaints), the investigation may take longer and in such instances, the complainant will be notified of the revised timescale. The outcome will be recorded and incorporated into WE’s Continual Improvement Plan.
Following Stage 1, if a complaint remains unresolved, the complainant should notify the Director of Human Resources (Karen Ruckert at firstname.lastname@example.org or (914) 345-9463 ext. 4225) in writing that he/she wishes to pursue the complaint to the next stage. Acknowledgement of further investigation will be provided to the complainant in writing within 3 working days, and the complainant will be notified of the individual responsible for the investigation. WE will log the further complaint.
The member of the Awards Management Team will communicate directly with the complainant and provide an explanation and resolution. This will be communicated to the complainant within 30 working days of the Stage 2 acknowledgement email.
If the complainant continues to remain dissatisfied with the response provided by the Awards Management Team, the next step will be to submit an appeal, in line with the Policy on Appeals against WE Decisions. All appeals must be received within 10 working days of receipt of the complaint outcome from the Awards Management Team.
Formal appeals are submitted in writing and marked for the attention of the WE’s Head of Quality and Compliance (Hope Platel at email@example.com or (914) 345-9463). The appeal must be submitted within 10 working days of the cause of dissatisfaction and the complainant must provide the following:
- Name, address and contact information
- Full details of the appeal i.e. the decision that has caused dissatisfaction
- All supporting information i.e. WE personnel involved, relevant documentation, dates, locations, any witnesses
- Details of any previous attempts to resolve the identified dissatisfaction
- What action or response they seek to resolve the dissatisfaction.
WE will log the appeal and acknowledge it in writing within 3 working days of receipt.
The appellant will receive a written response within 20 working days of the acknowledgement of the appeal, providing an explanation and resolution. The duration of further investigation will depend on the nature and severity of the complaint and the complexity of the response required. In some cases the investigation may take longer and in such instances, the appellant will be notified of the revised timescale. The outcome will be recorded and incorporated into WE’s Continual Improvement Plan.
Stage 2 Further Appeal
Any appellant unsatisfied with the findings of their appeal may request that this be reviewed. Requests for review must be put in writing to the Head of Quality and Compliance (Hope Platel at firstname.lastname@example.org or (914) 345-9463). This shall be done no more than 10 working days following notification of the appeal findings. Requests received outside of this timeframe will not be reviewed. The Director will log the second appeal and will acknowledge receipt within 3 working days. The second appeal will be passed to WE’s Chief Brand Officer/Co-Founder, Sybil Strum, for review.
Ms. Strum will contact the appellant in writing within 40 working days of the acknowledgement of the appeal, providing an explanation and resolution. The outcome will be recorded and incorporated into WE’s Awards’ Continual Improvement Plan.
Should the appellant be dissatisfied with the proposed resolution, he or she may contact WSET Awards at email@example.com
Conflict of Interest
A Conflict of Interest exists where an individual has interests or loyalties that could adversely influence their judgement, objectivity or loyalty to WE when conducting activities associated with WSET qualifications. As a third party provider of WSET qualifications, WE is required to monitor and manage actual, potential and perceived conflicts of interest. This is essential to safeguard the integrity of WSET qualifications and promote confidence in WE processes. This policy applies to all WE staff and to any individual acting on behalf of WE.
Examples of Conflicts of Interest include but are not limited to:
- The undertaking of any assessment of candidates by an individual who has a personal interest in the result of the assessment for any or all individuals concerned;
- The undertaking of any moderation of assessment of candidates by an individual who has a personal interest in the result of the assessment for any or all individuals concerned;
- The tutoring of candidates by an individual involved in the assessment process;
- The undertaking of a WSET qualification by any individual employed by WE;
- The proctoring of a WSET assessment by any individual involved in the delivery of training leading to the assessment;
- The coaching of candidates by any individual involved in the assessment of candidate scripts or the authoring of examination questions;
- The employment by an APP of individuals engaged in the delivery of taught programs or in the role of Internal Assessor in another APP;
- The investigation of a non-compliance incident by someone who is unable to act impartially.
Identification of Conflicts of Interest
Any individual involved in the delivery of WSET qualifications who becomes aware of a Conflict of Interest must inform the Head of Quality and Compliance (HOQC) in writing immediately. WE has procedures in place to manage specific Conflicts of Interest, which will be managed on a case-by-case basis.
All conflicts of interest will be reviewed by the HOQC who has responsibility for the management of Conflicts of Interest relating to WE. The HOQC will consult with the Director to agree how to mitigate any Conflict of Interest. The Director will decide when and how Conflicts of Interest and the steps taken to mitigate them should be escalated within WE or to WSET Awards.
Where a Conflict of Interest is identified by WE rather than the individual(s) concerned, the HOQC will take steps to mitigate the effect of the Conflict of Interest and may apply sanctions to said individual(s) in accordance with the Malpractice and Maladministration Policy.
Privacy and Data Protection
- What information of yours is collected by us;
- How we use the information we collect;
- Your rights with respect to the information we collect;
- How we protect children;
- How you can opt-out of receiving communications from us;
- The security of your information; and
This policy may be updated from time to time without prior notice, so please check back periodically. If you continue to use our Services after such changes have been made, you hereby provide your consent to the changes.
1. Collection of Information
Information You Provide to Us
When you contact us by phone, email, via our website or any other way, you may provide personal information, such as your first and last name; email address; phone number; postal address; information contained in correspondence; and payment information. For candidates of WSET Qualifications, we will also collect your birth date which will be shared with the WSET for identification purposes. You may also provide marketing and communications data, including your preferences for receiving mailings from us. We do not intend to collect additional personal information from you, however, we ask you to keep in mind that if you voluntarily disclose personal information online — for example, in a forum made available via social media — that information can be viewed and used by others. We are not responsible for unsolicited messages you receive from other users. We encourage you to exercise caution when making decisions about what information you disclose in such public areas.
Information We Collect Automatically:
Certain non-personally identifiable information about our visitors is collected by the standard operation of our Internet servers and through the use of “cookies.” Cookies are small amounts of data that are sent to your browser from a web server and stored on your computer’s hard drive for the purpose of facilitating and enhancing your communication and interaction with our Services. To support our Services we or our service providers may use one or more of the following cookies for the purposes set forth below. You have the option of disabling cookies by accessing the tools provided to you in your Internet options. However, please note that you may not have full access to our Services if you change your cookie settings to disable them.
Analytics and Performance Cookies: These cookies are used to collect information about traffic to our Services and how users use our Services. The information gathered includes the number of visitors to our Services, the websites that referred them to our Services, the pages that they visited on our Services, the time of day they visited our Services, whether they have visited our Services before, and other similar information. This information is aggregated, and does not identify any individual users. We use this information to help us improve how our Services work and to gather demographic information. We use Google Analytics for this purpose. Google Analytics uses its own cookies. You can find out more about Google Analytics cookies here: https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/analyticsjs/cookie-usage. You can find out more about how Google protects your data here: https://policies.google.com/privacy. You can prevent the use of Google Analytics relating to our Services by downloading and installing the browser plugin available through this link: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout.
Essential Cookies: These cookies are essential to provide you with services available through our Services and to enable you to use some of its features. For example, they allow you to log in to secure areas of our Services and help the content you request load quickly. Without these cookies, the functionality that you have requested cannot be provided, and we only use these cookies to provide you with this functionality.
Functionality Cookies: These cookies allow our Services to remember the choices you make when using our Services, such as remembering your login details. These cookies are used to provide you with a more personal experience and to avoid you having to re-enter your preferences upon each visit to our Services.
Social Media Cookies: These cookies are used when you share information using a social media sharing button on our Services, and when you engage with our content through a social media networking website such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
2. Use of Information We Obtain
We may use the information we obtain about you to:
- Provide our Services, including but not limited to the fulfillment of orders;
- Improve the content of our Services and enhance your experience;
- Communicate with you about Services, and respond to your inquiries;
- Send correspondence (including, for example email on behalf of ourselves and/or reputable organizations whose products or services are complementary to our Services);
- Personalize your use and interaction with our Services;
- Analyze trends and statistics;
- Operate, evaluate, develop, manage and improve our business;
- Maintain and enhance the safety and security of our Services and prevent misuse;
- Comply with and enforce applicable legal requirements, relevant industry standards and policies; and
- Otherwise manage and enhance our Services.
2a. For Candidates of WSET Qualifications
We use your personal information for a number of different reasons which we set out below.
- To register you as a candidate with WSET Awards and enable you to sit examinations for WSET qualifications.
- To administer and conduct your examination, including making arrangements for reasonable adjustments and/or special considerations.
- To issue your examination results and qualification certificate as appropriate.
- To provide you with post-results services such as enquiries against results and appeals and solicit feedback from you on WSET qualifications.
- To send you information regarding the course or event for which you are registered (or which you have registered interest in).
- To manage any account(s) for providing our online services including but not restricted to our Online Classroom and Global Campus where you have registered with us so that:
- You can access relevant course materials;
- To verify your identity.
- To investigate any potential maladministration, malpractice or other non-compliance in connection with the delivery of WSET qualifications
3. Disclosure of Information We Obtain
We also may disclose personal information about you (1) if we are required to do so by law or legal process (such as a court order or subpoena); (2) in response to requests by government agencies, such as law enforcement authorities; (3) to establish, exercise or defend our legal rights; (4) when we believe disclosure is necessary or appropriate to prevent physical or other harm or financial loss; (5) in connection with an investigation of suspected or actual illegal activity; or (6) otherwise with your consent.
We reserve the right to share or transfer any personal information we have about you in connection with a prospective or actual sale, merger, transfer or other reorganization of all or parts of our business (including in the event of a divestiture, restructuring, reorganization, dissolution or liquidation).
4. Your Rights With Respect to the Personal Information We Have Collected
You have the right to:
- Know what personal information we have about you and request a copy of the same;
- Update or change any incorrect personal information;
- Ask us to stop collecting, processing and using your personal information in certain ways;
- Request the portability of your personal information; and
- Raise concerns regarding automated decision making processes.
If you wish to do any of the above, please send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org. We may refuse to comply with a request if the request is manifestly unfounded or excessive or repetitive in nature. We may be entitled to refuse request, wholly or partly, where exceptions under the applicable law apply.
5. Use of our Services by Children
Our Services are not intended for children under the age of 13, and we do not intend to collect personal information from or about children under the age of 13. If a child under the age of 13 has provided us with personally information, that child’s parent or legal guardian should contact us at email@example.com if they would like the information submitted by the child deleted from our records. We will use all reasonable efforts to delete such information from our database. If you are age 21 or younger, you are not authorized to submit any content or information to us without the explicit consent of your parent or legal guardian.
6. Opting Out of Future Communications
You may opt out of receiving email marketing communications from us at any time by using the “unsubscribe” link in emails, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To opt out of physical mailings and telephone communications, or to add your name to our do-not-share list, you may email us at the above address or call us at 800.648.6058. We will be sure your name is removed from our list [and the list we share with other organizations] as soon as possible after we provide your request. Please be aware, however, that even after your request is processed, we may, for a time, retain residual information about you in backup and/or archival copies of our database.
7. Do Not Track (DNT)
Our Websites are not designed to respond to DNT signals received from browsers.
8. Protection of Personal Information
We are committed to using our best efforts to maintaining the security of your personal information. To prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and ensure the appropriate use of information, we adhere to industry standard practices and procedures to help safeguard and secure the information we collect. Although we use our best efforts to protect the security of your personal information and our system, due to the inherent open nature of the Internet, no transmission via the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As a result of this and other factors beyond our control, we cannot guarantee the security of the information that you transmit to or through our Services. Therefore, you assume that risk by using our Services. Our Websites are secured and verified by Trustwave and GoDaddy Secure Certificate Authority.
9. Information from Users Outside of the USA and Consent to Transfer Jurisdiction
10. Security of Personal Information on Third-Party Websites
Our Services may contain links to other websites that are not under our control or supervision. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of third-party websites. Third-party websites may have their own privacy policies and customer service policies, or no policies at all. We encourage you to read the privacy policies of the third-party websites to see how your personal information will be handled before providing them with your personal information. We encourage you to be aware when you access any such third party links and to read the privacy policies of each website that you access.
11. Applicable Law
12. Effective Date and Modifications
13. Questions or Comments
Diversity and Equality
WE is committed to upholding the principles of diversity and equality in all areas of its work, ensuring that all candidates and other stakeholders are always treated fairly and equally. This policy applies to all WE staff and to any individual acting on behalf of WE.
WE ensures equality of opportunity for candidates by:
- Promoting open access to WSET qualifications (having regard to the legal minimum age for the retail purchase of alcohol and assessment competence standards);
- Ensuring that the format for delivery and examination of all WSET qualifications do not discriminate unlawfully against anyone on the grounds of disability, age, marriage and civil partnership, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation (having regard to the legal minimum age for the retail purchase of alcohol and assessment competence standards);
- Allowing candidates with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access WSET assessments without changing the demands of the assessment in line with our Reasonable Adjustment and Special Consideration policies;
- Collating and monitoring data on candidate age, gender, ethnicity and access arrangements, which are reportable in a non-attributable format;
- Inviting feedback on diversity issues from staff, candidates and other stakeholders;
- Working with relevant organizations as appropriate to develop measures to identify and prevent inequality of opportunity; and
- Reviewing this policy regularly to ensure it continues to meet legislative and organizational requirements and is fit for purpose.
Staff, candidates and other stakeholders who believe they may have been unfairly discriminated against should raise this with WE.
WE seeks to assess all candidates in a way that puts them at no disadvantage, or advantage, over other candidates. A reasonable adjustment is any action that helps to reduce the effect of a disability or difficulty that places the candidate at a substantial disadvantage in the assessment situation. Reasonable adjustments are submitted to and approved by WSET Awards and put in place before the assessment activity takes place; they constitute an arrangement to give the candidate access to the qualification. The use of a reasonable adjustment is not taken into consideration during the assessment of a candidate’s work. Reasonable adjustments will not give unfair advantage over candidates for whom reasonable adjustments are not being made or affect the reliability and validity of the assessment outcomes as detailed in the applicable Specification.
Reasonable adjustments may involve:
- Changing standard assessment arrangements, for example allowing candidates extra time to complete the assessment activity;
- Adapting assessment materials, such as providing materials in large text format;
- Providing access facilitators during assessment, such as a sign language interpreter or reader;
- Re-organizing the assessment room, such as removal of visual stimuli for an autistic candidate.
Applying for a reasonable adjustment
Candidates with special needs or requiring reasonable adjustments during the assessment should inform Wine Enthusiast upon enrollment by indicating such in the relevant space on the Booking/Registration Form. The Examinations Officer will contact said candidate to discuss the condition(s) for consideration and will request support evidence as required by WSET Awards. Candidates and their advisors should be aware that it is not appropriate to make requests for reasonable adjustments where the candidate’s particular difficulty directly affects performance in the attributes that are the focus of the assessment.
Requests for reasonable adjustment(s) will then be forwarded to the Assessment Manager of WSET Awards for consideration and approval. The specific arrangements for the examination process itself, or for marking, will be agreed in each case between the Wine Enthusiast’s Examinations Officer and WSET Awards’ Assessment Manager, and will vary according to individual circumstances. Wine Enthusiast will maintain records of all reasonable adjustment applications as required by WSET Awards.
Special consideration is an action taken after an assessment to allow candidates who have been disadvantaged by temporary illness, injury, indisposition or adverse circumstances at the time of the assessment to demonstrate attainment. Special consideration will not give unfair advantage over candidates for whom special consideration is not being applied or alter the assessment demands of the qualification as detailed in the applicable Specification.
A candidate may be eligible for special consideration if:
- Performance in an assessment is affected by circumstances beyond the control of the candidate. This may include recent personal illness, accident, bereavement or examination room conditions;
- Alternative assessment arrangements which were agreed in advance of the assessment proved inappropriate or inadequate;
- The application of special consideration would not mislead the user of the certificate as to the candidate’s attainment.
Applying for Special Consideration
Candidates requesting Special Consideration must contact the Examinations Officer at WE within 10 working days of the assessment date for which special consideration is being sought (contact details are: Marshall Tilden. Email: email@example.com. Phone: (914) 345-9463 ext. 5112). Eligibility will only be considered if accompanied by supporting independent documentation.
Wine Enthusiast will maintain records of all applications for special consideration.
Malpractice and Maladministration
The aim of this policy is to protect the interests of WE candidates and safeguard the integrity of WSET qualifications by ensuring compliance with WSET Policies and Procedures. It provides a framework for identifying, reporting and managing any potential malpractice or maladministration.
Definition of Maladministration and Malpractice
- Maladministration occurs when non-compliance is accidental rather than intentional; and
- Malpractice occurs when non-compliance is intentional or the result of negligence.
Since the boundaries between maladministration and malpractice are not clear-cut, any potential instance of maladministration or malpractice should be reported to the Director of Awards (Karen Ruckert at firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: (914) 345-9463 ext. 4225). Whether a situation is maladministration or malpractice will be determined by WE following an investigation.
Malpractice or maladministration may include:
- Failure to adhere to the terms of Centre Agreement or WSET Policies and Procedures;
- Failure to comply with the WE Code of Conduct;
- Failure to carry out course or assessment delivery in accordance with WSET Awards requirements;
- Failure to adhere to WSET Awards’ candidate registration and certification procedures;
- Late student registrations;
- Fraudulent claim for certificates/fraudulent use of certificates/reproduction or forgery of certificates;
- Withholding of information from WSET Awards which is critical to maintaining the rigor of quality assurance;
- Insecure storage of assessment materials;
- Submission of false or inaccurate information to gain a qualification;
- Cheating, including the use of unauthorized devices or materials;
- Disruptive behavior in an examination;
- Plagiarism of any nature by students;
- Impersonation (including forgery of signatures);
- Any action likely to lead to an adverse effect;
- Breach of confidentiality;
- Failure to disclose Conflict of Interest;
- Issue of incorrect exam results/failure to issue results to students in a timely manner;
- Unauthorized reading/amendment/copying/distribution of exam papers;
- Failure to report changes in ownership/personnel/location/facilities;
- Denial of access to information, documentation, workforce, facilities;
- Failure to respond to WSET Awards in a timely manner;
- Failure to return examination papers within the specified timeframe or to follow delivery and tracking regulations;
- Infringement of WSET copyright, trademarks, intellectual property rights and brand identity;
- Use of unqualified and/or unregistered educators or internal assessors;
- Misleading advertising/publicity.
All other notifications should be submitted in writing (email is accepted) and should include:
- A detailed account of the circumstances surrounding the suspicions and allegations;
- Details of any consequent actions or investigations carried out;
- Any extenuating circumstances (e.g. medical reports);
- Any unauthorized materials found during assessment;
- Written statements signed and dated by any individuals involved.
WE will acknowledge receipt of a non-compliance notification via email within 3 working days. WE will log the non-compliance incident and will assign a case officer to investigate. WE will conclude the investigation within 30 working days of receipt of the allegation. In some cases the investigation may take longer; in such instances all concerned parties will be advised of the revised timescale.
Cancellations and Refunds
All registrations require the full amount of tuition, payable upon completion of registration. Cancellation and 100% refunds are allowed 3 weeks prior to the course commencement date. After this point in time, tuitions become nonrefundable.
Cancellations are allowed up to 2 weeks prior to the course commencement date, with paid tuitions fully transferrable to future courses or transferrable to another person – either to be used within the next 12 months. After this point, tuitions are considered forfeited. Requests should be submitted by email.
WE does not refund missed classes. Full refunds will be given in the event of low registrations.