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.
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 Marshall Tilden III, at firstname.lastname@example.org who will be 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 an 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.
Following Stage 1, if a complaint remains unresolved, the complainant should notify the Chief Financial Officer (Kimberly Hoyt at email@example.com in writing that he/she wishes to pursue the complaint to the next stage. Acknowledgment 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.
If the complainant is still not satified, they can submit the complaint to Quality Assurance at QA@wsetglobal.com.
Conflict of Interest
As an APP, WE is required to identify to WSET and assist in managing or monitoring actual, potential and perceived conflicts of interest (‘Conflicts of Interest’) involving both APP staff and students. This policy complements WSET’s conflicts of interest policy and works to safeguard the integrity of WSET qualifications and promote confidence in WSET and WE processes and procedures.
This policy applies to all WE staff and students and to any individual acting on behalf of WE
A Conflict of Interest exists where an individual has interests or loyalties that could adversely influence their judgment, objectivity, or loyalty to WSET or WE when conducting activities associated with WSET qualifications.
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
Some of these Conflicts of Interest are manageable and therefore acceptable. For example, if a family member of one of WE’s educators or APP staff takes a qualification and exam through WE, or when an employee of WE, or of the WSET, takes a WSET qualification through WE, we can notify WSET in advance and work with them to put in place measures to maintain the integrity of the exam.
Some Conflicts of Interest are not manageable and are not acceptable. For example, no mitigation efforts overcome the conflict created when an individual when a single individual serves as the educator and exam officer of an exam for a family member where an external invigilator is not available.
Any staff member or student of WE who becomes aware of a Conflict of Interest must inform Marshall Tilden (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible. Marshall Tilden will inform the WSET of the possible conflict of interest and will work with WSET to put any protective or mitigating measures in place to manage the conflict on a case-by-case basis. If WSET and Marshall Tilden determine the conflict is not manageable, Marshall Tildern will inform any impacted APP staff or students.
Please note that the failure to declare a conflict of interest may have consequences for the student or WE because we are required to report conflicts to WSET.
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. 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.
Please contact Nominate Educator, Marshall Tilden (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions or concerns.
Both WSET and WE want to make WSET assessments accessible for all students, so none are at an advantage or disadvantage based on a disability or differing ability. This policy and the reasonable adjustment process allows us WE to work with you, our student, before an assessment to gather the information we need to submit a request to WSET and work with them to make arrangements that give students access to WSET qualifications.
A reasonable adjustment is any accommodation or arrangement that helps to reduce the effect of a known disability or difficulty that substantially disadvantages a student’s assessment. Using a reasonable adjustment does not impact how WSET grades your exam, or your result, but WSET cannot agree to reasonable adjustments where your particular difficulty directly affects performance necessary to complete the assessment outcomes (e.g. inability to smell or taste for a Level 3 Exam). The goal of a reasonable adjustment is to give you equal access to a WSET qualification, not to give unfair advantages over other students who take an assessment without the same adjustment, or to affect the overall reliability of the assessment outcomes that are explained in the course 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
WE will gather the information we need from you to submit a Reasonable Adjustment Application form to WSET. WSET must approve and arrange reasonable adjustments before the assessment activity takes place. Before completing enrolment with WE, we will give all students access to this policy and the chance to identify any special needs that could require a reasonable adjustment. If a student identifies a special need, WE will give the student the Reasonable Adjustment Application form as soon as possible and work with the student to gather the necessary information.
For any student seeking a reasonable adjustment, please contact Marshall Tilden (email@example.com with:
• Your full name;
• contact information;
• description of the special need, disability or differing ability that requires an adjustment; and
• supporting documentation.
You must submit this information at least 30 days before the exam date for Levels 1-2 qualifications. The information you submit will be shared with WSET and will be handled under WSET’s Privacy and Data Protection Policy.
WE will keep records of all reasonable adjustment applications.
Special consideration is any adjustment given to a student who has temporarily experienced an illness or injury, or other event outside of their control at the time of the exam that significantly affects their ability to take the exam or their ability to show their knowledge and understanding in the assessment. Special consideration is only for things that happen immediately before or during an exam that have a material impact on your, the student’s, ability to take the exam or on your performance. To be eligible for special consideration, you must have completed the whole course and would have been fully prepared if not for the temporary illness, injury or other uncontrollable event. A special consideration may be for an individual (e.g. a student becomes ill the day of the exam) or a group of students (e.g. an exam is interrupted by a natural disaster).
You may be eligible for special consideration if:
• Your performance on the exam is adversely affected by an event outside of your control. This may include temporary illness, temporary injury, bereavement or exam room conditions;
• Reasonable adjustments which were agreed in advance of the exam proved inappropriate or inadequate;
• The application of special consideration would not make
Applying for Special Consideration
If you have taken an exam, or your exam is immediately approaching, and you feel that you have a temporary injury or illness, or another uncontrollable event that has interfered with your ability to complete your exam, please contact Marshall Tilden (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible. WE will provide you with a Special Consideration Application Form, which must be completed and returned with supporting documentation within 3 days after the affected exam. The information you submit will be shared with WSET and will be handled under WSET’s Privacy and Data Protection Policy.
If there has been serious disruption during an exam affecting a group of students, WE will submit a detailed report of the circumstances and candidates affected to WSET to request a special consideration.
WE will keep records of all applications for special consideration.
Malpractice and Maladministration
Both WE and WSET have policies and procedures in place to protect WSET students and safeguard the integrity of WSET qualifications. WE ensures compliance with WE and WSET’s policies through this Malpractice and Maladministration Policy, which gives a framework for both us and you to identify, report and manage potential malpractice or maladministration.
Non-compliance with WE or WSET Policies and Procedures can fall into two distinct, but related, categories:
1. Maladministration, where the non-compliance is generally unintentional, or the result of mistakes, carelessness, inexperience or poor processes; and
2. Malpractice where the non-compliance is intentional or the result of a negligent or reckless action without consideration of the consequences of the action.
Context is important and the line between maladministration or malpractice is not always clear: for example, maladministration incidents may become malpractice (e.g. if you fail to implement corrective measures, repeat the same or similar incident, or attempt to misrepresent or hide information during an investigation); or there may be mitigating factors that turn potential malpractice into maladministration. Though malpractice and maladministration are distinct concepts, they can shade into one another. Malpractice and maladministration are always case, context and fact specific. Both APPs and students can commit malpractice and maladministration.
There are many ways that malpractice or maladministration could occur, including new ways we have not seen yet. But some examples of malpractice or maladministration include:
-Failure to adhere to WSET Policies and Procedures;
– Failure to follow WSET requirements for course delivery or exam regulations;
-Failure to follow WSET’s candidate registration and certification procedures;
– Late student registrations;
– Fraudulent claim for certificates/fraudulent use of certificates/reproduction or forgery of certificates;
– Withholding critical information from WSET quality assurance;
-Insecure storage of exam materials
-Cheating, or facilitating cheating, including the use of unauthorized devices or materials;
-Plagiarism of any nature by students;
-Impersonation (including forgery of signatures);
-Unauthorized reading/amendment/copying/distribution of exam papers;
-Any action likely to lead to an adverse effect;
-Breach of confidentiality.
In general, we also expect that both WE staff and our students should treat others and be treated professionally and respectfully at all times. We will treat inappropriate behavior including verbal or physical abuse, persistent or unrealistic demands, or threats that cause stress to staff as misconduct and may report student misconduct to WSET as necessary.
Reporting and Investigation of Malpractice or Maladministration
As an APP, we aim to ensure compliance with WSET Policies and WE policies and will keep records of potential or actual malpractice or maladministration by you, our students, or our staff.
We are required to notify WSET immediately of any non-compliance issues that could be malpractice or maladministration so that WSET can investigate the non-compliance under their own Malpractice and Maladministration Policy.
We ask that you also raise any concerns or non-compliance issues that may be malpractice or maladministration with WE as soon as possible by following the process outlined in our Complaints policy.
During WSET’s investigation, they may reach out to WE or to you directly to request further information or conduct an interview. Please respond to any requests promptly and honestly.
If WSET identifies malpractice or maladministration, they will consider its impact and may apply sanctions. WSET will take all reasonable steps to ensure the sanctions do not disadvantage uninvolved students affected by malpractice or maladministration. However, in some cases, they may need to disallow or withhold results and/or certificates.
WSET will consider all relevant information on a case-by-case basis, balancing the facts with potential or actual effects, and against the seriousness of the sanctions against those effects. WSET records all malpractice and maladministration incidents for both APPs and students. If WSET determines that a student has committed malpractice or maladministration, they may apply one or any of the following sanctions:
The student is issued with a written warning that if the offence is repeated within a set period of time then further specified sanctions will be applied.
-Exam Result Declared Null and Void
A student’s exam result is disallowed. This may include invalidation and recall of a certificate already issued.
-Disqualification from a Qualification
The student is disqualified from participating in the concerned qualification with immediate effect and further excluded from participating in any further WSET qualifications for a period of 12 months. This includes access to WSET materials.
The learner is disqualified from participating in any courses or assessments leading to WSET qualifications. This includes access to WSET materials.
-Disqualification from use of WSET certified logos and postnominals
Actions bringing WSET into disrepute may result in the student or graduate being barred from use of WSET postnominals and WSET certified logos.
If you wish to appeal penalties or sanctions WSET has imposed due to Malpractice or Maladministration, please follow the procedures laid out in WSET’s Complaints Policy.
Cancellations and Refunds
Cancellation and 100% refunds are allowed 2 weeks prior to the course commencement date. After this point in time, tuitions become nonrefundable. Requests should be submitted by email to WSET@wineenthusiast.net.
Wine Enthusiast Academy does not refund missed classes. Full refunds will be given in the event of low registrations.