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Professional practice

Refunds

Clause 24:

A licensed immigration adviser must:

  1. ensure that refunds given are fair and reasonable in the circumstances
  2. ensure that refund obligations can be met, and
  3. promptly provide any refunds payable upon completing or ceasing a contract for services.

Fair and reasonable refunds

Unforeseen circumstances may arise that require an adviser to provide a refund to their client.

There may be cases where fees are not refundable, such as where the adviser gives up the opportunity of other work to be available. As a general principle, however, an adviser cannot retain fees that are not fair and reasonable for services provided.

Ensuring refund obligations can be met

Ensuring refund obligations can be met may be provided for by keeping any money paid in advance in the client account. However, there may be situations where payment for services has already been taken and for whatever reason it is decided that a portion of that fee should be refunded to the client. Therefore it is advisable for an adviser to keep some practice funds available for such a situation.

Providing any refunds promptly

Clause 24(c) requires an adviser to promptly provide any refunds payable upon completing or ceasing a contract for services. If for any reason the adviser is required to make a refund they should do so promptly.

An adviser may include a timeframe for prompt payment of refunds in their refund policy.

Here are some decisions from the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal that refer to refunds:

Muller v Yerman

Decision: [2015] NZIACDT 77 (25 June 2015) (PDF, 205KB)

Penalty Decision: [2015] NZIACDT 102 (11 December 2015) (PDF, 119KB)

Samisoni v Tangilanu

Decision: [2015] NZIACDT 34 (23 March 2015) (PDF, 84.3KB)

Penalty Decision: [2015] NZIACDT 60 (19 May 2015) (PDF, 169KB)

Mohammadalibeigy v Yap

Decision: [2015] NZIACDT 7 (13 February 2015) (PDF, 92KB)

Penalty Decision: [2015] NZIACDT 64 (25 May 2015) (PDF, 182KB)

Asad v Patel

Decision: [2014] NZIACDT 61 (30 April 2014) (PDF, 138KB)

Penalty Decision:[2015] NZIACDT 1 (21 January 2015) (PDF, 178KB)

Eppanapally v Zhou

Decision: [2014] NZIACDT 118 (28 November 2014) (PDF, 233KB)

Penalty Decision: [2015] NZIACDT 84 (27 August 2015) (PDF, 189KB)

Tully v Yerman

Decision: [2012] NZIACDT 19 (9 May 2012) (PDF, 102 KB)

Penalty Decision: [2012] NZIACDT 39 (31 July 2012) (PDF, 78 KB)

Cutaran-Tanggaan v Earnshaw

Decision: [2012] NZIACDT 61 (28 September 2012) (PDF, 82 KB)

Penalty Decision: [2013] NZIACDT 12 (19 March 2013) (PDF, 54.1 KB)

 

What has changed compared to the 2010 Code?

2010 Code – required advisers to provide any refunds payable upon completing or ceasing a contract for services

2014 Code – requires advisers to:

  1. ensure that refunds given are fair and reasonable in the circumstances
  2. ensure that refund obligations can be met, and
  3. promptly provide refunds payable upon completing or ceasing a contract for services.