Act of God and so forgiveness - or personal choice and so tough.

That's the dilemma facing Anne and Gavin Hulley, the owners of Christchurch swim school, Frankie Frog when it comes to knowing whether to bill parents for missed lessons or not.

"If people have left town and don't come for the swimming lessons they've paid for, should we be refunding their fees?" said Anne Hulley.

"We've phoned to let everyone know we're open for business but they are not responding and many are not turning up."

Apart from a broken valve that needed replacing, the pool and surrounding building came through the quake unscathed and the learn-to-swim business was only closed for just over a week.

However only about 60 per cent of Frankie Frog's nearly 300 swimmers have turned up for their lessons.

"It's awkward because we are open and I have teachers in the pool that I have to pay but how can I expect someone who has left town because they might have lost their home or need to get away from the aftershocks for a while to keep paying for lessons they don't come to."

But she said the learner swimmers and their parents are more like family than clients and in all good conscience she wants to be fair on them.

The Hulley's chose not to have income protection insurance but don't regret the decision.

"As a small business we would have spent more on premiums than we would have been covered for, so it would never have been worth it."

They expect more of their swimmers will start again when schools go back next week.

"We'll be able to ascertain then who is going to come back and who isn't and will consolidate the lessons. Then we'll be able to offer people two swims a week and gradually make up lessons that way."

When it comes to the people who have asked for their term one fees to be credited to term three lessons, Anne says they'll be giving some thought to what to do and also talk to other swim schools in the area to get a feel for what other businesses are doing.

"Some schools are pretty fierce about not refunding course fees but we'll cross that bridge later," she said.

"For the moment we are just happy that all our students are safe."