Commissioner's blog: How to handle a consumer complaint yourself

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When a service you’ve received isn’t up to scratch, or a product you’ve bought doesn’t work as it should, you may wish to seek a remedy from the business that supplied it.

Before contacting Consumer Protection for help, it is always important to try to resolve the matter yourself.

This is because in most cases an issue with a business or trader can be resolved pretty quickly just by explaining the situation and offering a mutually acceptable solution.

You should start by talking it over with the appropriate person in the organisation, such as the owner, salesperson or a manager. Remember that sometimes the person you’re talking to may not be in a position to give you what you want straightaway, so it’s important to stay polite and if necessary ask to discuss the matter with the person in charge.

Explain what the problem is and what you want them to do about it, such as a repair, refund or replacement and state when you want it done by.

If the phone call or visit to the business doesn’t resolve your issue, then the next step is to follow-up with an email that provides details about the issues and your attempts to resolve it.

Consumer Protection has produced some sample letters on its website that may assist you, in which you should:

  • Quote your reference, agreement or account number if you have one;
  • Enclose a copy of any receipt, proof of purchase or any other relevant documents; and
  • Request a response within a reasonable timeframe (set a deadline).

Failing this, the next step is to find out if there is an organisation responsible for the industry or practice you are having problems with and contact them. Often an industry has its own internal complaint resolution body, which can help to resolve complaints or provide advice to consumers.

If you are not sure who to contact for your particular issue, contact Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or email If you still can’t reach an acceptable solution, you can make a formal complaint to Consumer Protection.

Gary Newcombe office exterior 2
Gary Newcombe office exterior 2, by CP Media

Gary Newcombe

Commissioner for Consumer Protection


Consumer Protection
Media release
04 Nov 2021

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