Consumer complaint checklist

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You may find it useful to use this checklist and keep it with you when you make your complaint.  You can also find out what happens when you make a complaint.

The Department has produced fact sheets on the conciliation process and business tips for handling complaints

We recommend you have the ACCC Shopper app on your phone, for your Australian Consumer Law rights at your fingertips. You can use the app to:

  • find answers to common shopping questions such as ‘when can I get a refund?’ - you can even show it to a trader when trying to get your money back 
  • keep copies of receipts and set reminders for lay-bys, warranties and gift vouchers
  • write a complaint letter or email to a business.

Check your rights

Know your rights.  Look for more information about: 

Are you able to claim a refund, repair or replacement? If in doubt, contact us.

Are you clear about your complaint?

What’s the fault with what you’ve bought or the service you’ve received? For example, it doesn’t work, it’s damaged, it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to.

If you are not sure about your rights contact Consumer Protection by calling 1300 30 40 54 or sending an email.

Act quickly - Report the fault as soon as you can. 

Are you reporting an unlicensed trader or scam?

You can do a licence search to check if your trader is licensed.  Please send Consumer Protection an email if you suspect your trader is operating unlicensed.  

If you think you have received a scam, please contact WA ScamNet

Contact the trader

Contact the business and stay calm, even if you are angry.  Once you know where you stand with your rights and responsibilities, contact the trader to talk it over, see if you can work on a solution together to suit both of you. Assert your rights without being aggressive. Stay polite but be clear about what you want. You can also write a letter or email - see our samples below.

Sample letters

We have created some samples which may be helpful. They include templates for complaints about general retail issue, residential tenancy, motor vehicle repairs, faulty goods, retirement village and building work.

Complain in person or on the phone

Remember the person you’re talking to may not be in a position to give you what you want. Stay polite and if necessary ask to discuss the matter with the person in charge. 


  •  What the problem is
  •  What you want them to do about it. Decide what you want, for example, a refund, a replacement or repair.
  •  When you want it done by (give a reasonable amount of time)

Give your contact details

Give them a contact name and telephone number in case they need to contact you.

Keep records

Keep a record of:

  • Who you talk to
  • What you talked about
  • The date

Keep a copy of any:

  • Receipts
  • Letters​
  • Emails
  • Notes from phone conversations

Putting a complaint in writing

If you haven’t resolved your issue with a phone call or visit, follow-up with a letter

Provide details about the issue and your attempts to resolve it. (We have produced some sample letters to assist you).

  • 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.
  • Request a response within a reasonable timeframe (set a deadline).
  • Don’t send originals.
  • Keep a copy of your letter.
  • Check you have the correct name and address.

If you don’t get a response

If talking or writing doesn’t work, you may be able to approach an industry organisation for assistance. This could be:

  • a government office that works with or regulates that industry (e.g. telecommunications, building, financial services) – our Dispute with a Business publication may help you find who would be most suited;
  • a peak body businesses can join as members; or
  • an independent body which works as a mediator

Check whether the industry responsible has its own internal complaint resolution body, contact the industry association and explain your issue.

Making a formal complaint

If you still can’t resolve the issue and it relates to an industry regulated by Consumer Protection, you can make a formal complaint.

Make a complaint

After you have tried to resolve the issue yourself without success you can make a formal complaint. If you need assistance please contact our contact centre on 1300 30 40 54.

Consumer complaint form

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