The Office of Fair Trading cannot give you information about the legitimacy of specific traders unless the Minister or Commissioner for Fair Trading have issued a warning to consumers about them.
Researching the legitimacy of a business
You should do as much research as possible about a trader and their business, so you can make informed decisions about purchasing goods or services from them.
- ask friends and family about their experiences with the business
- check the business has a physical address (preferably local) and telephone number. If it does, this will make it easier for you to negotiate with them should you encounter a problem
- check to see that the business or trader´s name is registered on the National Names Index
- check how long the business has been registered. If it's been registered to one address for many years, there is a higher probability that they are interested in maintaining customer goodwill and so will be willing to assist you if you encounter a problem
- look for testimonials or ask the business to provide you with the contact details of previous clients
- seek out businesses that have built a strong reputation, based on their experience
- research the credibility and experience of the currently registered director(s) or proprietor(s) by reading their profiles on the business' website and checking the track record of other companies they have been involved with
- check for information about the trader on the following websites:
Getting more information
If your searches have identified that the trader you are making inquiries about is registered, you can get further information about them for a fee. This information can include the business's trading and postal addresses, the names of the director(s) or proprietor(s), and the date the organisation became registered. This information is available through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The registration of a business or company name is not in itself an indication of the legitimacy of the business. Nor is it a reflection of the suitability of the director(s) or proprietor(s) to carry on a business successfully. However, checking the trader's registration can provide you with background information to help you make an informed decision, particularly in relation to major purchases.
If a business you are dealing with goes bankrupt, there are several things you should do immediately to protect your money.
Last reviewed 11/04/2013