Before you contact us, try to resolve your consumer complaint directly with the business that sold you the item or service. Sometimes this step is overlooked, but our tips could minimise the time required by you to try and sort out any dispute.
Here are some tips to help.
Before you complain
- Check your consumer rights under the law. See our consumer rights and responsibilities section.
- Be clear about what the problem is and what would be reasonable to get it resolved. Do you want a refund, repair or the job done again free of charge?
- Gather evidence, such as proof of purchase (receipts) and evidence of the fault or problem (photos, video footage). Remember that if you cannot resolve the dispute with the trader, you may have to go to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) or court to get a refund. Think about what evidence you would need to give to support the main points of your argument.
- Keep records or even a complaint diary. Use them to list what happened, when it happened and who you spoke to. This will help to jog your memory when you are discussing your complaint.
- Make the complaint as soon as possible.
Complaining by phone
If you make the complaint via the telephone:
- make a note of what you want to say
- have receipts and any other documents handy
- get the name of the person you speak to
- note the date and time, and what is said.
Be polite but assertive. Focus on the outcome you want instead of feeling angry or annoyed.
After the phone call, follow it up with a letter, particularly if your complaint is serious.
Complaining in writing
When you write a complaint letter or email, you must give clear, factual information about when you bought the item, what went wrong and what you want the seller to do about it. Our samples below can help you layout this process.
If you complain in writing:
- keep the letter brief and clear using bullet points
- describe the item or service you bought
- state where and when you bought the item (or when the service was done) and how much it cost
- state what is wrong, any action you've already taken, the person you spoke to and what happened
- state what you want done to remedy the situation, such as a refund or repair, or the job done again without charge
- use registered mail so you can check that they received your letter, or send the letter with proof of posting from the post office
- keep copies of any letters you send. Send photocopies, not originals, of receipts or other documents
- explain that you would like the business or trader to respond within approximately 10 working days.
Maintain a polite and professional tone. Focus on how you want the problem resolved, not how angry or annoyed you are, and avoid sarcasm.
Taking your complaint further
If you've already spoken or written to the trader/business, and have not received a satisfactory outcome, there are a range of alternative Government, advocate and indutry associations who may be better suited to resolving you complaint. The contact list for these groups can be found by following the link attached. This is part of Step 2 of the How to make a complaint process.
Last reviewed 15/04/2013