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Home > Businesses > Business rights and responsibilities > Handling complaints

Handling complaints

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A good business tries to minimise customer complaints through excellent customer service, and address customer complaints about the business, or a product or service quickly and fairly.

We give consumers and businesses information about their rights and responsibilities, and provide a conciliation service to help resolve disputes.

Dealing with customer complaints

There are Australian Standards for complaint handling and customer service which may be useful guides. In developing an effective customer complaint policy, consider the following suggestions.

Resolving complaints

When a customer has a genuine complaint, thank them for raising the matter with you. Treat them with genuine empathy, courtesy, patience, honesty and fairness.

Try to respond to the complaint quickly. Tell the customer how you will handle it and when to expect a response.

Speak to the customer in person. Do not rely on written complaints or records of conversations.

To show that you clearly understand their complaint:

Once you take the complaint details, tell the customer what will happen next.

If possible, nominate one staff member to manage the complaint until it is resolved. Ensure that this staff member has the authority to organise solutions that the customer will accept.

Adopt a solution-focused approach by actively involving the customer in this process. Ensure you take all promised action as promptly as possible.

When you find a solution, tell the customer and check they are happy with the resolution. Tell them how you will prevent the problem arising again.

Other ways to resolve a complaint

If you cannot successfully resolve a complaint yourself, you have other options.


Mediation is a way to settle a dispute without taking legal action. It enables you and the other party to meet with two neutral mediators who will help you discuss the dispute.

Mediation saves time and money, and successfully helps people reach an agreement in 90 per cent of cases.

For more information on mediation, contact the Department of Justice and Attorney-General's Dispute Resolution Branch.

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal

In some circumstances, you may need to lodge a claim with the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Generally, the Tribunal is concerned with disputes between consumers and traders. For more information, visit the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

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Last reviewed 01/12/2011

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