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How to make a complaint

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Bought faulty goods? Paid for something that never arrived? As a consumer, you have a right to complain, something that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) can help conciliate.

What can OFT do to assist:

Our role is to promote your rights as a consumer. OFT gives consumers and traders information to help them resolve marketplace disputes.

OFT encourages you to share information with us to enable a full and prompt assessment of your complaint. Please understand OFT may not always commence action on your behalf. OFT must carefully manage the use of public resources to ensure maximum efficiency is achieved.  This will result in a range of outcomes for complaints lodged with us, including some matters being investigated, some matters conciliated and some matters returned for self-resolution by the consumer.

All matters will be placed on record for information and intelligence purposes.

If a dispute cannot be settled by the parties involved we will try to conciliate the matter with the trader. Conciliation is an informal service provided free of charge to help consumers avoid possible court or legal action. If a complaint cannot be resolved we will suggest alternative options you may take. These include taking your complaint to a tribunal or court, or seeking your own legal advice.

What OFT cannot do:

We cannot direct traders and businesses to take certain action even where there is evidence of a breach of legislation. Please note that only a tribunal or court can order a trader to offer redress or resolve an issue and OFT can make no official judgements on such matters. Also in some instances we will refer your complaint to another agency that has been specifically set up to resolve consumer / trader disputes in a particular industry.

We also handle complaints:

It is important to follow the steps below to resolve your complaint.


Step 1: Try to resolve your complaint first

Resolve a complaint

Your first step as a consumer. Read advice on how to complain over the phone, via email or in writing to a trader. Includes sample letters and tips for getting what you want.

Your consumer rights and responsibilities

Part of resolving a complaint is understanding what your legal rights are as a customer. Businesses must meet certain standards when they sell you products and/or services.


Step 2: Refer your complaint to the relevant industry association


 Contact list for consumer complaints

Many businesses belong to an industry association with its own internal complaint handling process. These may be able to directly help you.

Still not satisfied with the response? Then let us know about your complaint. But first read about how we handle complaints. This is important; to make sure you understand our capabilities and limitations in helping you.



Step 3: Understand how we handle your complaints


Our complaint handling process

About general consumer complaints, complaints against other traders, and product safety.

Once you understand our process, tell us about your complaint.



Step 4: Make an official complaint to us

 Once you have exhausted all avenues you may wish to make an official complaint to the OFT. Our staff will ask if you have attempted to complete the above steps before working with you to help resolve your complaint.

Lodge a general complaint

Lodge a complaint about an unsafe product

The OFT is dedicated in its role to deliver a quality service to the public. If you have read Our complaint handling process and are unsatisfied with our service or have concerns and wish to provide feedback, please look at the Complaints about our service page for further information.

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Last reviewed 02/07/2013

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