How we help consumers in disputes with businesses
Have you bought faulty goods? Paid for something that never arrived? As a consumer, you have the right to complain.
The Office of Fair Trading's role is to:
- give information to consumers and businesses
- help you to resolve disputes in the marketplace.
How we manage complaints
We can’t act on every complaint. The more information you give us, the more quickly and accurately we can assess it.
There could be a range of outcomes for your complaint. We might:
- investigate your complaint
- refer it to another agency for consideration
- conciliate the issue between you and the business
- return the complaint for you to resolve.
We also handle complaints:
- from businesses about other businesses who might be breaking the law
- about unsafe consumer products.
We keep a record of all complaints.
We will process your complaint and conduct any investigation in accordance with our Compliance and Enforcement Policy and Standards.
Conciliation is an informal way to resolve your complaint. We act as an intermediary between you and the business. It’s free, and it can help you avoid legal action.
Conciliation doesn’t always work. If it doesn't, we can suggest options for you such as:
- taking your complaint to a tribunal or court
- seeking your own legal advice.
What we cannot do
We can’t provide compensation or force a business to provide a refund or other remedy. We can’t make judgments or orders on any matter—only a tribunal or court has the power to do this.
We don’t have the authority to investigate some types of disputes. In which case, we can pass your complaints onto the relevant agencies.
When you incur costs or suffer losses due to failure of goods or services to meet a consumer guarantee, you may be able to claim compensation from the seller, manufacturer or service provider.
You can only claim compensation where the loss can be reasonably attributed to the failure of the supplier to meet the guarantee.
We cannot get compensation for you and you may wish to seek independent legal advice.
The 5-step process
You must follow these steps to resolve your complaint.
Step 1—Know your rights
Know your legal rights as a consumer. Businesses must meet certain standards when they trade with you.
Step 2—Try to resolve your complaint first
You should always try to resolve the complaint with the business before escalating it. Find advice on how to complain over the phone, via email or in writing to a business. Download sample letters and get tips for achieving your desired outcome.
Step 3—Refer your complaint to an industry association
Many businesses belong to an industry association with its own complaint-handling process. These may be able to help you directly.
There is a list of organisations that can help in your dispute. Get details for general complaints, product safety, scams and industry-specific complaints.
Step 4—Learn how we handle complaints
Learn about our process for handling complaints. This can help you decide about the best way to make your complaint.
Step 5—Make an official complaint to us
Access our online complaint form and make your complaint.
If you would like to lodge a complaint about a Queensland business and cannot access the online complaint form you can download and complete the paper complaint form and mail it to us.
You should also use the paper complaint form if you want to lodge an anonymous complaint. To help ensure the integrity of the information provided to the OFT, you cannot use the online form for anonymous complaints.
Please note, less options are available for us to progress issues you have raised anonymously. We will not be able to seek a refund or other remedy from the business for you, and we will not be able to give you information about any action we may or may not take for the complaint you have lodged.
Product safety complaint
Find out about making a complaint about an unsafe product. Get details of what you need to say and how to tell us.