Many complaints are dealt with by state and territory offices of Fair Trading and Consumer Affairs, small claims courts, tribunals




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Consumer Affairs / Fair Trading / Consumer Protection

These state-based offices take complaints from private consumers about goods or services that have been purchased, or are to be purchased in that state or territory. They can negotiate on your behalf and maybe arrange mediation, but they don't have the power to force the person or business you're complaining about to fix the problem. They may take a complaint from a trader, under certain circumstances. The web sites of these agencies contain very useful consumer information.


Complaints handled vary a bit from from office to office, but generally you can get help with complaints about:

  • property and tenancy matters
  • second-hand dealers
  • false advertising
  • a small business
  • product safety - dangerous products
  • home building, renovation, repairs
  • fundraising groups
  • product packaging and labelling
  • refunds and laybys
  • door-to-door selling
  • credit matters
  • motor vehicle traders and salespersons
  • trade measurement
  • solar panel installation companies



If the agency cannot sort it out, or if you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can take your complaint to the appropriate Tribunal or Court in your state or territory. The Tribunal/Court has the power to, for example, make a trader (or you) pay money or return goods, repair faulty goods or rectify services, deliver goods or excuse you from having to pay the full amount.


You may also have rights under the Australian Consumer Law introduced in January 2011. This is a single, uniform consumer law for fair trading and consumer protection. The Australian Consumer Law replaced provisions in 20 national, state and territory consumer laws.

It applies to all businesses and includes:

  • a national unfair contract terms law covering standard form contracts
  • a national law guaranteeing consumer rights when buying goods and services, which replaces
  • existing laws on conditions and warranties
  • a national product safety law and enforcement system
  • a national law for unsolicited consumer agreements, which replaces existing State and Territory laws on door-to-door sales and other direct marketing
  • simple national rules for lay-by agreements
  • penalties, enforcement powers and consumer redress.





Fair Trading

For complaints about businesses operating in the ACT

Useful information:


ACT Civil & Administrative Tribunal (ACAT)

Can deal with neighbour disagreements; finance agreement disputes; property damage; landlord, tenant & strata management disputes; contractual disputes; issues with utility services

Contact options

Other useful information:




NSW Fair Trading

Can assist with complaints about businesses operating in NSW
Phone: within Australia: call 13 32 20 (8.30am to 5pm, Mon - Fri)

Other contact options

Lodge a complaint

Other useful information:



NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)

Consists of many specialist tribunal services

Contact options

Making an application




Consumer Affairs

Can assist with complaints about businesses operating in the Northern Territory
Phone: (08) 8999 1999 or 1800 019 319

Other contact options

Other useful information:


Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT)

NTCAT provides a forum for reviewing a wide range of administrative decisions and for resolving certain civil disputes (such as residential tenancy matters and small claims up to an amount of $25,000).

Contact information





Office of Fair Trading (OFT)

Can assist with complaints about businesses operating in Queensland
Phone: 137468 and ask for Fair Trading - Consumer Division

Other contact options

Making complaints

Lodge your complaint online

Other useful information:


Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)

Incorporates the former Small Claims Tribunal

Contact information

QCAT can deal with a range of matters.





Consumer and Business Services (CBS)

Can assist with complaints about businesses operating in South Australia

Phone 13882 within Australia

Other contact options

Other useful information:


Magistrates Court - Small Claims





Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS)

Can assist with complaints about businesses operating in Tasmania
Phone 1300 65 44 99 (in Tasmania) or (03) 6165 3400 (from interstate)

Other contact options

Making a complaint

Online complaint form

Other useful information:


Magistrates Court





Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)

Can assist with complaints about businesses operating in Victoria

Phone 1300 558181 (9am to 5pm Mon to Fri)

Other contact options

Advice on resolving a dispute

CAV's template letter

Other useful information:


Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)





Consumer Protection (Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety)

Can assist with complaints about businesses operating in Western Australia

Phone 1300 304054  (within WA)
Other contact options

How to make a complaint


Magistrates Court (incorporating the previous Small Claims Tribunal)

Civil matters involving claims for debt or damages, consumer/trader claims (over the sale, supply or hire of goods or services) and residential tenancy matters

Online forms

Civil matters fact sheets




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