Buying goods and services
The Australian Consumer Law sets out your rights and responsibilities in all sorts of purchasing situations. For example, it covers the rules for refunds, consumer guarantees, unsafe and defective products when you make a purchase using a lay-by; or through an unsolicited consumer agreement with a door-to-door seller or telemarketer.
We can provide free information to help you if you have a problem when buying goods and services. But remember, traders and retailers have rights too, so ensure that you make the right choice and are fully informed before you buy.
Do you know your rights when shopping online? For practical tips about online shopping covering topics such as dealing with overseas traders, refunds and returns, resolving online disputes and more visit our Ways to Shop page.
Resolving a complaint
If you believe you have a legitimate complaint, the first step is to make every effort to sort out the problem directly with the trader or service provider. Be clear, firm and polite and state what the problem is and how you would like it fixed. Keep all relevant documents, such as receipts, warranties and quotes.
If you don’t reach a satisfactory outcome, you can contact us on 13 32 20, visit your nearest Service NSW centre or make a complaint online.
We provide free information about your rights and options to resolve disputes with traders. In some cases, our staff can contact the trader and attempt to negotiate a settlement.
If we are unable to successfully negotiate your matter, you can consider taking your dispute to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
The Tribunal provides independent, low cost and accessible dispute resolution in consumer or tenancy disputes. There is a fee to lodge an application. Application forms and the fee schedule can be obtained from the Tribunal’s website or by calling the Tribunal on 1300 006 228.
We fund community-based financial counselling services across the State. These services provide assistance to people in financial hardship. To find the service closest to you, call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. Go to the alternatives to high-cost credit page for more information.
Buying a car
Buying and maintaining a car can be very costly. Knowing what to look for could mean the difference between an enjoyable car purchase and an expensive mistake. Visit the motor vehicles page for more information.
Warranties and repairs
If you buy a new or used car from a motor dealer and have problems with warranty issues, call us for assistance on 13 32 20. We can give you information about your options for solving the problem. We can also help if you have problems with the cost or quality of repairs to your motor vehicle.
Home building and renovating
Thinking of building a new home or renovating? Only use a builder or tradesperson who is currently licensed with NSW Fair Trading. You can do a licence check online by visiting the online tools page or by calling 13 32 20.
Our website and building publications also contain lots of practical information, covering such things as the importance of written contracts, home warranty insurance and resolving building disputes for consumers, builders and tradespeople.
Renting a home
We provide information to tenants, landlords and real estate agents about their rights and responsibilities. This covers all residential premises, including residential parks. We also fund a number of community organisations to provide advice and advocacy to tenants across NSW.
Any money given to a landlord or their agent as a bond must be lodged with NSW Fair Trading. Go to the Renting page to find out more.
Buying or selling your home
We have information to help you buy or sell a home either at auction or by private sale. If you are using a real estate agent or conveyancer, you can check if they are properly licensed on our website or by calling 13 32 20. We also have information about buying ‘off the plan’ from a developer.
We provide information on all aspects of living in a strata or community scheme, including management and administration, and solving disputes.
Retirement villages and residential land lease communities
If you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities as a current or future resident or operator of a retirement village or land lease community (previously called residential park), visit the retirement villages page or the residential land lease community pages or contact NSW Fair Trading for help and advice on 13 32 20.
Starting a business
Your business may require some government licences and permits before it can start. To find out what licences you need, visit the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) website or call NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20.
Whatever your business, it is important to keep up-to-date with the laws affecting your industry. As well as covering all the latest reforms, our website provides a wide range of information to help you run your business, including how to provide quality service, how to deal with complaints, and how to protect yourself against scams that target businesses.
Associations and co-operatives
Give legal standing to your non-profit organisation by incorporating it as an association. This provides members with important legal protection.
A co-operative is a legal entity that is owned and controlled by its members for their mutual benefit. Our Registry Services can provide free information and assistance, as well as free association incorporation packages and co-operative information kits.
You can find out more, by calling Registry Services on 1800 502 042 or by visiting the associations and co-operatives page.
Organisations that intend to fundraise for charitable purposes must comply with certain requirements. Visit the charitable fundraising page for more information.
If you have any enquiries about charitable fundraising, including ordering stickers for collection bins, contact NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or email email@example.com .
Whether you are a retailer, wholesaler, manufacturer or importer, you need to comply with national product safety laws. In NSW, both NSW Fair Trading and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) play a role in their regulation.
Additionally, in NSW many electrical and gas appliances need to be approved before they are sold.
Security of payment
All contractors providing goods or services as part of building and construction work have the right to receive ‘progress payments’ for work delivered. There are payment requirements that principals, head contractors, subcontractors and suppliers must follow. Visit our security of payment page to learn more on how to make and respond to a payment claim, what to do if there is a dispute over a payment, how to apply for adjudication and key deadlines.
Some of our services have moved to other providers:
- REVS - visit the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) website or call 1300 007 777
- Business names - visit the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) website or call 1300 300 630.
- Retail tenancy kit and information - visit the Office of the Small Business Commissioner website or call 1300 795 534 (toll free) or 8222 4800.