General complaint handling

NSW Fair Trading provides information to consumers and traders to assist them in resolving marketplace disputes. When parties are unable to reach a settlement, a complaint may be lodged and Fair Trading then provides informal dispute resolution.

What happens when a complaint is made?

The complaint will be assessed to determine:

  • the issues in dispute and options which will help to resolve the complaint
  • if a breach of the law has occurred
  • if the matter would be better handled by another organisation.

If it's more appropriate for the matter to be handled by another organisation, we will advise you which organisation it is and provide you with contact details.

What can we do to help resolve complaints?

We will contact each party to seek a mutual resolution to the complaint. We aim to resolve most complaints within 30 days. Please keep in mind that if a complaint is complex or the parties do not co-operate, then this time may vary. Please also keep in mind that we cannot order or direct either party to resolve the complaint, only a court or a tribunal can do this.

What happens if the complaint is not resolved?

If a mutual agreement between the parties is not reached, we will provide options that may assist you to reach a resolution. This may include tribunals, other government departments or independent legal advice.

What happens if the trader is in another State or Territory?

If you are a resident in New South Wales and have a problem with a product or service you purchased in another state or territory of Australia, you can discuss it with us and you can lodge a complaint with us.

We will follow our normal complaint handling processes and endeavour to conciliate with the trader to resolve the complaint. If we are unable to conciliate the matter for you we will provide you with appropriate options in order to pursue the matter.

What happens when the law has been broken? 

If we find that the law has been broken, we will inform the trader and seek to remedy this. In some cases, we will also consider if more action is needed to protect other consumers. Please keep in mind that, generally, this action does not help to get a resolution to a dispute but is aimed at preventing future problems.

Go to the investigating consumer complaints page for more detail on our process for dealing with complaints.

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