Resolve your problem

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Follow the steps below to find information about how to resolve your problem.

If your problem isn't solved after following these steps, we may be able to help you.

The first step to resolving a problem is knowing your rights. Our website has:

  • information to help you understand your rights and meet your obligations
  • answers to common questions
  • self-help tools such as videos, forms, checklists and template letters.

Search our information on:

We provide information and advice on a variety of topics but sometimes there are other organisations that can help you better.

To find the best organisations to help you with your problem or complaint, view Who to go to for help.

The second step to resolving a problem or complaint is speaking with the people involved to try to agree on a resolution. 

The business

Explain the problem you have with the product or service by approaching the business, either:

  • in person
  • over the phone
  • by email, or the business' social media page.

Make sure you are speaking with someone who has the authority to address your issue, such as the manager.

Depending on the problem, you can ask the business to provide one of the following remedies:

  • refund your money
  • repair your product
  • replace your product
  • fix the work.

Keep notes of your contact with the business, such as the:

  • name of the person you spoke to
  • date of your meeting/phone call/social media post
  • content of your discussion.

Your landlord or property manager

Explain the problem or issue to your rental provider, property manager, caravan or residential park owner, or rooming house operator first.

  • Ask them to fix it. Rental providers and property managers have specific obligations to renters and residents (see Step 3 below).
  • Ask when they will be able to resolve your problem.
  • Keep notes of your discussion in case you need to refer to them later.

Your owners corporation

Owners corporations have specific procedures for resolving problems. You do not need to follow steps 3 or 4 below. For more information, view Complaint handling in your owners corporation.

Your retirement village

Retirement villages have specific procedures for resolving problems. You do not need to follow steps 3 or 4 below. For more information, view Resolving disputes in your retirement village.

The third step to resolving a problem or complaint, if required, is writing to the people involved and including relevant information from our website, as explained below. 

The business

If speaking to the business has not resolved the problem, send them a complaint letter or email. Act quickly - delays can sometimes affect your rights.

Putting your complaint in writing is useful because you will have a record:

  • of discussions you had with the business
  • to show a third party if you choose to take your complaint further later on
  • to show that you tried to resolve the problem yourself.

You can use the following templates:


  • If your issue is with a franchise (chain store), write to the manager of the store and send a copy to its head office.
  • You may want to state that if the business does not reply, you will be taking your complaint further.
  • Send your letter by registered post or email and keep a copy for yourself. If you end up taking your complaint further, you will need to show your letter or email to the third party.
  • Check if the business belongs to an industry association or body. Industry bodies often have dispute resolution processes in place to help consumers and their members resolve disputes. View our Who to go to for help page.
  • Contacting a business via its social media page can be an effective way of getting a quick response to your problem. 


There is no set 'reasonable' time in which a business must resolve your problem, as this can depend on the product or service and the nature of the remedy.

You should allow enough time for the business to receive and reply to your letter or email and to try and fix the problem. It might be worth sending them a reminder letter or email if you do not hear from them within a week.

Your rental provider or property manager

Rental providers (previously known as landlords) and property managers (estate agents) must meet the terms of their rental agreement and the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. For more information about these obligations, view our Renting section.

You can use formal written notices to inform them that you have a problem that needs fixing. The notice you use will depend on the problem.

Use our Notice to residential rental provider of rented premises (97KB Word) to tell your rental provider or property manager that:

  • the property needs repairs. For more information, view our Repairs in rental properties page
  • you have arranged and paid for urgent repairs and want them to repay you. For more information, view our Repairs in rental properties page
  • you have paid utility charges that are not your responsibility and want them to repay you. For more information, view our Paying for utilities and services page 
  • you have caused or become aware of damage to the property. This includes damage caused by people you have invited to the property
  • you have signed a rental agreement but are not going to move in
  • you are the legal representative or next of kin of a tenant who has died
  • you are going to vacate the property. For more information, view our Giving notice as a renter page.

Use our Notice of breach of duty to residential rental provider of rented premises (Word, 112KB) to tell your rental provider or property manager that:

  • the property is not suitable for occupation
  • you have not been allowed quiet enjoyment of the property
  • the property has not been maintained in good repair
  • locks or keys have not been provided.

If speaking and writing to the people involved does not resolve your problem or complaint, the next step is to take the matter further. 

With the business

If the business does not resolve the problem, what you do next depends on how you paid for the product or service.

How you paid

What to do

Via credit card

Contact your bank or credit card provider for a chargeback. This effectively reverses the credit card charge, and is similar to a refund. Act quickly as time limits apply. For more information, view our Chargeback page.

Note: The chargeback process is with your credit card provider, separate from any other dispute resolution process such as those with eBay or PayPal.

Via an online auction house

Most auction houses have a dispute resolution service. For example, you can report a problem to eBay's Resolution Centre up to 45 days after receiving your purchase. If you paid via PayPal, you will be automatically directed from eBay to the PayPal Resolution Centre.

Via PayPal

You can file a dispute through PayPal's Resolution Centre within 180 days of paying for the item.

Note: If your purchase qualifies for PayPal's Buyer Protection, you are covered for the full purchase price and original shipping costs.

Via online cash transfer

If you used an instant cash transfer system (such as Western Union or MoneyGram), or if you deposited your money directly into the seller's bank account, it can be very difficult to track your money once the seller has collected it.

If you used an instant cash transfer system, you can contact the police who may be able to assist.

With your rental provider or property manager

You can contact us to discuss your next steps. We may:

If you have tried to resolve your problem or complaint yourself and it remains unresolved, we may choose to offer assistance through our voluntary dispute services.

We accept complaints in the following circumstances:

  • The problem is about a business or rental provider/property manager. We do not accept complaints about consumers or renters.
  • You have made a reasonable attempt to resolve the problem with the business or rental provider/property manager.
  • The problem is within our jurisdiction and not more appropriately handled by another organisation. For more information, view our Who to go to for help page.
  • Legislation or contractual rights appear to have been breached.
  • The problem has a reasonable chance of being resolved.
  • You have paid by credit card and a chargeback has failed to resolve the problem.
  • The courts or a tribunal have not already ruled on the matter, and there is no case pending.

If we decide your problem is suitable for our dispute services, we will:

  • contact the business or rental provider/property manager on your behalf 
  • identify the issues
  • explore options for a resolution that are consistent with the law.

We cannot make anyone speak to us and we cannot enforce an outcome - only a court or tribunal have this power. If our involvement does not resolve the problem, we will generally give you information on taking your complaint further by applying to a court or tribunal, such as the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), or getting your own legal advice.

We also keep a record of any information we receive for possible further compliance or enforcement action.

Use our General complaint form if:

  1. you are unable to resolve your problem
  2. your complaint fits our criteria for dispute services 
  3. and you need us to get involved.

We will determine whether we can help you resolve the matter over the phone. If your matter is complex, or if we will need more information - such as documentation or receipts - we will ask you to complete the relevant complaint form below. Please read the information carefully before you begin the form: