Resolve your problem or complaint

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Write to the people involved

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

The business

If speaking to the business directly 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 made a reasonable attempt to resolve the problem yourself.

You can use the following templates:

Your landlord or property manager

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 landlord of rented premises (Word, 1.9MB) to tell your landlord or property manager that:

Use our Notice of breach of duty to landlord of rented premises (Word, 729KB) to tell your landlord 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.

Tips

  • If your issue is with a franchise (chain store), write to the manager of the store you originally dealt with, 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 (use one of the options in Step 4).
  • 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. Note: The public nature of social media means that your post may be viewed publicly - whether you contact the business via direct message or not. Consider this carefully when drafting your post.

Timeframes

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 start making arrangements for a remedy; however, it might be worth sending them a reminder letter or email if you do not hear from them within a week.