Always try to resolve a problem with a business before seeking help from the ACCC. You can do this by speaking directly with the salesperson or manager or if this fails, by writing a complaint letter or email.
When writing a complaint letter you should:
- describe your problem and the outcome you want
- include key dates, such as when you purchased the goods or services and when the problem occurred
- identify what action you’ve already taken to fix the problem and what you will do if you and the seller cannot resolve the problem
- ask for a response within a reasonable time
- attach a copy of any supporting relevant documentation such as a receipt or invoice.
Below is a complaint letter template. You can use this outline, or our email template, to help you write a complaint letter (although you may wish to vary it to fit your particular problem).
[Email and/or phone]
Re: COMPLAINT ABOUT [INSERT NAME OF PRODUCT OR SERVICE] PURCHASED AT [INSERT BUSINESS NAME] ON [INSERT DATE]
State that you have a problem with goods or services bought from the business at a particular location and date and that you want the problem fixed.
Explain the key details of the problem including when you discovered it and any other steps you’ve already taken to get it fixed, such as a telephone call or a visit to the store. Note who you spoke to and any results of your efforts.
State that you have enclosed copies of relevant documents, such as a receipt of bank statement for proof of purchase.
State the steps you want the business to take to fix the problem.
State that you expect to hear from the business with a solution by [insert date or within 10 days]. Describe what you intend to do if the business fails to fix the problem—such as making a formal complaint to the ACCC or the consumer protection agency in your state or territory.
List your business and after hours contact details.
Enclosed: Copy of the receipt for [insert name of product or service]
Below is an example of a possible finished letter using the complaint letter template.
1 January 2013
RE: COMPLAINT ABOUT FAULTY TELEVISION CABINET PURCHASED AT CABINET WORLD ON 15 DECEMBER 2012
I am unhappy with the quality of a television cabinet I bought at 5 Street on 15 December and I am writing to seek a replacement.
The cabinet doors do not open and shut properly and the stain on the cabinet is uneven, with one half darker than the other. The cabinet was delivered on 30 December and I noticed this problem as soon as I unpacked it from the box.
The cabinet is not of acceptable quality and does not match the sample cabinet I was shown in store. I would like you to replace it with one of the same quality and finish as the sample and arrange for return of the faulty cabinet at no cost.
I have attached a photocopy of my receipt as proof of purchase.
I would like to have this problem fixed quickly please. If I do not hear from you within 10 days, I will lodge a formal complaint with Consumer Affairs in my state.
You can contact me on 1234 5678 during working hours or after hours on 123 456 789 to discuss this matter further.
Enclosed: Copy of the receipt for television cabinet