Contacting a business to fix a problem

  • The first step is to contact the business itself. Often a phone call or visit can fix the issue.
  • You can write a complaint letter to the business. Use our tool to help you.
  • If the problem isn’t fixed, there are other steps you can take.

What the ACCC does

  • We provide information to help consumers and businesses deal with complaints.
  • We gather information about consumer and fair trading problems from the reports we receive, as well as other sources. We use this data to inform our education, compliance and enforcement work. Find out more in our Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
  • We focus our work on issues that can result in widespread harm.

What the ACCC can’t do

  • We don’t resolve individual complaints or provide legal advice on your rights and obligations under the law.
  • We generally don’t comment on our investigations or what action we may take from the information provided in reports we receive.

Contact the business

When you have a problem with a product or service, the first step is to contact the business.

Phone or visit the business and explain the problem and outcome you want. Do this as soon as possible.

The owner, manager, or customer service contact may be able to fix the problem quickly, or explain how they can fix the problem and when they will do this.

Understand your consumer rights and guarantees

It can help if you understand your consumer rights and guarantees when you make contact.

You have rights under consumer law if:

Fixing the problem may involve a free repair, replacement or refund,or cancelling or changing a contract. You may also be entitled to compensation for damages and loss.

Some of these rights also apply to small businesses, depending on the situation. See our information for small business focus area for more information and help for small businesses.

Write a complaint to the business

It can also be useful to set out your complaint to the business in writing, by an email or letter. That way they’re clearly aware of the problem, what you want, and you have a record of your contact.

What to include in a complaint

When writing a complaint you should:

  • describe the 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 can’t 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.

Complaint letter tool and example

Use our complaint letter tool to develop your written complaint.

You can post or email the complaint letter to the business. You can vary it to fit your particular problem.

Use our complaint letter tool

Below is an example of a complaint letter.

Dear Manager

RE: COMPLAINT ABOUT FAULTY TELEVISION CABINET PURCHASED AT CABINET WORLD ON 15 DECEMBER 2022

I am unhappy with the quality of a television cabinet I bought at Cabinet World on 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.

Yours sincerely,

Jane Brown

Enclosed: Copy of the receipt for television cabinet

Next steps if a business won’t fix the problem

Where to go for consumer help

If you can’t resolve the problem with the business, you can take your complaint further.

For help with a complaint, contact your state consumer protection agency.

Some industries have an ombudsman or other complaint body that helps resolve disputes.

You also have the option of taking legal action. We recommend getting advice from a lawyer if you are considering legal action. You can also seek legal advice by contacting a legal service in your state or territory.

Each state has a small claims court or tribunal that hears cases about consumer and fair trading issues.

Find out more about where to go for consumer help.

Report a problem to the ACCC

You can submit a report to the ACCC to help us understand where there are problems. Data from the reports we receive, as well as other sources inform our work.

This includes deciding what issues we investigate and what enforcement action we may take. We also use this information to inform what compliance and education activities we undertake, as well as industry engagement, advocacy and research.

We focus our work on issues that can result in widespread harm. You can read more about our approach to compliance and enforcement work in our Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

Make a report to the ACCC

See also

Receipts
Repair, replace, refund

Consumer rights and guarantees

Where to go for consumer help