If you're unhappy about a product or service, or unsure whether something is legal, follow these simple steps to complain.
If your complaint involves a scam, see scams for who to report it to.
1. Contact the business
The first step is always to contact the business to explain the problem and how you'd like it fixed. In many cases a simple phone call, email or visit is all that is needed.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can contact the following organisations for help:
- ASIC's Indigenous Help Line — 1300 365 957
- Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network (North QLD) — 1800 369 878
- Good Service Mob (NSW) — 02 9268 5540
2. Write a letter of complaint to the business
If the problem isn't fixed with a simple call or visit, make a formal complaint to the business in writing.
In your letter or email, include:
- the word 'complaint' in the heading or subject line
- your name, contact details and the date
- a clear explanation of the problem
- copies of relevant documents, such as receipts or invoices
Keep the originals of any documents you send and a copy of your complaint letter.
You can use these templates to create a letter:
- Financial Rights Legal Centre's sample letter generator — for complaints about insurance, financial advice and bank accounts
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)'s complaint letter tool — for complaints about consumer products and services
3. Contact an independent complaints body
If the problem is still not resolved, you can complain to an independent body.
Financial services, energy, water and telecommunications businesses all belong to an External Dispute Resolution (EDR) scheme. The EDR scheme hears complaints for free.
An EDR scheme can help you if:
- The business didn't respond to your complaint within a reasonable time.
- You're not happy with how the business dealt with your complaint.
- You're not happy with the offer the business has made.
External Dispute Resolution (EDR) schemes
Financial organisations (banks, credit providers)
1800 931 678
1800 062 058
Energy and water
- ACT: ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal or 02 6207 1740
- NSW: Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW or 1800 246 545
- Northern Territory: Ombudsman for the Northern Territory or 1800 806 380
- Queensland: Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland or 1800 662 837
- South Australia: Energy and Water Ombudsman South Australia or 1800 665 565
- Tasmania: Energy Ombudsman Tasmania 1800 001 170, or Ombudsman Tasmania (for water) 1800 001 170
- Victoria: Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria or 800 500 509
- Western Australia: Ombudsman Western Australia or 08 9220 7555 or 1800 117 000
Consumer goods and services complaints
State government agencies help with complaints about consumer goods and services.
- ACT: Access Canberra website or 13 22 81
- NSW: Fair Trading NSW website or 13 32 20
- Northern Territory: NT Consumer Affairs website or 1800 019 319
- Queensland: Office of Fair Trading Queensland website or 13 74 68
- South Australia: Consumer and Business Services website or 13 18 82
- Tasmania: Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading website or 1300 654 499
- Victoria: Consumer Affairs Victoria website or 1300 558 181
- Western Australia: Department of Commerce website or 1300 304 054
Prices and competition complaints
The ACCC and the state government agencies above can help with complaints about prices, competition, unfair market practices, product safety, franchises and advertising.
Company misconduct complaints
If you believe there has been misconduct relating to the management of a company, its directors or officers, you can lodge a complaint with ASIC.
If you're not sure who to contact, call the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)'s Infoline — 1300 300 630.