As a consumer you have rights when you purchase things in Australia. Goods and services must meet certain standards and, in some cases, you may be entitled to a refund if these standards are not met. This is something that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) can help you with. Information on your consumer rights and guarantees can be found here on the OFT website.
Before lodging a complaint with the OFT you should first contact the trader to let them know of the problem. You can contact the trader in person, over the phone or in writing. The trader can only try and help you if they know there’s a problem. The OFT can give you advice on how to solve these issues.
Some tips for contacting a trader include:
• If you contact the trader in writing, send photocopies of your receipts and guarantees. Don’t send the original documents. The business might misplace them or they could get lost in the mail.
• Send them a reminder if you don’t hear back from them after about 2 weeks. Don’t let them ignore you.
• Set a deadline. Tell them you expect to hear back from them and get an answer by then.
Sometimes the business won’t or cannot help, even if you write or phone or visit them. If this happens, you can make a formal complaint with the OFT. You can do this by:
Consumer organisations, such as the Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network can help you fill in the complaint form, but you will need to sign it yourself.
When we get your complaint, we can:
• contact the trader and try to settle the matter.
• investigate whether they might have broken the law
• take action to stop them if we think they have broken the law.
The OFT can try to help with a number of issues you’re having with a trader or business. If you’re experiencing problems with your consumer rights then have a look at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading and find out more.