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Can I resolve my dispute before going to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal?

Yes. There are steps you can take to resolve your dispute without going to QCAT.

Step 1. Negotiate

You can try to resolve the dispute directly with the trader by calling them or visiting the store where you bought the goods or services.

Before you contact the trader to discuss the dispute you should:

  • write down what you need to tell them
  • have your receipts, warranty details, any guarantees and other documents handy.

When you talk to the trader you should:

  • make a note of the time and date of the conversation
  • take down brief details of what was said and the name of the person you spoke to.

You can follow up your call with a letter outlining your conversation and explaining anything you have agreed to.

Step 2. Send a letter

You can write a letter to the trader telling them you have a problem with the service or goods you received and stating what you want done to fix the problem. Keep a copy of the letter for your records.

View a sample letter(PDF, 102KB)

Who do I write to?

It is important to write your letter to the correct trading identity. The correct trading name should be on the tax invoice the trader gave you when you paid them. You can also look up the business name and Australian Business Number (ABN) on the internet by searching the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s Organisation and Business Names database at www.asic.gov.au.

If the trader has a business name

If the trader is an individual or a firm using a business name, you need to look up the trading name to find the correct address and all the business owners’ names. You can access this information by searching the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s (ASIC) Organisations and Business Names database—www.asic.gov.au. You can search some information for free, while other more detailed information is available for a fee.

If the trader does not have a business name

If the trader is an individual and doesn’t have a business name, write your letter to the individual, using their full name and street address.

If the trader is a company

If the trader is a company you need to find out the full company name, its company number and its registered address.

You can get these details by doing a company extract search at an ASIC service centre. These searches are normally done by an information broker. To find an information broker or your nearest ASIC service centre go to www.asic.gov.au or call 1300 300 630. The website also has information about the latest search fees.

Step 3. Complaint processes and dispute resolution schemes

Some traders have a complaints process you can use to have your complaint assessed by someone in the company.

Many are part of industry schemes that can resolve disputes.

You can invite the trader to attend mediation to try and resolve the dispute without legal action. The Queensland Government provides a free mediation service through Dispute Resolution Centres throughout Queensland. For more information visit www.justice.qld.gov.au.

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