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Lodge a complaint

There are three steps to follow when making a complaint.

Step 1 - Contact the seller or service provider

Step 2 - Contact Consumer Affairs or another third party

Step 3 - Take legal action

Step 1 - Contact the seller or service provider

As soon as possible, contact the business to explain the problem and the outcome you want.  In many cases, a simple phone call or visit can fix the problem.

The business might ask you for proof of purchase and discuss whether it is a minor or major problem to determine a repair, replacement or refund.

It is a good idea to write a letter of complaint to the business or trader - that way, the seller is clearly aware of the problem and what you want, and you also have a record of your contact.

Step 2 - Contact Consumer Affairs or another third party

If you are still having difficulty resolving your problem, you may want to seek assistance.

Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading can provide information on a variety of consumer law matters but are unable to provide legal advice.  It may be appropriate, depending on your individual circumstances, to seek independent legal advice.

The best place to go for consumer help will depend on your circumstances.

Step 3 - Take legal action

Consider getting independent legal advice about what available options suit your circumstances.  Your local community legal centre, legal aid office, or your lawyer could give you some advice.

You may wish to take your matter to the Civil court the jurisdiction will depend on the value involved.

For disputes involving large sums of money, you may be able to take private legal action.

Make sure you get legal advice first, as legal action can be expensive and there is no guarantee you will be successful.

When a complaint is received

It must be in writing!

You can use the CAFT Online Complaint Form (which is lodged directly with CAFT) or print and complete the hard copy Consumer Complaint Form [pdf/53kb/2 pages] and return to CAFT:

Consideration is given to a number of factors prior to initiating an investigation, including the following:

  • Nature of the breach;
  • Jurisdiction - whether the offence or business was or is in Tasmania;
  • Number of complaints received against the business;
  • Previous non-compliance history;
  • Seriousness and consequences of the breach;
  • How the breach can be rectified - education, advice or alternative dispute resolution;
  • Likelihood of a suitable outcome; and
  • An effective use of our resources.

All complaints are prioritised so that the most critical complaints are responded to first. This may result in little or no action being taken on a complaint that is assessed as a low priority.

All complaints are prioritised on the following basis:

  • Successful resolution is necessary immediately to rectify a threat of serious injury;
  • Whether blatant breaches of the legislation we administer are alleged and specific evidence or information has been provided;
  • The number of people affected or disadvantaged by the alleged issue; and
  • Whether there is a systemic or recurring issue.

On the basis of no criminal breach being identified, you will be advised in writing and suggested alternate remedies that may be available to you in settlement of your dispute will be discussed.

Note: We are unable to act on your behalf in settlement of civil disputes or as your advocate in a dispute resolution.  Matters will only be investigated as deemed appropriate and proper by the Director.

Selecting matters for investigation

Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading identifies far more issues and contraventions of legislation than it has resources to fully investigate. In light of this, resources must be allocated where we can best influence non-compliant conduct. In some cases, low level compliance activities may be pursued where this is likely to secure redress for the consumer. Similarly, enforcement action may be pursued where there is high likelihood of success.

Our compliance and enforcement priorities change from time to time and are currently identified as: -.

  • Residential tenancy;
  • Product safety; and
  • Licensed occupations [including Security and Motor Vehicle Traders].

View further information on the legislation administered by us.