If you have a complaint with a company, government agency or an individual, it is best to take it to try and resolve it with the immediate party in the first instance.
If you feel you have not achieved a satisfactory resolution after raising the matter with the party involved, you can take your complaint to an industry body or the relevant ombudsman who will conduct an independent investigation.
Making a complaint about the GovernmentFederal government
The Commonwealth Ombudsman can investigate complaints involving federal government agencies such as Centrelink and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as any matter involving the Defence Forces, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Tax Office.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman also investigates completes over Freedom of Information requests. To find out what kind of complaints the ombudsman can investigate, click here.State and territory ombudsmen
You can make complaints about the actions or decisions of state or territory governments by contacting the relevant office in your area.
They cover complaints relating to government departments such as the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education, most statutory authorities such as Vic Roads and universities as well as local government.The state and territory ombudsmen can also investigate actions of local council staff and complaints to do with relevant freedom of information requests.
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Complaints should be made in writing and be signed by you or on your behalf. All relevant facts and correspondence should be included.
Ombudsmen do not investigate complaints that are more than 12 months old or complaints which may be appropriately decided by a court or tribunal.
Making a complaint about a businessMisleading advertising
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will handle complaints about advertising that is misleading. The ACCC is responsible for investigating breaches of the Trade Practices Act.Banking and finance
If you have a complaint about the financial competence of banks, other financial institutions, superannuation funds or insurance companies, tell the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
For complaints about consumer credit, you can talk to the consumer affairs office in your state and territory.
The Banking and Financial Services Ombudsman deals with complaints from individuals and small businesses regarding their financial services providers.
If you have a complaint about your mortgage or credit provider, you can tell the Credit Ombudsman.
For more information about complaining about financial services products and businesses, click here.
There is also a Financial Industry Complaints Service which deals with any issues you might have with life insurance, superannuation, funds management, financial advice, investment advice and sales of financial and investment products. All licensed investment advisers are required to be members of FICS.Broadcast, print and online media
The Australian Broadcasting Authority will hear complaints about television or radio programs as well as internet sites and online newsgroups. However, you must, by law, have first made your complaint directly to the relevant station or website.
If you have a complaint about a newspaper or magazine, the Australian Press Council will hear it.Door-to-door sales
If you have signed an unfair contract arising from a door to door sale, click here.Faulty or unsafe goods
If you believe there has been any misconduct or illegal activity by companies or people you are dealing with, tell the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.Franchising
The Office of the Mediation Adviser helps franchisors and franchisees resolve their problems and disputes without going to court.Health insurance
The Private Health Insurance Industry Ombudsman deals with consumer complaints about private health insurance.Motor vehicles
To complain about a contract you have entered into to buy a motor vehicle, problems with warranty work or poor quality repair work, contact the consumer affairs department in your state or territory.Real estate and residential tenancy
For complaints about landlords and rental agreements, visit the Fair Trading office in your state or territory.
Complaints about real estate agents can also be directed to the Real Estate Institute in each state.Superannuation
The Superannuation Complaints Tribunal deals with consumer complaints regarding superannuation, deferred annuities and Retirement Savings Accounts.Telecommunications
For help with unfair mobile phone contracts, click here.
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman deals with complaints that consumers have not been able to resolve with their telephone or internet company.Telemarketers
The Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) has a "do not contact" register which you can ask to be added to. While it cannot cover rogue operators, people on the register will no longer be contacted by ADMA' members.
You can also make a complaint about a purchase you have made by mail, internet, telephone or from a catalogue, or about the behaviour of the company concerned.Travel
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents represents more than 2000 retail agencies, industry organisations, hotels, wholesalers and tour operators, all of whom have to abide by a code of ethics.
Complaints should be made in writing to the AFTA head office.
If you have suffered financial loss because a travel agency has collapsed or the agency has not passed on your money to the service provider (such as a tour operator or a hotel), you can complain to the Travel Compensation Fund. Make sure the agency you are dealing with is licensed.Utilities suppliers
If you have a complaint about your electricity, gas or water supplier, contact the energy and water ombudsman in your state.New South Wales
If you have been the victim of spam or unsolicited email, visit the Australian Broadasting Authority.
Weight loss products and centres
The Weight Management Code Administration Council of Australia administers a code of practice which its members should adhere to.The council will receive complaints about companies and individuals in the industry. You can also contact the consumer affairs department in your state.