Making a Complaint

It is best to first try to resolve your complaint with the person or organisation you have a problem with. This is often the best way to have your complaint resolved quickly. Use the following steps to guide you when making a complaint:

1. Define your complaint

Describe what the complaint is and how it affects you.
Collect any evidence you have like a purchase receipt or a photo of damage.
If you have more than one complaint, make a list and resolve them one at a time.

2. Describe who or what is causing the problem

This might be a person or an organisation. If it is an organisation, who can you talk to at the organisation about resolving your complaint?

3. Describe how you want things to change and the outcome you want

In an ideal world, what would a good outcome for you look like? This might be getting a refund for a purchase you made, or having someone behave differently around you in the future.

Decide what is really important to you, what are you willing and not willing to negotiate on?

4. Write down the complaint and the outcomes you want

Write down the complaint and the outcome you want, or get someone to help you write about the complaint and the outcome you want.

Decide whether you are going to meet with a person to discuss your complaint , complain in a phone call, or write to a person about your complaint.

5. Tell the person or organisation you have a complaint

Set aside time to write to the person or organisation about your complaint. Explain your complaint and how you want it fixed. You may have to include in your letter copies of receipts or pictures as evidence of your complaint.

You might prefer to meet in person to explain your complaint. You might need to make an appointment to do this. Take evidence of your complaint with you to show the person you are discussing your complaint with.
Explain the problem to the person and how it is affecting you. Explain you want the situation fixed and when you would like it fixed by.

Don’t rush the discussion, set aside enough time to discuss your problem with the other person and come to a solution together that you can both agree on.

6. Give the person or organisation time to resolve your complaint

Some complaints can be resolved immediately, like getting a refund for faulty goods, other complaints take longer to solve, like making policy changes in an organisation. Give the person or organisation time to resolve your complaint so that you are satisfied with the outcome.

7. Assess the outcome and take further action if necessary

Review your situation after allowing enough time for your desired outcome to occur.

Are you happy with the outcome?
Decide if you need to report your complaint to another agency to get the outcome you want.

Organisations that can help you with your Complaint

If meeting with a person or writing a letter doesn’t resolve your complaint, the following organisations may be able to help you: 

The Conflict Resolution Service

The Conflict Resolution Service brings people together to talk through issues and work things out. They help people resolve disagreements between neighbours, family members, work colleagues, landlords and tenants.

Phone 6189 0590

ACT Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission handles complaints in the ACT about discrimination, harassment, health and disability services, services for older people and for children and young people, and the abuse, neglect or exploitation of vulnerable persons. The Human Rights Commission will get both sides of the story and help those involved to resolve the complaint. Their services are free.

Phone 6205 2222

Canberra Community Law

Canberra Community Law (CCL) provides a specialist disability discrimination law service for anyone treated unfairly due to either having a disability or being associated with someone with a disability.

Phone 6218 7900
Translating and Interpreting Service 131 450
National Relay Service Voice 1300 555 727 or SMS 0423 677 767 or TTY 133 677

NDIS Complaints

If you have a complaint about the supports you receive under your NDIS plan, you should first raise it with your provider as this is often the best way to have your issue resolved quickly. If your complaint is not resolved by your service provider, or you are not sure who your service provider is, get in touch with the NDIS Quality and Safety Commission.

Phone 1800 035 544
TTY 133 677
National Relay Service Voice 1300 555 727 or SMS 0423 677 767 or TTY 133 677

Official Visitor

Official Visitors review the treatment of and investigate complaints from people living in accommodation and or in the care of the ACT Government.

Phone 1800 150 036

Complaints to Housing ACT

The Client Review and Response team is the first point of contact for tenants or members of the public wanting to make a complaint about Housing ACT services, clients, staff, or Housing ACT processes and policies.

Phone 6207 1515

Write to Complaints Management Unit, Locked Bag 3000, Belconnen ACT 2617

ACT Community Services Directorate

If making a complaint to the relevant area of the Directorate does not resolve your issue, the Quality, Complaints and Regulation Unit may be able to assist you.

Phone 6207 5474

Write to Quality, Complaints and Regulation, ACT Community Services Directorate, GPO Box 158, Canberra ACT 2601

ACT Ombudsman

The ACT Ombudsman investigates and helps people sort out problems they may have with the ACT Government and ACT Policing.

Phone 6276 3773 10:30am to 3:00pm Monday to Friday
Phone the indigenous line 1800 060 789

Write to ACT Ombudsman, GPO Box 442, Canberra ACT 2601

ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT)

ACAT is an independent body that hears and decides on civil disputes between individuals, companies and government agencies. Disputes may be about contracts, damages, debt, goods, fences, nuisance, rental properties or trespass. ACAT can also make a range of orders about guardianship, property management and about a person’s mental health treatment, care or support.

Phone 6207 1740

Write to ACAT, GPO Box 370, Canberra ACT 2601

Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)

AFCA helps customers make complaints about financial firms such as banks, insurers, financial planners, mortgage brokers, and superannuation funds for free. AFCA brings both parties together to resolve the complaint and achieve fair outcomes.

Phone 1800 931 678

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

The Telecommunications Ombudsman’s role is to sort out complaints and disputes consumers have with telephone and internet providers, quickly and fairly at no cost to the person making the complaint.

Phone 1800 062 058
Translating and Interpreting Service 131 450
National Relay Service Voice 1300 555 727 or SMS 0423 677 767 or TTY 133 677

Write to PO Box 276, Collins Street West, Victoria 8007

Commonwealth Ombudsman

The Commonwealth Ombudsman investigates complaints about the actions and decisions made by Australian Government agencies to see if they are wrong, unjust, unlawful, discriminatory or just plain unfair. Complaints about goods and services provided by contractors employed by the Australian Government are also investigated by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Phone 1300 362 072 10:30am to 3:00pm Monday to Friday
Translating and Interpreter Service 131 450
National Relay Service TTY 133 677 then ask for 1300 362 072, Speak and Listen phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 1300 362 072