Disputes about goods and non-financial services

This is Information Sheet 161 (INFO 161).

What are disputes about goods and services?

When you buy or sell goods or services, you enter into a contract with the provider of the goods or services. It may be a written agreement, an oral agreement, or a combination of both. If either party breaks the conditions of the agreement, this results in a contractual dispute.

A breach of contract is not a criminal matter, and a contract is enforceable only by civil action taken by the parties to the agreement. If the parties cannot resolve the dispute even after the help of Consumer Affairs, they will need to take the dispute to court themselves.

What you should do

It is important that you go to the right place to deal with a contractual dispute. Otherwise, you can waste time and money.

Seek legal advice

We recommend you seek legal advice to discuss your options or resolve the matter through mediation.

If you are unsure about how to access legal advice, contact the Law Society in your state or territory.

Get more information or assistance

For disputes about goods or services (including disputes with landlords), contact Consumer Affairs in your state or territory. 

ASIC and disputes about goods and services

ASIC does not get involved in disputes about goods and non-financial services. ASIC's role relates to financial services and products. If your dispute is about a financial service or product, see How to complain on ASIC's consumer website Moneysmart.

Contractual disputes are generally about the private rights or interests of individuals and do not affect investors or consumers in the broader economy. As such, we do not have the legal right to intervene.

For this reason, our role in helping you resolve a dispute is limited to suggesting other ways you can best address your concerns. We do not give legal advice. 

Where can I get more information?

Information sheets provide concise guidance on a specific process or compliance issue or an overview of detailed guidance.

This information sheet was issued in October 2012.

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Last updated: 16/03/2023 10:46