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Consumer and trader disputes

Consumer and trader disputes

Who is a trader?

A trader is generally a person who in trade or commerce has a business that supplies goods or provides services.

However, a trader is not a person who supplies goods or provides services if that person’s work is not ordinarily regarded as being within trade or commerce.

Examples of persons who QCAT has previously decided do not meet the definition of traders are:

What is a consumer and trader dispute?

Consumer and trader disputes involve disputes against another person, trader or company arising out of a contract for the supply of goods and services, valued up to and including $25,000.

Goods include food, clothes, appliances and furniture.

Services include repairing a defect in a motor vehicle, car maintenance, meals served in restaurants and a haircut by a hairdresser.

However, your dispute may be a debt dispute, not a consumer and trader dispute, if it is about a fixed or agreed sum of money valued up to and including $25,000 e.g. a debt resulting from overhanging branches, an IOU or money lent and not repaid.

How can I resolve the dispute?

You should try and resolve your dispute directly with the other party by contacting them, holding a face-to-face meeting or writing to them. Some traders and companies have complaints processes in place or are part of an industry scheme that can resolve disputes.

Once you have reached agreement, you should write to the other party confirming your agreement. It is recommended that all parties sign the agreement and keep a copy.

If however, you are unable to reach a satisfactory outcome you can either choose to:

  • invite the other party to attend mediation which is a way of settling a dispute without legal action. The Department of Justice provides a free mediation service through its Dispute Resolution Centres, or
  • apply to QCAT to resolve your dispute. Claims must be lodged within six years of the incident happening.

Descriptions of QCAT's jurisdiction on this website are general information only. They do not definitively describe the types of applications on which QCAT can make decisions. The relevant legislation determines QCAT's jurisdiction. If you are unsure about your legal rights, you should seek legal advice. Your individual circumstances should guide any actions taken to resolve your dispute.

We cannot provide legal advice

As part of an independent tribunal, QCAT registry staff cannot provide legal advice.

Registry staff can explain and answer questions about how QCAT works and its processes.

Registry staff cannot help with:

* whether or not you should submit an application
* whether your application is under the correct jurisdiction
* if you should lodge an appeal or a counter-application
* recommending a specific lawyer to assist you
* how to word your application, supporting documents or what to say at a proceeding
* contacting a QCAT member or adjudicator directly
* predicting likely outcomes of a case or appeal
* helping you to prepare your case
* advising what orders/decisions you should seek
* enforcing an order or decision of the tribunal
* advising exact timeframes for resolution of a matter – this depends on your individual matter.

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Last reviewed
18 April 2017
Last updated
18 April 2017

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