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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 Branch, or
  • apply to QCAT to resolve your dispute. Claims must be lodged within six years of the incident happening.
Any description of QCAT's jurisdiction on this website is general information only and is not intended to precisely define the types of applications that QCAT has the power to decide. QCAT's jurisdiction is determined by the relevant legislation. If you are unsure about your legal rights you should seek legal advice. Any actions taken to resolve your dispute should be determined by your individual circumstances.

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Last reviewed
26 November 2013
Last updated
24 May 2016

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