Application for minor civil dispute - consumer and trader

1. Before you apply to QCAT

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 and Attorney-General provides a free mediation service through its Dispute Resolution Centres, or
  • apply to QCAT as set out below to resolve your dispute. Claims must be lodged within six years of the incident happening

2. Correctly name the parties to the dispute

If you proceed with making an application to QCAT, the applicant and respondent must be named correctly. If the party is not an individual then you must use the precise/exact company name, a business name (whether it is registered or not, including real estate agencies), or the name of a State agency or department.

To ensure that you are taking action against the right organisation you MUST include the correct ACN/ABN for the company or business name. If you do not correctly name a party you may not be able to enforce any order made against them if you succeed in your claim. You can find more information on identifying and naming the parties or contact the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) for business name and company information here (a search fee may be charged).

3. Complete and lodge online (Brisbane only)

If you live in Brisbane, QCAT now offers an online portal for you to securely file applications, referrals or documents electronically, view, manage and respond to your consumer, trader or property damage caused by a motor vehicle case. This fully-digital case management system makes filing and managing your case easier and more accessible by allowing you to:

  • view case information and documents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; access via desktop, laptop, mobile phone, and tablet
  • receive case updates and notifications in real time
  • lodge documents any time on any day of the week

QCase online portal

4. Complete and lodge this form manually

If you live outside of Brisbane, or you cannot access the online portal, you can complete and lodge the application for consumer, trader or property damage caused by a motor vehicle form listed below. Carefully read the form instructions, answer each question and tick an appropriate box when prompted. When you apply you must ensure:

  • The other party’s name, address, email and all other contact information is included. You can name more than one applicant or respondent in an application. If there is more than one, then everyone MUST be named. If there is not enough space to include additional parties, you can attach the contact details (name and address details) on a separate sheet of paper to the application.
  • A monetary value associated with the outcomes you are seeking is included.
  • Copies of all relevant documents, including but not limited to contracts, invoices, receipts and colour copies of photographs are included, such as:
For disputes about services:
  • include the date you made the agreement with the trader (verbal or written), for example, the date you accepted a quote and rang to arrange the work
  • describe the services the trader agreed to supply
  • include the amount you agreed to pay
  • include the services provided; and
  • include the date you paid the trader and how much you paid
For disputes about goods:
  • include the date you made an agreement with the trader (verbal or written), for example, the date you bought the goods
  • describe the goods such as the brand name, model number, serial number, registered number, size and quantity
  • include how much you agreed to pay
  • include the date you received the goods
  • include the date you paid the trader and how much you paid; and
  • explain what the trader told you about the quality of the goods or the way they would perform
For all disputes you should:
  • describe the problems you have had
  • explain what you did about the problems and any repairs done (who did the repairs and when; how much they cost) or explain what needs to be done to correct the problems and include quotes you have obtained
  • write down facts only – do not make emotional remarks; and
  • state if the goods cannot be repaired

When filing an application, you are required to file the application and supporting material along with three copies, plus one extra copy for every additional party named in the dispute, in one of the following ways:

In person or via mail to your local Magistrates CourtClick here to find a list of Queensland Magistrates Courts.
In person at the Brisbane registry

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Floor 11, 259 Queen Street
Brisbane Qld 4000

Mail to the Brisbane registry

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
GPO Box 1639
Brisbane Qld 4001

*Please note that if the application is posted to the Brisbane registry, it will be heard and determined in Brisbane.

You are required to pay a fee for this application. Minor civil dispute filing fees are based on a sliding scale of how much is being claimed. You must pay the appropriate fee at the time of lodgement – (Credit card authorisation form for mail payments)

You can apply for a waiver of fees by reason of financial hardship by completing a Form 49 – Application for waiver or reduction of fees by reason of financial hardship.  Applicants must meet the relevant eligibility criteria.

Form 1 - Application for a minor civil dispute - consumer dispute

The purpose of this form is to make an application about a consumer/trader dispute or dispute related to property damage caused by a motor vehicle.

PDF File (624.9 KB)

5. Giving your application to the other parties to the dispute

In consumer trader disputes, you are required to serve your application on the other parties to the dispute. QCAT will provide a sealed copy of your application and any attachments to you after the application is filed and accepted.  You then have 7 days to serve a sealed copy of the application and attachments on the other parties to the dispute.

You can serve the application personally, by post or use the services of a Magistrates Court bailiff, commercial agent or process server.

Visit this page for further information on service requirements.

Once the respondent has been served, the person who served the applicant (could be you, a bailiff, or another person) must complete an affidavit of service and file this with QCAT. An affidavit is a statement sworn under oath/affirmation in the presence of a commissioner of declarations, justice of the peace or a lawyer. The affidavit is required to prove the application has been given to the respondent. You do not need to give a copy to the respondent.

Form 9 - Affidavit of service

The purpose of this form is to prove your application has been served on all other parties. This form must be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace.

PDF File (520.4 KB)

6. If you are having difficulty serving the respondent

If you are having difficulty serving the respondent and require permission to serve via substituted service or require an extension of time limit for service, you will need to complete the application to extend or shorten a time limit or for waiver of compliance with procedural requirement below. This application will then be considered by a QCAT decision-maker, and you will be advised of the outcome.

Form 42 - Application to extend or shorten a time limit or for waiver of compliance with procedural requirement

The purpose of this form is to ask QCAT for permission to make your application outside the 28 day or other statutory review timeframe.

PDF File (738.1 KB)
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7. What happens next?

Once QCAT has accepted your application, you will be provided with a case number to keep track of your case.

You can find out what happens after you apply.