Debt disputes

Debt disputes

What is a debt dispute?

Debt disputes involve disagreements with another person, business or company about a fixed or agreed sum of money, valued up to and including $25,000 (excluding interest). Examples of a debt dispute include:

  • money owed for the removal of minor overhanging branches
  • unpaid invoice or account
  • rent arrears, other than arrears of rent for a residential tenancy
  • work done and/or goods supplied with the cost having been agreed beforehand
  • money lent and not repaid
  • IOUs
  • dishonoured cheques.

Your claim may be a consumer and trader dispute or other minor civil dispute if it involves a dispute against another person, trader or company and:

  • is arising out of a contract for the supply of goods and/or services, or
  • involves the repair of a defect in a motor vehicle, or
  • involves damage to property caused by or from the use of a motor vehicle, and
  • is valued up to and including $25,000 (excluding interest).

Unpaid wages

If your debt involves a claim related to unpaid wages, QCAT may not have jurisdiction to consider your application.

The tribunal's decision Ervin v Smipat Pty Ltd t/as LJ Hooker Burleigh Heads [2013] QCATA 153 has more information about this issue.

You may wish to get independent legal advice.

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. 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 you are unable to reach a satisfactory outcome you can choose to:

  • invite the other party to attend mediation which is a way of settling a dispute without legal action. A free mediation service is available through Dispute Resolution Centres
  • apply to the Magistrates Court to resolve your dispute, however resolving your dispute in the courts may take longer and cost more than using QCAT
  • apply to QCAT to resolve your dispute.

Fees for debt disputes

Applications or referrals under: Application fee Leave to appeal / Appeal fee
Not more than $500, or no amount claimed $27.45 (not payable by State-related person*) $352.00
More than $500 but not more than $1,000 $70.45 (not payable by State-related person*) $352.00
More than $1,000 but not more than $10,000 $125.40 (not payable by State-related person*) $352.00
More than $10,000 $352.00 (not payable by State-related person*) $704.10

* State-related person means (a) the Sovereign; or (b) the State or a person acting for the State; or (c) an entity whose expenditure is payable, in whole or in part, out of the consolidated fund or a person acting for the entity.

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