Introduction: Taking action as a consumer

It is a general rule of contract law that only those people who are party to the contract (e.g. where the contract is in writing, only those who signed the contract) are bound by it and may seek redress from each other if something goes wrong with the contract. Most commonly, contracts “go wrong” because one of the parties breaches the contract.

There are many things that can be done to resolve a breach of contract. The most important things to remember are:

make a complaint and demand the situation be remedied at the earliest opportunity;

stand your ground;

pursue the other party to remedy the wrong; and

if you are unsure about your legal position, seek legal advice immediately.

Advice is available from the Consumer Action Law Centre, other community legal centres or Victoria Legal Aid, if you cannot afford a solicitor. For a full listing of these services and other community legal centres and their hours of operation, see Legal services that can help.

When a breach of contract occurs, the following four main avenues for resolution are available:

self-help;

court or tribunal help;

government help; and

alternative dispute resolution.