Contacts and resources: Taking action as a consumer

 

Information and complaints

There are many agencies responsible for the receipt and resolution of complaints. These are operated by both the Commonwealth and Victorian governments, as well as private, independent, industry based dispute resolution schemes. To find an agency or dispute resolution scheme, refer to the section of this book relevant to your specific area of complaint.

The following list refers mainly to areas not mentioned in detail elsewhere in this book.

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)

GPO Box 123, Melbourne Vic 3001

Tel (consumer help line): 1300 558 181 (Monday–Friday, 9 am–5 pm)

Email: consumer@justice.vic.gov.au

Web: www.consumer.vic.gov.au

CAV has offices in metropolitan and regional Victoria; see their website for office contact details.

CAV’s helpline for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers: 1300 661 511

Email: consumer@justice.vic.gov.au

Web: www.consumer.vic.gov.au

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

55 King Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Web: www.vcat.vic.gov.au

Civil Claims List: 9628 9830

Building and Property List: 9628 9999

Residential Tenancies List: 9628 9800

Licensing bodies

Business Licensing Authority

121 Exhibition Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel: 1300 135 452

Email: bla@justice.vic.gov.au

Web: www.consumer.vic.gov.au/bla

Written correspondence and applications to:

Registrar, Business Licensing Authority

Box 322B, GPO Melbourne Vic 3001

The Business Licensing Authority’s services include:

applications for some business licences and registrations;

lodgment of annual returns for motor car traders, second-hand dealers, pawnbrokers and travel agents;

payment of annual fees;

update of business licence or registration details.

Other complaint handling bodies

The following contacts list covers complaint-handling bodies for industries not mentioned in detail in this book. It also provides some supplementary contacts in areas that are covered elsewhere in this book.

Dispute resolution

Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV)

Level 4, 456 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel: 1300 372 888

Web: www.disputes.vic.gov.au

The DSCV has offices in metropolitan and regional Victoria; see their website for details.

Electricity, gas and water

Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (EWOV)

Reply Paid 469, Melbourne Vic 8060

Tel: 1800 500 509

Email: ewov@ewov.com.au

Web: www.ewov.com.au

EWOV investigates and facilitates the resolution of disputes by consumers against electricity, gas and water providers. EWOV provides a free and independent service. An online complaint form is available on the website.

Finance

Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)

GPO Box 3, Melbourne Vic 3001

Tel: 1800 367 287

Email: info@fos.org.au

Web: www.fos.org.au

FOS investigates and facilitates the resolution of complaints and disputes by consumers against partic-ipating financial service providers. FOS members provide financial services that include banking (including credit unions), credit, loans, general insurance, life insurance, insurance broking, financial planning, investments, stockbroking, managed funds and pooled superannuation trusts. The FOS provides a free and independent service. An online dispute form is available on the FOS website.

Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO)

PO Box A252, Sydney South NSW 1235

Tel: 1800 138 422

Web: www.cio.org.au

The CIO provides a free and independent dispute resolution service that resolves disputes between consumers and member credit providers. Many of the member credit providers are non-bank mortgage providers. Complaints can also be made online using the “Complaint Wizard”.

Food

Food Safety and Regulatory Activities Unit

Department of Health – Public Health Branch

GPO Box 4541, Melbourne Vic 3001

Food safety hotline: 1300 364 352

Email: foodsafety@health.vic.gov.au

Web: www.health.vic.gov.au

If you have safety or contamination concerns regarding a food product or business, or wish to report a case of illness caused by food, contact the Environmental Health Officer at the local council in the area where the food was purchased. If the local council is unable to assist, contact the Department of Human Services’ Food Safety Hotline, above.

Health

Medicare Australia

GPO Box 9822, Melbourne Vic 3000

General enquiries: 13 20 11

Complaints and feedback line: 1800 132 468

Email: medicare@medicareaustralia.gov.au

Web: www.medicareaustralia.gov.au

Complaints about the administrative actions of Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme should be directed to Medicare Australia via the online feedback form on its website or through the complaints and feedback line. Complaints can also be directed to the Commonwealth Ombudsman (see Taking a problem to an ombudsman).

Health Services Commissioner (HSC)

Level 26, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel: 1300 582 113

Email: hsc@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Web: www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc

The HSC investigates and facilitates the resolution of complaints against health service providers, including individual practitioners, public and private hospitals, health clinics, dentists, doctors and specialists (see Health and the law).

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

Level 8, 111 Bourke Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel: 1300 419 495

Web: www.ahpra.gov.au

AHPRA is the national agency responsible for the registration and accreditation of health professionals in Australia, including doctors, nurses and midwives, chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, osteopaths, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and psychologists.

Health insurance

Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO)

Suite 2, Level 22, 580 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Tel: (02) 8235 8777

Email: info@phio.org.au

Web: www.phio.org.au

PHIO is a statutory body that provides private health insurance fund members with an independent service for the resolution of health insurance problems and enquiries.

Local government

Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate

Level 27, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel: 1800 469 359 (complaints hotline); 9665 9555

Email: inspectorate@dtpli.vic.gov.au

Web: www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/local-government

Investigates complaints about possible breaches by local councils of the Local Government Act 1989 (Vic).

Public transport

Public Transport Ombudsman (Victoria)

PO Box 538 Collins Street West, Melbourne Vic 8007

Tel: 8623 2111; 1800 466 865

TTY: 1800 809 623

Email: enquiries@ptovic.com.au

Web: www.ptovic.com.au (includes an online complaint form)

The Public Transport Ombudsman investigates and facilitates the resolution of complaints by consumers against public transport operators relating to matters such as the failure to provide services, fares and ticketing, the conduct of staff members and the use of public transport land or premises. It provides an independent and free-of-charge service.

Ombudsman Victoria

Level 9, North Tower, 459 Collins Street, Melbourne 3000

Tel: 9613 6222; 1800 806 314

Email: ombudvic@ombudsman.vic.gov.au

Web: www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au

The Victorian Ombudsman investigates complaints by individuals about administrative actions taken by Victorian Government departments, statutory authorities and local government. The ombudsman can also investigate the actions of authorised officers (usually ticket inspectors), who exercise statutory powers. It provides a free, independent service. See Taking a problem to an ombudsman.

Real estate agents

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)

Tel: 1300 558 181

Web: www.consumer.vic.gov.au/property

CAV has a dedicated service for advice, information, complaints and dispute resolution regarding the conduct of real estate agents. A complaint form can be downloaded from the website.

Superannuation

Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT)

Level 7, 120 Collins Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel: 1300 884 114

Email: info@sct.gov.au

Web: www.sct.gov.au

SCT is an independent tribunal that deals with complaints about superannuation funds, annuities and retirement savings accounts through conciliation and formal review processes. An online complaint form is available on the website.

Taxation

Tax Practitioners Board

PO Box 126, Hurstville BC NSW 1481

Tel: 1300 362 829

Email: enquirymanagement@tpb.gov.au

Web: www.tpb.gov.au

The Tax Practitioners Board is a statutory authority entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the maintenance of proper standards in the tax agent profession. Complaints against tax agents should be made in writing and should include all details of the dispute.

Telecommunications

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)

Level 3, 595 Collins Street, Melbourne Vic 8007

Tel: 1800 062 058 or TTY 1800 675 692

Web: www.tio.com.au (includes online complaint form)

TIO investigates and facilitates the resolution of complaints and disputes by consumers and small businesses against telecommunications service providers, including landline, mobile phone and internet services. It provides an independent and free-of-charge service.

Transport

Consumer Affairs Victoria: see above

Motor Car Traders Guarantee Fund Claims Committee

GPO Box 322B, Melbourne Vic 3001

Tel: 1300 135 452

Email: mctcc@justice.vic.gov.au

Web: www.consumer.vic.gov.au

VicRoads

Tel: 13 11 70

Web: www.vicroads.vic.gov.au

Written complaints:

Director Customer Services, VicRoads Head Office,

60 Denmark Street, Kew Vic 3101

Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce

VACC House

464 St Kilda Road, Melbourne Vic 3004

Tel: 9829 1111

Email: vacc@vacc.com.au

Web: www.vacc.com.au