Contacts: Taking action as a consumer

Information and complaints

There are many agencies responsible for receiving and resolving 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)

Tel: 1300 558 181

Tel (Koori helpline): 1300 661 511

Web: www.consumer.vic.gov.au

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

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

55 King Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel: 1300 018 228

Email: admin@vcat.vic.gov.au

Web: www.vcat.vic.gov.au

Licensing bodies

Business Licensing Authority (BLA)

Level 17, 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 BLA’s services include:

applications for 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

Email: dscv@justice.vic.gov.au

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)

Level 6, 111 Bourke Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel: 1800 500 509

Email: ewovinfo@ewov.com.au

Web: www.ewov.com.au

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

Finance

Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)

717 Bourke Street, Docklands Vic 3008

Tel: 1800 367 287

Email: info@fos.org.au

Web: www.fos.org.au

The FOS investigates and facilitates the resolution of complaints and disputes by consumers against participating financial service providers.

The 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)

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.

Food

Food Safety Unit

Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services

50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne Vic 3001

Tel: 1300 364 352

Email: foodsafety@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Web: www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/food-safety

If you have safety or contamination concerns about 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 Food Safety Unit, above.

Health

Medicare Australia

Australian Government Department of Human Services

Tel: 13 20 11

Web: www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/medicare

Complaints about the administrative actions of Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme should be directed to Medicare Australia via the complaints line. Complaints can also be directed to the Commonwealth Ombudsman (www.ombudsman.gov.au) (see Taking a problem to an ombudsman).

Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner

Level 26, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel: 1300 582 113

Email: hcc@hcc.vic.gov.au

Web: https://hcc.vic.gov.au

The Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner 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)

Level 6, 34 Queen Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel: 1300 362 072

Web: www.phio.org.au

The PHIO is a Commonwealth 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 Inspectorate

Level 27, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel (complaints): 1800 469 359

Tel (admin): 7017 8212

Email: inspectorate@lgici.vic.gov.au

Web: www.lgi.vic.gov.au

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

Public transport

Public Transport Ombudsman Victoria

Tel: 1800 466 865

Email: enquiries@ptovic.com.au

Web: www.ptovic.com.au

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 service.

Victorian Ombudsman

Level 2, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel: 9613 6222; 1800 806 314

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

The 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

Tel: 1300 362 829

Email: enquirymanagement@tpb.gov.au

Web: www.tpb.gov.au

The Tax Practitioners Board is a Commonwealth Government 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

Tel: 1800 062 058

Web: www.tio.com.au

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman 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 service.

Transport

Consumer Affairs Victoria: see above

Motor Car Traders’ Guarantee Fund

179 Queen Street, Melbourne Vic 3001

Tel: 1300 558 181

Email: mctcc@justice.vic.gov.au

Web: www.consumer.vic.gov.au

Through this fund, consumers can be financially compensated for a loss suffered as a result of a motor car trader failing to comply with the Motor Car Traders Act 1989 (Vic) (e.g. a trader has not transferred clear title to a car, or complied with the warranty, or provided a roadworthy certificate).

VicRoads

Tel: 13 11 71

Web: www.vicroads.vic.gov.au

Written complaints to:

Director Customer Services, VicRoads Head Office,

60 Denmark Street, Kew Vic 3101

Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC)

VACC House,

Level 7, 464 St Kilda Road, Melbourne Vic 3004

Tel: 9829 1111

Email: vacc@vacc.com.au

Web: www.vacc.com.au

VACC is a Victorian motor industry association. It deals with consumer and industry issues, conducts and publishes automotive industry research, advocates to government and other agencies, and supports its members (automotive repair, service and retail businesses).