The information provided below is general in nature and should not be relied upon legal advice. You should call 03 5445 1000 and speak to a lawyer at OFRM about your particular circumstances.

Dealing with customer complaints

Dealing with customer complaints

In this modern online world we now have shopping at our finger tips constantly.

A risk for online and bricks and mortar retailers is that customers can make complaints quickly, easily and loudly. This means that how you deal with complaints is now more important than ever to protect your brand and ensure that you are always meeting your legal obligations.

When dealing with a consumer complaint, you must first determine whether or not the consumer has a legitimate issue which you need to consider.

When you sell product or provide a service Australian legislation provides automatic warranties or guarantees which are attached to that product. The warranties are:

For products, the warranties are that the products:

  • are of acceptable quality;
  • match their description;
  • are fit for purpose; and
  • the seller has ownership or title of the product.

For services, a customer is entitled to:

  • due care and skill;
  • a service that is fit for purpose;
  • a service that is completed in a reasonable time.

If the person complaining has an issue relating to any of these areas, you should first carefully listen to their concern to determine if you have breached any of the automatic warranties for the product or service.

Please be aware that these automatic warranties are in addition to any additional warranty you provide.

If you have breached the warranty, you should discuss with the customer how best to deal with the issue. A consumer may be entitled to a repair, refund or compensation for the issue suffered depending on the breach and the value of the product. What remedy a consumer is entitled to depends on the level of deficiency in the product or service and whether the defect is considered minor or major.

Once you have talked through a resolution to the issue with the consumer, you should proactively work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

In circumstances where a consumer has posted a negative review on social media you should encourage the person to message you privately to discuss the issue further. If necessary, you should clarify any errors on social media and you should have a documented returns and refunds policy available electronically. For assistance with any of this call Riley Driscoll on 03 5445 1026.