Dispute with a business

Dispute resolution

If you are unable to resolve the dispute yourself, NT Consumer Affairs can help through dispute resolution.

A fair trading officer will work with you and the trader to try and resolve the dispute.

Consumer Affairs can help when any of the following apply:

  • you have attempted to resolve the matter with the trader first
  • the dispute is between a consumer and a trader
  • the issue is not covered by another authority’s legislation - for example: health, tax or investments
  • no legal action has started.

Make a formal complaint

To make a formal complaint, follow these steps:

Step 1. Apply online or fill in the NT consumer conciliation request form.

NT consumer conciliation request form PDF (589.6 KB)
NT consumer conciliation request form  DOCX (444.1 KB)

Step 2. Submit the form by email, mail or in person to NT Consumer Affairs.

Include copies of all relevant documents, including quotes and receipts.

What happens during dispute resolution

The fair trading officer acts as an objective third party to provide advice to reach a solution that is acceptable to both parties.

While most disputes are resolved, some are not.

Traders and consumers must be willing to participate in negotiations to reach a solution.

Consumer Affairs can’t force either party to resolve a matter or to accept an action that they don’t agree with.

Only a court can impose legally binding decisions.

Read more about going to court and small claims.

Your role in resolving a dispute

You should remain calm when dealing with the trader and keep an open mind for solutions. Discuss with your fair trading officer if your solution is realistic.

You may have to write to the trader again, arrange inspections and contact other organisations to support your case. You may have to pay for independent reports.

Keep any documentation you gather on the issue as it will be useful if the dispute goes to court.

If your dispute can't be resolved

Your fair trading officer can give you advice if you want to take the dispute further.

You should get independent legal advice before going to court.

Consumer Affairs can provide advice on fair trading issues but not on legal issues. Any breach of fair trading law will be dealt with separately.


Information gathered during the conciliation process is confidential.

However, some information must be provided to the trader to negotiate a solution.

If you do not want information to be given to the trader, you should tell the fair trading officer in advance.

Find out more about resolving disputes without going to court.

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Last updated: 12 July 2019

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