Taking a Mechanic to the Department of Fair Trading.

News flash: Majority of businesses are not out there to rob, lie, cheat and steal from you. Business are made up of human beings much like yourself who are fighting just as hard as you are to provide for their loved ones and get to the end of this life with some degree of pride around their contribution to the world.

When a dispute arises, we as human beings are not very good at empathy and genuinely feel that no matter what, the opposing party is pure evil and out to wrong us.

If a conflict has arisen between a customer and a business, there are a number of things that consumers say or do that instantly gets you further from your desired outcome.

“I’ll get my lawyer/solicitor involved”

If you feel the need to flex the muscle that you may or may not actually know a lawyer, it instantly says I am not open to a reasonable discussion around this and actually says I am a fan of intimidation to get what I want.

Every Business in Australia has legal requirements that they must meet, no matter the industry. Don’t for a minute think the guy your threatening with legal action doesn’t have a lawyer in his corner. He just chooses not to be a twat and use it as ammunition to get you to compromise on your position. If you push a business owner far enough with the threat of legal action, he or she are unlikely to give in and give you what you want just because you claim to know an overpaid professional, they will fight back with equal or greater force.

In most cases the business your threatening will be in a position to outspend you on legal fees. Even if your grievance is legitimate, legal professionals are not cheap (good ones even less so) and you are likely to run the bank dry before they do.

Lawyers should be an absolute last resort in these cases. Customers who use it as a first resort rarely get what they want.

“Ill go to Fair trading/ Consumer affairs”

The department of fair trading regulates licences and as the title implies fair trading. When you lodge a complaint with them, they investigate. Back to our opening sentence. No business owner has registered a legitimate business, complied with regulator bodies to the degree that the Department of Fair trading knows they exist and then chooses to operate an unlawful business.

Scam artists, thieves and crooks don’t register their business with the governing bodies. They operate cash only, no invoice and dodgy phone numbers. This means that when the department of fair trading looks at a complaint they almost never side with the consumer.


Because there has to be hard and solid proof of unlawful behaviour.

Customers submitting evidence on the grounds of “It wasn’t like that before”, “ever since you touched it” and ” I’ve never had this problem before” are not evidence and the Department of Fair trading will dismiss it. You receive a document to the effect that says if you wish to take this furth you can take this to NCAT

Civil Tribunal dispute.

Before it escalates to this level. Go and look at the google reviews for NCAT in Sydney. Here is a huge collection of people who have taken a business owner to the Civil Tribunal and the ruling has gone against them. NCAT Nearly always rules in the business owners favour.

This is not by Default. It is because the legal onus is on the customer lodging the complaint to prove wrongdoing, not on the business owner to prove innocence. Almost all accusations against business owners are hearsay, speculation or a consumer not willing to take responsibility for their situation and wanting to blame someone else.

There are some other factors at play here too. NCAT is supposed to be a Lawyer less court however the businesses defending itself can request legal representation to be present and it becomes you against the business owners lawyer anyway.

All Three of the above mentioned strategies will not get you your desired out come. You will lose a lot of time, energy and money. You will likely end up in the same situation you were in before the process started.

The advise: Remain civil, and request to have the situation explained to you in terms you understand. Avoid statements like “it wasn’t like that before”, Ever since you touched it” , “I’ve owned this car for X years and never had a problem with it”, “I’ve just paid X and it’s still” All of these statements are accusatory and will not get you what you want.

Even in cases where the client is wrong, if this is delt with calmly and without the knob like power moves or statements, majority of business owners will compromise on good will alone just to assist a client. If you approach the situation aggressively it is less likely to work out in your favour. If you turn up ready to box don’t be surprised if you take a few blows.

Would You Like To Speak With The GDL Team?

Simply choose the option below that suits you best.


Request A Callback

Enter your name and mobile below and one of our team will call you within 15 minutes!*

*During business hours

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.