Lodge a complaint
To know how to lodge a formal complaint
Let's start with why this is important:
- if you are not treated correctly then you are entitled to complain
- following a formal complaint process means you are more likely to have your complaint resolved
- making a complaint means that the person or organisation can learn from the mistake and it can be corrected
If you are treated disrespectfully or feel unsafe you need to make a complaint. You can also make a complaint if you are unhappy with the way you have been treated by your case worker, employer, a service provider, the police, public transport, a bank or a store. There are several steps you follow when lodging a formal complaint.
The first step is to address the complaint with the organisation that's causing the problem. Your complaint should be made in writing and should include as much information about the situation as you can supply, but in some situations, a simple telephone call may be all that's needed to resolve your complaint.
Complaint-handling bodies such as the Victorian Ombudsman's office will generally not consider a complaint unless you've already raised your complaint with the organisation that you're complaining about.
If you aren't satisfied with the response you receive from that organisation, then it's time to seek out a complaint handling body that deals with that particular kind of problem.
Keep a record
It's important that you keep a file of all the communication between yourself and the organisation you have a complaint with. Note each time you make or receive a phone call and what was said. Also keep record of all emails and letters sent and received.
Making a complaint about the police
Use this online template to write a letter.
Making a complaint against your caseworker
If you're unhappy with the way your case worker is treating you, it is best to talk to them first if you feel safe. If not, it is important to make a complaint via email to their organisation such as the CEO or the case workers manager. Here is a template to help you write your own complaint:
To (insert name of person you are sending the letter to),
I would like to raise a complaint against (insert your case workers name) for the following reason/s:
- list here the reasons you are not happy with your case workers
I would expect the following:
- list here what you think should happen e.g. if the case worker makes the mistake again you will not work with them
I request that you immediately investigate my concerns and advise of a reasonable outcome. If this matter is not addressed I will raise the issue formally with the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
Making a complaint about a product you brought or a service you received
Use this online tool to write a personalised letter to the business you are making a complaint too.
Making a complaint against your employer
If you have a concern about the way you are being treated at work you need to address this first with your boss or manager. If this person does not address your complaint then contact Australian Human Rights Commission. It is a free service and making a complaint will not cost you anything.
Not happy with your response? Contact the ombudsman
You tried communicating directly with the organisation but you are not happy with their response. It's time to push the complaint to an official complaint handling body such as the Victorian Ombudsman.
The Victorian Ombudsman's Office is a great place to start. If they can't help you directly with your complaint, they should be able to point you towards the most appropriate complaint-handling body.
The Victorian Ombudsman's office offers a free, independent and impartial service to help resolve complaints about another organisation.
The official body that looks after all Victorian consumers and makes sure that their rights are protected. If you have a consumer-related complaint, the CAV is a great place to start.
Provides a step-by-step guide to making a complaint about financial, insurance, superannuation, investment or banking product or advice.
An excellent source of information detailing the different complaint handling bodies in Victoria and Australia-wide.