In every small business, problems can arise from time to time between you and your customers, suppliers, partners, employees - even other business owners! Most disputes can be resolved quickly and efficiently by using a common sense approach.
How to resolve a dispute successfully
To maximise the chances of a successful dispute resolution you need to:
- listen to your customer, supplier or employee (put yourself in their position)
- ask for documentary evidence to verify the facts
- understand your legal obligations - consult relevant laws and regulations
- negotiate face to face in a calm and professional manner.
If you do reach a stalemate, the next step is to refer back to your state fair trading agency. Each fair trading agency can provide information to suppliers, retailers and consumers to help resolve marketplace disputes.
If you're still unable to reach agreement, lodging a complaint through your Fair Trading state or territory agency is the next step - they can act as an informal negotiator. When a dispute is unable to be resolved, you can either seek legal advice or lodge a claim with the Small Claims Tribunal.
What to do...
- See Complaints and dispute resolution for more information on resolving disputes with your employees.
- Check out the Legal help guide for small business.
- Read about Resolving franchising disputes in the workplace.
- Visit the Everyday-Law website for Victorian legal information.
- Take a look at our preventing and managing disputes information for contracts.
- Contact the ACCC small business helpline on 1300 302 021.