General tips on dispute resolution
Please note: This is general information only, Upfront Pay cannot provide legal, financial or taxation advice. At any point in any transaction you are at liberty to seek your own legal advice.
Stay calm and talk it out
It can be frustrating when things aren’t going to plan, but your best bet is to remain calm. Sometimes it might be worth leaving and coming back once you’ve cooled off and thought the problem through a little more.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Be in constant communication about how the job is progressing. If there is a bigger issue, arrange a mutually agreeable time and place to sit down and talk about the issue calmly, rationally and with the sole intention of resolving the issues at hand. This may involve some negotiation and compromise. You will need to discuss the nature of your complaint, the outcome you want, and what action you think will settle the dispute.
Write a letter reiterating your discussion
Once you have both voiced your concerns around the issues, write a letter outlining what you have agreed to do and by when, date and sign it. This ensures your meeting is summarised on paper and will be a valuable resource should further action be necessary.
If there is a dispute between the parties whereby one party does not wish to release payment to the other, one or both parties must immediately notify Upfront Pay of the dispute and Upfront Pay will safely hold the payment, and not release it until either:
- Both parties agree to the release of all or part of the payment; or
- Upfront Pay is directed by a court or other authority to release the payment to a party.
Check your agreement for a dispute clause
Some contracts contain clauses that deal specifically with dispute resolution, so it’s wise to check this before you take any further action. Usually, such clauses outline a prescribed dispute resolution process, which you are compelled to follow before initiating any other action.
I only have an issue with part of the job
If only part of the job is under dispute, payment for the portion not under dispute will be released. The job variation form will need to be completed by the tradie, and we will contact the customer to confirm the details.
If the Tradie does more work than originally planned, and you both agree on a higher amount to be paid for the job, the Tradie simply needs to create a ‘new job’ for the difference, stating in the job description that it’s a variation of the original job.
You may need help resolving your dispute
If, after a prescribed period of time (which may vary from state to state and contract to contract) you haven’t had a response or reached a resolution, you may need the help of a mediator in resolving the issue. For more information, see the list below and click on the State where the work was performed. This is a guide only and states change their rules and procedures periodically. It may also be very sensible at this point to seek your own legal advice.
State-specific next steps
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) has a few options which can help you resolve an issue with your tradesperson. Visit www.qbcc.qld.gov.au or call them on (07) 3447 2160 for more information.
In some cases you may wish to apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for a resolution. Go to Building disputes | Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (qcat.qld.gov.au) for more information. Fees and time limits may apply.
NSW Fair Trading offers a dispute resolution service, for more information visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20.
In some cases you may wish to apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). For more information and to apply visit Home building (nsw.gov.au). Fees and time limits may apply.
Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) offers a free mediation service, visit the Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) for more information
In some cases you may wish to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). For more information visit Before you apply – Building and construction disputes | VCAT . Fees and time limits may apply.
The Office of Consumer and Business Services (CBS) offers advice and a mediation service that may help you reach an agreement. For more information contact them on 131 882, or visit https://www.cbs.sa.gov.au/#.
In some cases you may wish to apply to the Courts Administration Authority of South Australia. Visit Civil Claims courts.sa.gov.au, email [email protected], or call (08) 8204 2444 for more information. Fees and time limits may apply.
The WA Consumer Protection – Department Of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety offers a conciliation service. Fees and time limits may apply.
Visit Building service and home building work contract complaints | Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (commerce.wa.gov.au), call 1300 489 099, or email [email protected] for more information.
In some cases you may wish to apply to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) Visit State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) (justice.wa.gov.au) Note that fees and time limits apply.
NT Consumer Affairs offers a free conciliation service when you can’t reach a resolution on your own. Contact Consumer Affairs by phone on (08) 8999 1999 or 1800 019 319, email [email protected] or visit Residential building disputes | Northern Territory Consumer Affairs for more information. Fees and time limits may apply.
If you are unable to solve the problem with your tradie, you may wish to speak to the Building Surveyor for assistance.
In some cases you may wish to contact Tasmania Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS) via email at [email protected] or by calling them on 1300 654 499. For more information visit https://www.cbos.tas.gov.au/
In some cases you may wish to contact the Tasmanian Ombudsman. You can call the ombudsman’s office on 1800 001 170, email [email protected] or visit Ombudsman Tasmania for more information. Fees and time limits may apply.
The Conflict Resolution Service offers a mediation service to assist you and your tradie in finding a resolution. For more information visit https://crs.org.au/
You may also wish to contact Access Canberra, visit https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/2270/ for more information.
In some cases you may wish to apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT). Visit https://www.acat.act.gov.au/fees-and-forms or call on (02) 6207 1740 for more information. Fees and time limits may apply.
Upfront Pay does not provide any legal advice, financial advice or taxation advice. You must seek your own advice in this regard.