Goods and Services

If you have a dispute about goods or services that you bought or sold, the Civil Claims List at VCAT may be able to hear your case.

Cases VCAT can hear

VCAT can deal with disputes:

  • that arise out of the purchase or supply (or possible purchase or supply) of any goods or services of any value
  • by any persons or businesses or companies against each other in any combination
  • for any amount of money
  • that arise in or are connected to the State of Victoria

and also

under the Australian Consumer Law for

  • misleading conduct
  • unconscionable conduct
  • consumer guarantees.

Cases VCAT cannot hear

VCAT cannot hear cases about:

  • disputes between employers and employees
  • disputes between neighbours about their fences, trees or unsocial behaviour unless it is also an Owners Corporation dispute
  • disputes between drivers in car accidents
  • disputes between people not connected with Victoria.
  • Before you apply to VCAT you should contact the other party and see if you can settle the dispute between you. You must apply to VCAT within time limits. Read more about what to do before you apply to VCAT.

  • To start a case at VCAT fill in the correct application form. You must also pay the application fee. You must submit formal documentation with your application that verifies the name and registered office of any respondents that are companies or incorporated associations. Learn more about applying to start a case.

  • The other party must be told of the claim made against them. After you have issued your application, we will send you a notice of hearing which will direct you to send the other party a copy of your application and all supporting documents. We send them a copy of your application form and a notice of hearing, but not your supporting documents. The other party may think they have a claim against you or other people, and they may issue their own applications. Learn about what happens when VCAT opens a case.

  • We encourage you to negotiate with the other party to reach a resolution. We can help you resolve your dispute using mediation or a compulsory conference, rather than by VCAT deciding your case for you at a hearing. Goods and Services cases are sometimes resolved using a process called short mediation and hearing (SMAH). Learn more about resolving a case by agreement.

  • Many cases at VCAT are decided at a final hearing. Prepare early so you can present the best possible case. Make sure you give others enough time to help you prepare and appear as witnesses at a hearing. Read more about how to prepare for your final hearing.

  • The hearing gives all parties a chance to give and hear evidence, ask questions, call witnesses and provide supporting documents. Read more about what happens on final hearing day.

  • VCAT aims to make a decision in disputes as early as possible. If the member does not give a decision at the final hearing, we try to provide it within six weeks of the hearing. Learn about what to expect after your hearing.

Professional representation

People are allowed to represent themselves at VCAT. This is different to the Courts, where some parties must have a lawyer. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission. Lawyers are usually not allowed to appear in civil claims about less than $10,000, and the parties are expected to present their own cases. Read more about professional representation at VCAT.

Remember your reference number

VCAT gives you a reference number for your case. Use this number whenever you contact us or the other people involved in the case.

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public. We have limited authority to restrict access to information except in certain circumstances. Learn more about applying for confidentiality.

If you need assistance at VCAT (including interpreters, hearing loop, video or telephone links, or family violence support) please contact us as early as possible so we can assist you. Learn more about customer support at VCAT.