Applying to Consumer Affairs Victoria for Dispute Mediation
In our June 2018 newsletter we explained the process of applying to Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) for free mediation of disputes not resolved at a village level. It’s a simple process but there are some traps for the unwary.
To lodge a complaint with CAV ring 1300 55 81 81 or go to their Complaints website page .
It is important to make clear when you lodge your complaint:
- That you are seeking a referral to the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria. If you do not make this clear, CAV might refer you to some other support service.
- Whether you want a support person or representative to attend the mediation session with you. A support person attends but does not speak whereas a representative may speak on your behalf. The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria has the right to exclude people who are disruptive from a mediation session.
If you lodge your complaint by phone, the Consumer Affairs Victoria case officer will ask you some questions about your issue including the outcome you desire. If your case qualifies for mediation, the case officer will transfer your call to the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria where another case officer will attend to you.
If you lodge your complaint in writing (for example, by using the residential accommodation complaint form available on the CAV website you might hear from a case officer who asks you some clarifying questions. In any event, if your case qualifies for mediation the case officer will refer your complaint to the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.
The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria does not have the power to compel an operator to attend mediation or the power to compel the parties to comply with any agreements they may make in the course of the mediation. Similarly, it does not have to power to mediate on issues that fall within the compliance responsibilities of Consumer Affairs Victoria.
RRVV meets regularly with the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria to review in general terms the effectiveness of the mediation service. We can only contribute fully if you let us know you have applied for mediation and your satisfaction with the service you received. We do not need to know anything about your complaint or the outcome of the process. We would like to know if everything went smoothly and if the people you dealt with were respectful, courteous and competent.
More advice on approaching CAV with a complaint is available Here.
Click Here for information about the range of dispute resolution services provided by DSCV.