Small business

The VSBC helps small businesses to resolve disputes – allowing you to get on with the job of running your business.

Every year, small business operators are confronted with business-to-business disputes that drain time, energy and money from their normal operations.

The VSBC can assist with business disputes, big and small. We offer a cost-effective solution and a neutral position. Our aim is to resolve disagreements quickly and fairly.

The VSBC is not limited to any definition of ‘small business’.

What we do

We define a general business dispute as those that arise from a commercial dispute between businesses, or with local or state government bodies or not-for-profits.

The Small Business Commissioner Act gives the VSBC the authority to help you resolve a dispute. We do this in various ways, including helping you over the phone or email, or in person using mediation.

Our aim is to help you:

  • make informed decisions;
  • promote long-lasting, continuing commercial relationships;
  • access information; and
  • identify possible paths to resolve your dispute.

How we help

Some of the common disputes the VSBC can help with include resolving disputes in relation to:

  • licensing and agency agreements
  • franchise agreements
  • distribution agreements
  • partnerships
  • supply contracts
  • tenders
  • buying and selling a business

Approaching the VSBC is a good first step to identify the type of assistance you may need. There’s a good chance, for example, that our low-cost mediation service helps you resolve your dispute without the need for litigation.

Mediation with the VSBC is $195 per party, per half day session for these types of disputes. There is no cost for preliminary assistance that occurs over the phone or on email.


The VSBC resolves disputes under the Small Business Commissioner Act 2003. Under the legislation, the VSBC also has a number of other responsibilities.

The VSBC aims to promote informed decision-making by small businesses to minimise disputes with other businesses or government agencies. However, if businesses do get into dispute, the VSBC offers a quick, low-cost dispute resolution service.

The VSBC is not constrained by any legislated definition of ‘small business’.

What does the Act do?

  • Expressly provides the Small Business Commissioner with the authority to assist small businesses to resolve their disputes with other businesses, not-for-profits, councils, government departments and other government agencies.
  • Extends the Commissioner’s jurisdiction in investigations and dispute resolution to more broadly cover commercial dealings and not just unfair market practices.
  • Expands the Commissioner’s functions to include a broader range of alternative dispute resolution services.
  • Empowers the Commissioner to issue certificates where dispute resolution has been attempted but has been unsuccessful or where a party has refused to participate. Where a party has unreasonably refused to participate, the Commissioner may publish details of the certificate in the Annual Report.


Client testimonials