Do I have a dispute?
Types of disputes
Business disputes are conflicts arising from a commercial agreement between businesses, or between business and government. Some examples are:
- a disagreement about a contract
- a supplier not paying on time
- a supplier providing faulty goods or services
- a website design not meeting the requirements of the business
- a small business unhappy about being excluded from participating in government procurement
- a disagreement between smash repairers and insurance companies about the cost of repairs
- repairs and maintenance, for example, a landlord not fixing a leaking roof
- a landlord withholding the security deposit at the end of a lease.
The VSBC dispute resolution service includes:
- Free preliminary assistance: The VSBC provides information to businesses on their rights and obligations under relevant legislation to assist them to avoid or resolve disputes. Information is provided by the website, telephone, email, face-to-face information sessions, printed materials and fact sheets. These services are available at no cost.
- Free pre-mediation assistance: When you fill in a dispute application, a dispute resolution officer will initially engage with both parties, assisting them to negotiate a pragmatic resolution. If the dispute cannot be resolved at this stage, the dispute resolution officer will explain the benefits of mediation to the parties and encourage them to participate. This avoids the costly, time consuming and emotional process of litigation.
- $195 mediation: The timely, low cost resolution of a dispute through mediation can maintain a business relationship to let the parties quickly get back to business. Each party to mediation pays only $195 ($95 for mediations under the Owner Driver Forestry Contractors Act 2005 (ODFCA) and the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017 (CPVIA) towards the cost of the mediation, which is otherwise subsidised by the VSBC. Mediations can also be held via video conference to meet parties’ needs.
For disputes under the Farm Debt Mediation Act 2011 (FDMA) and the Commercial Passenger Vehicles Industry Act 2017 (CPVIA), the VSBC’s role is to arrange and conduct mediation. For specific information on FDMA disputes contact Agriculture Victoria. For information on taxis, hire cars and rideshare disputes contact Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria.
The VSBC offer mediation under the CPVIA when Commercial Passenger Vehicle Victoria issues a certificate referring the matter to VSBC mediation.
The VSBC can help you with a dispute in the following five areas:
- General business disputes under the Small Business Commission Act 2017 (SBCA)
- Disputes between retail tenants and landlords under the Retail Leases Act 2003 (RLA)
- Disputes between owner drivers or forestry contractors and hirers under the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 (ODFCA)
- Disputes between farmers and their creditors under the Farm Debt Mediation Act 2011 (FDMA)
- Disputes between drivers and operators under the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017 (CPVIA)