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Dispute resolution

Tips to help you resolve a dispute before mediation

The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) advises all parties in a dispute to try the following before applying for our help to resolve the dispute:

  1. Collect all relevant documents and all details of the dispute on record. This could be dates, times, product or service details, warranties, invoices, leases, photos, agreements, contracts or a list or diary entry of discussions with the other party.
  2. Highlight what is relevant to the dispute issue.
  3. Before contacting the other party, think about the outcome you want to achieve, including any compromises you are prepared to consider, for example, if you claim you are owed money, how much would you accept to settle the dispute?
  4. Contact the other party, explain the problem and make suggestions for possible solutions.
  5. Listen carefully to what they say and put yourself in their shoes. Try to see their perspective, even if it’s difficult to do so.
  6. Make a list of possible outcomes you would like to achieve.
  7. Keep communication about the dispute in writing.
  8. If discussions don’t work, write a formal letter of demand.
  9. If you are still unable to reach an agreement, you might need to seek an alternative method to resolve your dispute that involves an independent third party like the VSBC.
  10. Apply to the VSBC for help to resolve the dispute, making sure you include all documentation of the attempts you have made to resolve the dispute.


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