Before you lodge a complaint with us
Complain to the organisation or agency first
If you’re concerned your personal information has been mishandled, you first need to complain to the organisation or agency you think has mishandled it. If they don’t respond to your complaint within 30 days or you’re not happy with their response, you can lodge a complaint with us.
Check if you can complain to an external dispute resolution scheme
Before making a complaint with us, you may be able to complain to an external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme that may be able to help with your complaint as well as consider non-privacy issues. We recognise EDR schemes that can help with a privacy-related complaint about:
- an electricity, gas or water provider (in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria or Western Australia)
- a financial service provider
- public transport (in Victoria)
- a telecommunications provider
- tolling (in New South Wales, Queensland or Victoria).
For example, you would contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority if your complaint is about how a bank mishandled your personal information and the financial services they gave you. They may be able help you with your privacy-related complaint as well as handle broader, non-privacy related issues about the financial service they gave you that we can’t help with.
Read more about the EDR schemes we recognise and the type of privacy-related complaints they handle.
How to lodge a complaint with us
The Privacy Act 1988 requires your complaint to us be in writing. We can’t take it over the phone.
We can accept a written complaint:
- on our online privacy complaint form
- on our privacy complaint form that you’ve downloaded (Microsoft Word 63 KB)
- in a letter or fax.
It’s free to lodge a complaint. You don’t need a lawyer. However, if you do decide to hire a lawyer, you must pay for the lawyer.
You can nominate someone to represent you in your privacy complaint by completing one of these forms and including this when you submit your complaint to us.
You can withdraw your complaint at any time without penalty.
Where to send your complaint
You can send your complaint to us either by:
- mail, send it to GPO Box 5288, Sydney NSW 2001 (send it by registered mail if you’re concerned about sending it by registered mail if you're concerned about sending it by standard post)
- fax, send it to +61 2 6123 5145.
What a written complaint must include
If you decide to write to us (by fax or post) make sure your complaint includes:
- your name and contact details — we can’t investigate an anonymous complaint
- any relevant reference numbers or identifiers
- the name of the organisation or agency you’re complaining about
- a brief description of your privacy complaint (what happened and when)
- any action the organisation or agency you complained to has taken to fix the problem
- a copy of any relevant document (such as your complaint to the organisation or agency and their response)
- what outcome you’d like.
If your complaint involves credit reporting, please include a copy of your credit report. (See also Complaints about Credit Reporting.)
Help lodging a complaint
If you need:
- hearing or speech assistance, contact us through the National Relay Service
- a translator, contact us through the Translating and Interpreting Service
For all other help, please phone our Enquiries Line (1300 363 992).
Make a complaint for someone else
You can help someone else lodge a complaint if they give their consent. You must include their written authority for you to act on their behalf with their complaint. You can also complete one of these forms: