How do you settle business disputes?

What do you do if your business runs into problems with a supplier or contractor? MBIE is researching ways to make it easier for small businesses to manage disputes.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is surveying businesses with fewer than 20 employees about how they resolve disputes with other organisations — that is, any problem that needs time out from day-to-day business or costs money to resolve. (Note: disputes between employers and workers will be studied separately.)

MBIE wants responses from as many small businesses as possible to determine how to best improve government resources. So please take a few minutes to have your say.

Take the online survey - the survey has now closed.

Case study

Damaged goods

A family-owned ceramics business decides to sell its products online. It contracts a dispatch company to deliver goods ordered online.

When customers start posting complaints about defective products on their website and on social media, it’s a major concern for the owners.

They find out their products are being damaged during delivery, and speak to the dispatch company, which denies responsibility.

Meetings to resolve the dispute become heated and both sides hire lawyers. The owners of the ceramics business decide to use a mediation clause in the contract with the delivery company.

During mediation, it turns out that one of the delivery drivers is throwing parcels into the back of his van. The delivery company sacks the driver and the two companies agree to continue the contract.

With the dispute resolved, the ceramics business rebuilds its reputation and turns its online venture into a success.

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