Consumer Satisfaction with Government Third-Party Complaints Resolution

Project dates: 2008 - 2010

As governments around the world adopt a marketing orientation, the importance of consumer satisfaction to the effectiveness of the organization is being recognized. While some investigation of satisfaction with a government agencies’ service has occurred, there is little examination of satisfaction with a government agency that acts as a third-party on the behalf of consumers to gain marketplace redress. Given the number of third-party complaints is increasing as a result of internet access to complaint channels, this research is a timely investigation.

This research investigates consumer satisfaction with the services of a government third-party agency that handles consumer complaints. The purpose of this research is to identify how attributes of the service process, redress and consumer characteristics relate to overall consumer satisfaction for a government agency that is acting as a third-party to resolve complaints with suppliers.

This study reports the findings of a survey of 454 complainants to an Australian Government agency: the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). Consumer complaint files were matched to satisfaction survey responses.

The findings show that satisfaction with the service was subjectively experienced, based around individual expectations of the redress and satisfaction levels were higher when the redress sought was financial compared with non-financial forms of redress such as apology.



  • Russell-Bennett, Rebekah, Hartel, Charmine, Drennan, Judy (2010) Consumer satisfaction and redress with a government third-party complaints agency Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, 23, pp.65-82.
  • Bennett, Rebekah, Hartel, Charmine, Drennan, Judy (2005) It’s not about the money! Key drivers of satisfaction with Government Third-Party Complaint Handling Australasian Nonprofit and Social Marketing Conference.