What You Need to Know:
- Banks are in the customer service business and they work hard at building longstanding relationships with their clients. If a problem does occur, however, banks have a process in place to help their clients resolve complaints.
The Four Step Process
There are four potential steps to solving a problem with a bank.
Talk to someone in your branch or bank service centre first. A customer service representative might be able to help you and resolve your concern. You can also ask to speak to a supervisor or manager.
If the issue has not been resolved to your satisfaction, find out from your bank what to do next. In some cases, the next step is to escalate your complaint to a manager, local executive office or customer care centre. Ask a representative or manager at your branch who you should contact and how you can reach them. Each bank has information outlining the process for dealing with complaints, including contact information, in its branches and on the bank website.
If the bank still hasn’t settled the problem to your satisfaction, contact your bank’s ombudsman, who is independent of the product areas of the bank. Banks ombudsmen help consumers resolve disputes with their bank. The Canadian Bankers Association website has a list of bank ombudsman contacts, including email addresses.
If 90 days have passed since you raised your complaint at step two (e.g. with a manager, local executive office or customer care centre), you can bring your issue to the external complaints body used by your bank (see step four).
Contact an external complaints body. There are two government-approved independent bodies that investigate complaints from individuals and small businesses about products and services provided by banks. The objective of these services is to provide impartial and prompt resolution of complaints and they are available free of charge.
The two independent bodies that investigate complaints are the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) and ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office. Before you contact the OBSI or ADR Chambers, you must first try to resolve your complaint directly with your bank as described in steps one, two and three.