How FCAC handles your complaint

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Types of complaints FCAC deals with

Federally regulated entities (REs)have certain legal obligations to consumers, ranging from account-opening requirements to information they must provide you. FCAC investigates complaints that relate to a possible breach of these market conduct obligations.

FCAC has responsibility under the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada to monitor issues raised by merchants and work with payment card network operators to resolve them. Please see “Merchant questions and dispute resolution” to learn more.

FCAC’s role in handling complaints

FCAC determines the nature of a complaint and, when there is a breach of a law, code of conduct or public commitment, takes action to ensure compliance by the RE. FCAC does not provide personal redress (i.e., compensation or monetary award). FCAC’s focus is on making sure that REs comply with their market conduct obligations.

Who can file a complaint and how to do so

Any consumer can file a complaint with FCAC, and there’s no cost involved. Call FCAC toll-free at 1-866-461-3222 or send a message.

Matters that FCAC cannot investigate

FCAC does not handle complaints involving: 

  • the pricing of products (e.g., insurance premiums, service fees, credit card charges)
  • the quality of service you received
  • loan and credit granting policies
  • billing errors
  • other general service issues 

These matters are determined by your RE’s policies. You should deal directly with your regulated entity by using its complaint-handling procedure, which may include an external complaints body (ECB). If you have difficulty finding out about your regulated entity’s complaint-handling procedure or experience problems using it, FCAC wants to know. 

If you don’t know the complaint-handling procedure for your financial institution, click here or call toll-free at 1-866-461-3222 and FCAC will be pleased to provide you with the procedure. 

FCAC is responsible for federally regulated entities (REs)

As an agency of the federal government, FCAC investigate complaints about REs under federal jurisdiction. These entities include all banks and all federally incorporated or registered insurance, trust and loan companies, retail associations, federal credit unions and payment card network operators. FCAC is not responsible for provincially regulated credit unions, finance companies, mutual fund dealers, securities dealers or other financial entities that fall under provincial jurisdiction. For a listing of provincial regulators, click here.

What to do before contacting FCAC

You must try to resolve your complaint directly with your RE. Keep in mind that FCAC does not resolve complaints, nor is it mandated to provide redress or compensation. In order to resolve your complaint, you must file your complaint with your RE by following its complaint-handling procedure. 

When contacting FCAC, make sure you have all the facts on hand. This information will assist FCAC in determining whether your complaint involves a possible breach of federal legislation. 

How FCAC handles your complaint

FCAC will ask for details about your complaint and assess whether it involves a possible breach of a law, code of conduct or public commitment, or determine whether it may fall within the jurisdiction of another government department or agency. 

FCAC will investigate to determine whether the RE has respected its market conduct obligations, including whether there has been a possible breach of a consumer provision or regulation, or a failure to comply with a public commitment or code of conduct. FCAC has the authority to impose a number of compliance measures, including monetary penalties, but cannot offer—or require the institution to offer—redress or compensation. To seek redress or compensation, you will have to go through your RE’s complaint-handling procedure, which may include an internal ombudsman or an external complaints body (ECB). 

As part of the investigation process, an FCAC senior officer will contact your regulated entity to discuss your complaint. If the compliance aspect of your complaint is not clear or cannot immediately be resolved with the RE, FCAC may request additional information in writing from you. The compliance officer may also request additional information from the entity. 

Once the formal investigation is complete, FCAC's response will depend on its findings. In cases of non-compliance with the law, FCAC may impose a number of compliance measures, or issue a Notice of Violation to the financial entity and impose a monetary penalty. FCAC may also publicize details of a violation, including the name of the regulated entity that committed it and the amount of the penalty imposed. 

Why FCAC is interested in your complaint

When FCAC is alerted to potential breaches, it can take steps to ensure compliance. FCAC also reports to Parliament on the types of complaints it receives and the performance of regulated entities in meeting their legal obligations. This information is released to the media and other interested parties. In addition, your complaint will help FCAC analyze and report on trends in customer service issues for the financial industry. 

Where to get more information

Call FCAC toll-free at 1-866-461-3222. You can learn more about the market conduct obligations of regulated entities on Your rights and responsibilities.

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