Complaints handling procedure information for the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Amendments were made in April 2015 to the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry​ (the Code). Changes to Element 13 of the Code now state that payment card network rules require that merchants have access to a clear dispute resolution process that provides for an investigation and a timely response to complaints pertaining to the Code. This amendment includes a requirement for payment card network operators (PCNOs) to develop a common template and information requirements to facilitate the submission of a complaint by a merchant.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), in cooperation with the PCNOs, has developed a common template to be used by PCNOs and acquirers for their merchants to file complaints either by mail or online. Slight variations are permitted to the template as long as the necessary information is captured. For example, using a check box rather than a drop-down menu to address technology options is permitted.

Each PCNO is responsible for ensuring that the template is retainable (i.e. a downloadable option, fillable PDF or web format option is available to merchants). The template must be available in both official languages. It will be up to the discretion of the acquirer and PCNO to identify any mandatory fields in their respective templates.

A summary of the complaint handling procedures and the template should be easily available and posted prominently on PCNO and acquirer websites.

The Code denotes that all disclosures to merchants provided under the Code must be presented in a clear, simple and non-misleading manner. This includes communication with merchants concerning responses on Code-related complaints.

E​xample of a comp​laint handling procedure summary for merchants

If you have a complaint pertaining to the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry, you may file a complaint through a variety of channels:

  • our website ( by using the template below
  • our toll free number  1-XXX-XXX-XXXX, or call collect at 1-XXX-XXX-XXXX
  • by email (
  • by mail at Name of company, 100 First Avenue, Unit 507, Toronto, Ontario, M5P 1X1 

Please visit the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s website for more information on merchant rights under the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada.​

Following receipt of your complaint we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint within five (5) business days.
  • provide our final decision in writing within ninety (90) days for acquirers and forty-five (45) days for payment card network operators of receiving the merchant complaint, along with:
    • a summary of the complaint
    • the final result of the investigation
    • explanation of the final decision
    • information on how to further escalate your complaint in the event of an unsatisfactory outcome

If we cannot provide a response to you within (90 days for acquirers/45 days for PCNOs) you will be informed of the delay, the reason for the delay and the expected response time.

To assist us in reviewing your complaint please provide the following, where applicable:

  • ​a summary of your concerns
  • details, such as the name of the person you were dealing with, the date the concern occurred, date spoken to PCNO, acquirer or representative
  • copies of any supporting documentation (i.e. agreements, statements, correspondence from acquirer or PCNO)

Nothing restricts you from directly filing a complaint with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) to investigate non-compliance with the Code. FCAC can be reached via:

  • Phone: 1-866-461-3222
  • Email:​
  • Mail: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, 6th Floor, Enterprise Building, 427 Laurier Ave. West, Ottawa, ON K1R 1B9

FCAC is not a dispute-resolution agency for consumers in their individual dealings with payment card network operators or acquirers.

Please note that the information being submitted may be shared with your PCNO, acquirer, processor or financial institution in order to assist us in answering your concerns.​​

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