External complaints bodies: know your rights
What are external complaints bodies
External complaints bodies (ECB) are organizations that are independent from banks, authorized foreign banks and federal credit unions (all referred to as banks). They deal with customer complaints about banking services and products.
Banks must be a member of the:
- Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI), or
- ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office (ADRBO)
ECBs provide a free and impartial review of complaints as part of a bank’s complaint-handling procedure. They can recommend a resolution for your complaint.
Your right to escalate your complaint to an external complaints body
You can ask the ECB to review your complaint against your bank if:
- your complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction after going through the internal complaint-handling process, or
- 56 days have passed since your bank received your complaint
Your rights when dealing with an external complaints body
If you’ve escalated your complaint with a bank to an ECB, you have rights when dealing with the ECB.
- provide their services to you free of charge in English or French
- make sure that any person who works on your complaint, or acts on behalf of an ECB is:
- independent from both you and the bank
- inform you about their terms of reference. These terms explain the services the ECB provides
- provide any information and assistance you need to understand the terms of reference and the complaint procedure, upon request
- tell you in writing if your complaint or any part of it is outside of their mandate. They must provide you with the reasons for that and tell you the name of any entity where you may file your complaint. They must do so within 30 days of receiving your complaint
- make a final written recommendation to you and your bank. They must do so within 120 days of receiving all the information needed to deal with the complaint
- make the summary of their recommendation available on their website. They must do so within 90 days of making their recommendation to you and your bank
Your right to file a complaint against an external complaints body
If you have a complaint or a problem with an ECB, try to resolve it directly with them.
If you can’t resolve your problem directly with your ECB, contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).
When these rights apply to you
These rights apply when you’re dealing with an external complaints body.
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