Filing a complaint with a bank: know your rights

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

All federally regulated financial institutions (banks, authorized foreign banks, federal credit unions and federally regulated trust, loan and insurance companies) must have a complaint-handling procedure in place. This includes customers having access to an independent and impartial review. For banks, authorized foreign banks and federal credit unions (all referred to as banks) that’s by an external complaints body (ECB).

Each bank’s complaint-handling procedure will have some differences.

Find the complaint-handling process for your financial institution.

Learn how to file a complaint with your financial institution

Your rights when dealing with your bank’s complaint-handling procedure

Banks must:

  • deal with your complaint within 56 days after they received it
  • disclose to their customers and the public:
    • their procedure for dealing with complaints
    • the name of the external complaints body (ECB) of which they’re a member and how you can contact that ECB
    • the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s (FCAC) mailing and website address and telephone number
  • provide the information listed above to you in writing, upon request
  • display the information listed above prominently:
    • at each of their branches in Canada where they offer products or services and at each of their points of service
    • on each of their websites through which they offer products or services in Canada
  • have a copy of their complaint-handling procedure on file at FCAC

Your right to information about your bank's complaint-handling procedure

When you open an account at a bank, they must provide you with information about their complaint-handling procedure. They must do so in writing. This may be in paper or electronic format (if you consent to receive information this way). The information must be accurate and use language that is clear, simple and not misleading.

When you file a complaint with a bank, they must:

  • confirm to you in writing the date they received your complaint
  • tell you about their complaint-handling procedure
  • provide you with any information to help you meet the requirements of their procedure

Your right to information about your bank’s complaint-handling activities

Banks must make certain information available to the public free of charge, within 135 days after the end of each fiscal year.

This information includes:

  • the number and nature of complaints that the officer or employee designated by the bank to deal with complaints dealt with. The bank’s procedure will identify this officer or employee.
  • the average length of time that officer or employee took to deal with the complaints
  • the number of complaints that, in the bank’s opinion, were resolved by that officer or employee to the satisfaction of the persons who filed the complaints

They’ll make this information available:

  • on each of their websites through which they offer products or services in Canada
  • by providing it to you in writing upon request

When these rights apply to you

These rights apply when you’re dealing with a bank, authorized foreign bank or federal credit union.

Learn more about how your banking rights are protected.

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