Complaints Process

  1. If you have a complaint against any of the participating banks or insurance companies, take it first to the branch or agency at which the transaction or incident occurred.
  2. If you do not get satisfaction at the branch or agency then take the matter to the dispute resolution centre of your financial institution, usually located at the head office of your institution.
  3. It is usually best to complain to your financial institution in writing. But if you phone, ask for the name of the person to whom you are speaking. Keep a note of this information, with the date and time of your call – and what was said. You may need to refer to this later.
  4. Try to stay calm and polite, however angry or upset you may be. You are more likely to explain your complaint clearly and effectively if you can stay calm. You will also be more likely to be given a sympathetic ear.
  5. If possible, start by contacting the person with whom you originally did the transaction. If he cannot help, tell him that you want to take the matter further. Ask for details of the name or job title of the person who will be handling your complaint and ask for details of the complaints procedure of the institution.
  6. When you write a letter of complaint, include the word ‘complaint’ as part of the caption. Set out the facts as clearly as possible and keep your letter short and to the point. Say why you are not happy and what you want the institution to do about it. This will make it easier for the institution to satisfy your complaint.
  7. Write down the facts in a logical order and stick to what is relevant. Remember to include important details like the name on the account and the account number, or the policy number and vehicle number (if applicable) in the case of an insurance complaint. Put these details as the caption on your letter.
  8. Remember to enclose copies of any relevant documents that you believe would help to support your case.
  9. Keep a copy of all letters and the enclosures between you and the financial institution. You may need to refer to them later.

What To Do Next

If you are not happy with the institution’s decision on your complaint, then you may bring your complaint to the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman. However, you must do so within 180 days of receiving the institution’s decision.

For further details, take a look at our brochure entitled “OFSO Procedure on Banking Services” for banking services and “OFSO Procedure on Insurance Services” for insurance services.

If you would like us to look into your complaint, you will need to complete our complaint form. This may be accessed by going to complaint form .You may download the complaint form, complete it yourself and send it to us by post or deliver it yourself to our Office. For security reasons we cannot accept the complaint form by email – and we must have your handwritten signature.

For details of the procedures at the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman, go to Complaint Process at the OFSO.

Lodging Complaints With The OFSO

 

If you have lodged your complaint with your financial institution and you do not get a response within 2 months or, you have received a response before 2 months but you are not satisfied with the institution’s decision, then you may bring your complaint to the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman.You must lodge your complaint within 180 days of receiving notification of the institution’s determination of the matter and you still remain dis-satisfied.

Once we are sure that the complaint was already referred to your institution and it falls within our jurisdiction, you will be asked to complete our complaint form. This may be obtained by clicking complaint form , printing it and filling it out.

The form must be signed manually and either mailed or delivered to our Office. If you have a representative acting on your behalf, both you and your representative must sign the form as an indication that you have agreed to allow the representative to act on your behalf and you have given us the authority to exchange confidential information between the institution and our Office.

After the form is properly completed, the complaint may go through three stages, as follows:

Stage I – Settlement By Agreement

  • OFSO contacts the financial institution and asks for copy of their files and seeks their views.
  • OFSO assesses matter and holds discussions with parties to try and reach an agreement.
  • If agreement is reached, customer signs in full and final settlement, the institution pays the amount agreed upon, if any, advises OFSO that matter is settled and we close our files on the matter.

Stage II – Recommendation By Ombudsman

  • If no agreement is reached, either party may request the Ombudsman to make a recommendation for settlement or withdrawal of the complaint.
  • Ombudsman gives one month’s notice of intention to make a recommendation during which time further representation and fresh evidence may be provided by either party.
  • If the Financial Services Ombudsman makes a recommendation, it may be accepted by the customer in full and final settlement of matter within one month of receipt.
  • Ombudsman sends acceptance received from customer to financial institution.
  • If accepted by financial institution, it complies with the terms of the recommendation and informs the Ombudsman of the settlement.
  • If not accepted by financial institution, it shall inform the Ombudsman within four (4) weeks of receipt of letter of acceptance.

Stage III – Award By Ombudsman

  • If complaint is not settled by agreement or recommendation as above, the Ombudsman shall inform the parties of intention to make an award.
  • Award shall not be for an amount greater than $500,000.00.
  • Award shall not be greater than the amount to compensate for direct loss or damage suffered by customer by reason of acts or omissions of the financial institution.
  • Further representations may be made by either party within a period of 15 days of notice of making an award.
  • If the customer accepts the award in full and final settlement and sends his or her acceptance to OFSO within one month of the issue of the award, it is binding on the financial institution.
  • The financial institution shall comply within 15 days of the receipt of letter of acceptance from OFSO and advise the Ombudsman accordingly.
  • The Ombudsman shall report non-compliance of award by financial institution to the Central Bank.