Our Dispute Handling Process

There are three (3) simple steps involved in handling a dispute. Some disputes take longer or resolve than others. If you want to jump to a quick diagram of the process, click here. Otherwise, continue reading.

Step 1. Contact your Financial Institution

  1. Click on Participating Financial Institutions to make sure that the financial institution with which you have the complaint is included.
  2. If your financial institution is listed, lodge your complaint with the branch or agency at which the transaction or incident occurred.
  3. If you do not get satisfaction at the branch or agency then take the matter to the dispute resolution centre of your financial institution. The centre is usually located at the head office of your institution.
  4. It is usually best to complain to your financial institution in writing. If you telephone, however, ask for the name of the person with whom you are speaking. Keep a note of this information, with the date and time of your call as well as what was said. You may need to refer to this later.
  5. Try to stay calm and polite despite how angry or upset you may be. You are more likely to explain your complaint clearly and effectively if you can stay calm. Also, you will be more likely to be given a sympathetic ear.
  6. If possible, start by contacting the person with whom you originally conducted the transaction. If he/she cannot help, tell him/her 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Remember to enclose copies of any relevant documents that you believe would help to support your case.
  10. Keep a copy of all letters and communications between you and the financial institution. You may need to refer to them later.

Step 2. What to do next

    1. There are some things which may not fall within the jurisdiction of the OFSO. Click here  to see a list of matters that the OFSO is unable to treat with.
    2. If the financial institution does not resolve the dispute with you through its internal process, or, if you are not happy with the institution’s decision regarding your complaint, then you may lodge your complaint with the OFSO. This must be done within one hundred and eighty (180) days of receiving the institution’s decision.
    3. Lodging a complaint with the OFSO is easy:
      1. For further details, you can take a look at our brochure entitled “OFSO Procedure on Banking Services” for banking services and “OFSO Procedure on Insurance Services” for insurance services.
      2. Upon completion of the Complaint Form, send it to us by post or deliver it yourself to our Office. Please ensure that you sign the Form.


Step 3. Our review begins

      1. When the Complaint Form is received, the Office will review it to ensure that it is a valid complaint and it falls within our jurisdiction/purview.
      2. It is important that we receive all the information pertinent to your complaint so that we can assist with the timely resolution of it.
      3. The OFSO works independently to resolve your complaint in a fair and reasonable manner.

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