FILE A COMPLAINT
File a complaint
Advice on how to complain about an individual firm or national competent authority
You have the right to complain if you are not happy about a financial product or service you buy from a firm authorised by a national regulator in the European Union (EU).
Without prejudice to your right of access to the judicial system, firms are required to have procedures in place to deal with your complaint. Some problems are straightforward and quick to solve. Others may be more complicated and, depending on the type of complaint, may take longer to evaluate.
The best way to get your problem resolved is to follow three simple steps.
Contact the firm and explain the problem
You should contact the firm that sold you the product. This could be a financial institution, a broker or another type of financial advisor.
You can phone them, write to them or visit their office, whatever suits you best.
If you do not know the name of the person to deal with, get in touch with the customer helpline or complaints department (often called Customer services or Customer relations). Keep a record of who you have spoken to, and the time of the conversation.
File a formal complaint
If you are not satisfied with the answer the firm gives you at the first step, file a formal complaint. Ask for details of the firm's complaints procedure.
EU law requires firms to have effective and transparent procedures for the reasonable and prompt handling of complaints received from their clients.
If the firm does not resolve the problem to your satisfaction, you may be able to refer your complaint to an independent complaints scheme (see Step 3).
Ombudsman, arbitration or mediation schemes
If you are not satisfied with the reply from the bank’s or investment firm’s complaints service, contact a financial ombudsman service, also called arbitration or mediation schemes. They can usually consider your complaint only after you have raised the matter with the firm and given them the chance to put things right.
According to EU law you should have access to simple, effective and low-cost out-of-court ways to resolve disputes with your service provider. These are known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) entities. They should respond to your complaint within 90 days.
Please refer to Directive 2013/11/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes for more details
Cross border complaints
If you operate in your country through a financial services firm registered in another EU Member State, you might be covered by an out-of-court complaint scheme situated in the home country of the firm.
Financial Dispute Resolution Network
The financial dispute resolution network of national out-of-court complaint schemes in the European Economic Area countries (FIN-NET) was designed to help consumers overcome barriers that can result from cross-border transactions.
Their website allows the consumer to identify the relevant out-of court complaint scheme in the country of the financial services provider and contact that body directly. FIN-NET schemes also give consumers the possibility to make their cross-border complaints in the language of their financial contract, or in the language in which they have normally dealt with their financial services provider.
Complaint about a national competent authority
ESMA has power under Article 17 of the ESMA Regulation to investigate and take further action concerning the failure of national competent authorities to comply with their obligations under the legislation referred to in Article 1(2) of the ESMA Regulation. For further information on the scope of this power, we refer you to the ESMA Regulation (and in particular Article 17).
We also recommend that you consult ESMA’s Rules of procedure on breach of Union law investigations.
The procedure for the assessment of whether to initiate an investigation under Article 17 and the conduct of such an investigation are both provided for in these rules of procedure.
Submitting a complaint
In order for ESMA to understand your complaint and to be able to assess its admissibility, we recommend that you submit your complaint using the National Competent Authority Complaint Form.
In order to check the admissibility of your request, you can send all relevant information by email to Legal@esma.europa.eu. Alternatively you may send the information by post to:
European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)
103 rue de Grenelle
75345 Paris Cedex 07
ESMA aims to acknowledge receipt of your request within two weeks.
In order to address your complaint ESMA may contact you in order to obtain further documents or information from you.