Who can file a complaint and why?

The Complaints Service deals with the complaints submitted by investors, including any investment fund unitholders and investment company shareholders that have delegated management to a collective investment scheme management company.

Complaints can relate to the functioning of the services provided, as well as to transactions and specific facts that may damage the complaining party’s interests or rights due to breach of contract, of regulations on transparency and customer protection or non-compliance with good financial practices and usage.

Additionally, a Spanish investor can address a complaint to the Complaints Service, as a member of FIN-NET, even if their complaint is addressed to a foreign financial institution. FIN-NET is the European cooperation network whose purpose is to provide users of financial services with access to out-of-court claim procedures in the event of cross-border disputes, through cooperation and the exchange of information between the bodies in charge of processing them in each country. The Complaints Service will help you find the appropriate complaint system and provide you with the necessary information on it and its corresponding complaint procedure.

The decisions and recommendations of extra-judicial bodies are not binding in all countries. In any case, the procedure provided by FIN-NET only represents an alternative to court proceedings.

You can consult the FIN-NET website to make a complaint about a financial service provider in another EEA country or to see the list of members and other information of interest.

How to file a complaint

Firstly, you must consult the Customer Care Service or Customer Ombudsman for the entity. The address of these services must be available in their offices or on their website. You can also consult it on the CNMV website. If you do not agree with the response received, or if you have not received a reply after a month have passed, you can submit a complaint to the Complaints Service through the following channels:

  • Submit your complaint by electronic means. By telematic means, through the CNMV Virtual Office, using either their digital certificate or digital DNI (national identity document), or their username and password, investors may consult the guide or see the explanatory video.
  • Submit a form addressed to the Complaints Service: C/ Edison, 4, 28006 Madrid – C/ Bolivia 56, (4 ª Planta) 08018 Barcelona.

There is also an investor assistance service telephone number you can call: 900 535 015. Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 - 19:00.

Before entities

Entities have a customer care service or department to resolve complaints submitted by their customers. Its operation is provided for in a Customer Defence Regulation that can be consulted in their offices and on their website, if the contracts have been concluded by telematic means. The deadline for submitting a complaint must be defined in the Regulation.

Complaints must be submitted to the entities’ customer care services in writing, stating their date, and customers must keep a copy of them, stamped by the entity, so that they can prove that they have completed this formality.

The customer care departments or services and, where appropriate, the customer ombudsman, have two months to issue a reasoned statement, starting from the date of receipt of the complaint. Should you not receive a response within one month, or if you are not satisfied with the reply provided, you will have a period of one year to file a complaint with the Complaints Service. The Complaints Service may admit the claim as long as no more than five years have passed since the events subject to the complaint occurred and up to the date of the filing the claim with the entity's customer service department or the client’s ombudsman.

The entities’ customer care services must provide investors with the form through which they can submit the complaint to the Complaints Service.

Any and all such responses as may be received from the customer care department or the customer ombudsman must be notified to the interested party within a period of ten calendar days from the date on which the decision is made, by the same means through which the complaint was filed.

Before the Complaints Service

The Complaints Service is responsible for dealing with investors’ complaints in relation to the activities of investment firms, credit institutions (when they provide investment services), as well as investment fund management companies and investment companies.

The complaint must necessarily include the following information:

  • Identification of the interested party or complaining party: forename and surname(s), D.N.I. (Spanish national identity document number), address for delivering notifications and contact telephone number.
  • Identification of the entity against which the complaint has been made and office in which the facts occurred.
  • Reason or grounds for the complaint.
  • Statement that the facts have not been nor are they the subject of court proceedings, arbitration or analysis in any other administrative or judicial court.
  • Copy of the complaint filed with the Customer Care Service or the Customer Ombudsman for the entity or documentary evidence that a month has elapsed without them having received a response from the entity.
  • Place, date and signature.
  • Any document or data deemed appropriate to support the complaint.

It is mandatory to use the website form, which can be sent electronically, or the PDF form, which can be obtained from financial institutions and from CNMV itself, and which must be sent to the Complaints Service: C/ Edison, 4, 28006 Madrid – C/ Bolivia 56, (4 ª Planta) 08018 Barcelona.

With regard to online filing of complaints by investors, the Complaints Service has prepared an explanatory guide and a video to facilitate online filing of complaints and their subsequent monitoring, also online. The guide explains the process to investors. It includes four simple steps and reminds investors how to access the complaint after it has been filed to find out its processing status. The online procedure is quick, safe and easily accessible through various electronic devices.

The Complaints Service examines the admissibility of the complaint and communicates its admission or request for correction of any term if necessary.

Once admitted, the entity in relation to which the complaint has been submitted is notified of such complaint, so that it can file pleadings within a period of twenty-one calendar days. The entity must send these pleadings to the complaining party so that the latter can make a statement in regard to them, also within a period of twenty-one calendar days.

The maximum period for resolving complaints is ninety calendar days. If this is not possible, this circumstance must be reported and the causes that have prevented it must be included in the final report.

The final report contains clear, precise and reasoned conclusions on the entity’s conduct in the case at hand. This report:

  • Is merely for informative purposes and is not binding on the parties. However, the entity must inform the supervisor of the steps taken in relation to resolved claims with a favourable report issued to the complaining party.
  • It is not considered an actionable administrative act and, therefore, it cannot be appealed before administrative or judicial bodies.
  • It does not provide for economic valuations of the possible damages caused to users of financial services, since only the courts of justice can recognise this type of request.

In the course of the proceedings the interested parties may withdraw their complaint, which would result in such proceedings being closed for the complainant. They can also come to an agreement with the entities to close the proceedings.

Criteria applied when settling a complaint

The list of criteria included here, in addition to complying with the principle of transparency applicable in administration activities, constitutes a detailed, systematic, practical and updated guide to the guidelines followed by the Complaints Service when settling the complaints that it analyses. It is therefore addressed not only to investors who may be interested in filing a complaint, but also to the entities that may be affected by such complaint, in an attempt to provide certain legal certainty in this area of action of the Complaints Service.

However, this guide is not intended to be exhaustive; rather, it seeks to disseminate as widely as possible the way in which the most common queries will be resolved. Nevertheless, the criteria respond to a specific moment in time, the date of their publication, meaning that future regulatory amendments or changes in the circumstances revealed through the complaints could give rise to changes to them, about which adequate information will be provided.

Finally, it should be pointed out that, in order to better locate the specific criterion to be consulted, the issues usually analysed by this Complaints Service have been divided into nine main headings, each of which, in turn, is divided into several sub-headings through which it is intended to facilitate the search for the matter to be consulted.

The following is a list of the criteria used by the Complaints Service to settle complaints:

In addition, the full text of the criteria guide is included, in case it is of interest to the person making the enquiry.

Finally, it should be noted that since the publication of the Complaints Report in 2016, the criteria used to settle the complaints that this Complaints Service has dealt with in the specific year to which this Report refers have been included in this annual report, although, in this case, the criteria are included to refer to specific complaints and not for general purposes, as in the aforementioned document.

This Report also includes statistical data and references to the different activities carried out by the Investor Department. Therefore, it may be of interest to consult it, which may be done through the following link: reports on investor assistance and enquiries.

The Fin-Net network

The Financial Dispute Resolution Network (FIN-NET) is the network for the out-of-court resolution of cross-border disputes between European consumers and financial service providers.