San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Consumer rights

New banking consumer watchdog agency to open in November

Not happy with your bank? Angry customers soon will be able to file complaints with a new Financial Services Ombudsman’s Office, which begins operating in November.

The Costa Rican Banking Association (ABC), a group that joins all public and private banks, approved the creation of the office last week. They expect it to open on Nov. 17.

ABC President Gilberto Serrano said associates agreed to respect all resolutions issued by the new agency.

The office will resolve complaints related to most services offered by banks, except cases involving a third party, issues with investments, or complaints involving transactions totaling more than 100 base salaries (some ₡30 million or $55,000).

The agency will consist of a Financial Services Ombudsman, a board of directors, a lawyer and a group of financial experts in charge of evaluating and resolving complaints according to Costa Rican laws and regulations.

Serrano said the office will receive complaints from customers only if they are dissatisfied with solutions first offered by their banks.

“If a customer decides to take a case to the Financial Services Ombudsman, the bank must provide all information and evidence related to the complaint within a period not exceeding five working days. The office then will issue a final ruling within 15 days and then will inform the parties,” Serrano said.

Currently ABC members are working on logistics for the new office, including its location and schedules for the public.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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