Recent amendments to the Canadian Code of Conduct include Element 13 which establishes Payment card network rules requiring merchants to have access to a clear dispute resolution process that provides for an investigation and timely response to complaints pertaining to the Code.
If a merchant believes that its service providers conduct is contrary to the Code, they may report the issue to their acquirer. The acquirer will review the issue with the merchant, undertake an investigation, and respond to the merchant within ninety days. If the acquirer’s complaint process is exhausted and a satisfactory resolution not achieved, the merchant may submit the complaint to the payment card networks.
To facilitate the exchange of information, payment card networks will develop a common template and information requirements to facilitate the submission of a complaint by a merchant. Payment card networks will investigate any complaints received from the acquirer, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), or directly from a merchant and will work with their participants to find an appropriate resolution, and communicate the outcome of its investigation directly to the merchant, with a copy to the acquirer, within forty-five days of receiving the complaint.
Acquirers will establish an internal complaints handling process and make information on their process easily available to merchants. At a minimum, the complaints handling process must adhere to the following standards:
If acquirers cannot provide a response within 90 days, the merchant must be informed of the delay, reason for the delay, and the expected response time.
With the exception of the response time, each of these standards also applies to the payment card networks for investigating and responding to merchant complaints.
Payment card networks must be informed in writing of the aggregate number of any Code-related complaints received by acquirers, the nature of the merchant complaints, and the outcomes on a semi-annual basis. The payment card networks will also share the above information with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, as well as aggregate information on complaints resolved by the payment card networks.
Nothing in the above process restricts the merchant from directly filing complaints with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, or a payment card network, to investigate non-compliance with the Code.