You can submit a complaint to the Bank of Italy:
- free of charge
- independently, without the help of a lawyer or a professional person
- easily and quickly on the 'Online Services' platform
Why you can submit a complaint to the Bank of Italy
Complaints are a listening channel and contribute to the Bank of Italy's consumer protection work. Analysing the complaints received and the indications deriving from them make it possible to intercept specific consumer protection needs, and improve the information available to the Bank for carrying out its supervision. Complaints can also highlight gaps in the legislation and aspects of it that can be improved, as well as topics that need financial education initiatives to raise the level of customers' awareness regarding banking and financial services. A complaint is not a tool for requesting consultancy, an opinion or an interpretation of legislation.
Another fundamental channel for listening and for monitoring the main problems experienced by customers is the continuous dialogue with the consumer associations that belong to the Consiglio Nazionale dei Consumatori e degli Utenti (National Council for Users and Consumers, CNCU).
The Bank of Italy reports on its management of complaints by providing a general account of the analyses carried out in its 'Report on Operations and Activities of the Bank of Italy', and more detailed information in its 'Report on the management of complaints from customers of banks and financial companies'.
What it is
A complaint is a written communication sent to the Bank of Italy in which a customer or another interested party can report:
- conduct on the part of banks and supervised financial intermediaries that they deem to be irregular or wrong;
- irregularities in the information held in the Central Credit Register (CR) or in the Interbank Register of Bad Cheques and Payment Cards (CAI).
Submitting a complaint does not start an administrative proceeding, as governed by Law 241/1990.
What the Bank of Italy does when it receives a complaint
When the Bank of Italy receives a complaint, it:
- it usually involves the intermediary concerned by sending a copy of the complaint and inviting it to look at what has been reported and to respond to the customer, thereby encouraging dialogue between the parties;
- it responds directly to the person who submitted the complaint, providing them with a clearer understanding of the issues raised;
- it gathers useful information for carrying out its regulatory and control functions and for financial education and, more generally speaking, for customer protection.
When the Bank of Italy receives complaints that do not fall under its remit, it sends them to the competent authority or organization, if they are not already involved. It informs the customer that it has done so or invites the complainant to send their complaint directly to the competent authority or organization.
What the Bank cannot do when it receives a complaint
It is important to know that the Bank of Italy:
- does not make any decision concerning the contractual relations between an intermediary and a customer, as for example the Banking and Financial Ombudsman (ABF) can, nor does it make any evaluation of decisions that individual intermediaries make autonomously, such as the granting of a loan;
- does not inform individual customers of the results of any supervisory action or investigations involving intermediaries;
- does not usually respond to complaints on issues already submitted to the judicial authorities;
- does not take into consideration generic or incomplete complaints, nor does it consider reports on previously submitted cases unless there are significant new elements.
Who can use this service
A customer of a bank or of another financial intermediary, duly registered on the Supervisory registers and lists, who wants to report irregular or unfair behaviour concerning banking operations, products and services or to dispute a report made by a bank or financial institution to the Central Credit Register (CR) or in the Interbank Register of Bad Cheques and Payment Cards (CAI).
It is useful to know that banks, financial companies and payment card issuers are responsible for the accuracy of reports sent to the CR and the CAI, and customers can contact them directly to ask for any mistakes to be rectified. If the Bank of Italy is informed about any errors in the data collected, it asks banks, financial companies and payment card issuers to check such data.
How to submit a complaint
The fastest and easiest way to submit a complaint to the Bank of Italy is the 'Online services' platform: all you have to do is choose the 'Submit a complaint' box, which shows you how to fill in the form in a simple way, securely and quickly. You can access the service via a smartphone, tablet or personal computer.
If you use the 'Online services' platform, the complaint is sent directly to the competent Bank of Italy Branch and analysed and processed more quickly.
Alternatively, complaints can be submitted by:
- e-mail from a certified e-mail address (PEC) or by standard e-mail;
- regular mail;
- hand delivery to one of the Bank of Italy's Branches.
If you do not use the 'Online services' platform, the complaint has to be delivered or sent to the Bank of Italy's Branch located in the area where the bank or financial institution has its headquarters. To find out where a bank or financial institution's headquarters are located, you can consult the Supervisory registers and lists.
To submit a complaint, you should:
- indicate the intermediary or intermediaries involved, if you know who they are;
- describe briefly and clearly, but with details where possible, the conduct that you believe to be irregular or unfair, and your requests.
- Identify yourself:
- For complaints relating to the Central Credit Register (CR) and to the Interbank Register of Bad Cheques and Payment Cards (CAI): identify yourself by using your SPID (Public Digital Identity System), a certified electronic signature, your CIE (electronic identity card) or by submitting a legible copy of a valid identity document with a signed copy of the relative request. Alternatively, you can use a certified email address (PEC), and attach a legible copy of a valid identity document.
- For complaints relating to banking and financial services: you do not need to 'certify' your identity and sign it; you just need to provide enough information to allow the complaint to be processed. On the Online Services platform, if you do not use SPID, CIE or a certified electronic signature, you just need to enter your personal details manually.
The Bank of Italy does not consider the following as complaints: requests for data, information and advice, and quesiti normativi ('questions on laws and regulations' - only in Italian).
For further information on submitting a complaint, customers can also call this toll-free number: 800-196969.
The offices of the Bank of Italy responsible for coordinating the management of complaints are:
- The Consumer Protection Directorate, for complaints concerning behaviour on the part of banks and financial institutions that a customer deems to be irregular or unfair;
- The Retail Payment Instruments and Services Directorate, for complaints concerning irregularities in the information held in the Interbank Register of Bad Cheques and Payment Cards (CAI);
- The Statistical Data Collection and Processing Directorate, for complaints concerning irregularities in the information held in the Central Credit Register (CR).
Consumer Protection Directorate
Via del Traforo, 146, 00187 Rome
Certified email address (PEC): firstname.lastname@example.org
Retail Payment Instruments and Services Directorate
Via Nazionale 75, 00184 Rome
Certified email address (PEC): email@example.com
Statistical Data Collection and Processing Directorate
Largo Guido Carli 1, 00044 Frascati
Certified email address (PEC): firstname.lastname@example.org
If there is a problem with a bank or a financial intermediary, the first thing to do is to contact them directly, submitting a complaint in which you point out irregular or unfair conduct or an omission to an intermediary in written form (e.g. a letter, fax or e-mail). Information on contact details and how to submit a complaint is usually available on the institution's website. The complaint may lead to a solution to the problem and to your requests being met.
Every intermediary is obliged to have a person or office tasked with managing complaints that must respond to the customer within 60 days of receiving a complaint relating to banking operations and services. The period is reduced to 15 business days for responses to complaints concerning payment services.
To protect your rights, you can also:
- contact one of the alternative dispute settlement systems provided for by law, such as the (ABF);
- contact the judicial authorities.
The ABF is an alternative dispute resolution system for financial intermediaries and their customers. If the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of the ABF, it can be dealt with swiftly and at a low cost (€20). Information on how the system works and how to submit a complaint is available on the ABF's website.
Data protection and artificial intelligence
In July 2021, we started using an artificial intelligence (AI) system to handle complaints from users reporting issues with banks and financial intermediaries.
This AI system helps us to quickly detect the most frequent complaints and to improve our protection strategy. We regularly update the system to make it more effective.
You should be aware that we do not use AI to carry out automated evaluations that might affect people's rights, nor do we profile users who submit complaints (i.e. we do not collect and process data on complainants to divide them into groups based on their behaviour).
Data are processed confidentially. The Bank complies with a Regulation on the use of AI published on its website (as well as in the Official Gazette of the Italian Republic General Series No. 75 of 30 March 2022).
We do not disclose any of the information and data processed by the AI system outside the Bank. However, we do send a copy of the complaint to the intermediaries involved, as explained in the previous section 'How the Bank of Italy processes complaints'.