Every Forex or crypto Exchange Company have received a complaint at least once during their operational life. It is something very normal and it doesn’t necessarily mean that these entities are always doing something bad or are scams. Not all complaints are lodged because of something bad that the company did, perhaps it was just a misunderstanding or just because sometimes people use the complaints form to ask questions. You will surprised to know that around 65 % of the lodged complaints are being submitted because the customers did not read the Terms and Conditions.
Nevertheless, complaints are not something to underestimate. The complaints should be taken seriously and resolved in an efficient and timely manner to avoid them taking uncontrollable paths such as law suits, class actions and/or reputation damages.
Plan and organize lines of responsibility internally
Dedicate a complaints communication channel. This can be any channel of communication you want as long as it visible and accessible to clients and visitors of your website.
Designate a complaints handling officer or have trained responsible personnel monitor constantly the complaints received by the company. It is highly recommended not to assign complaints to a person that may have variable remuneration from clients’ deposits or trading volume because this is considered a conflict of interest.
Prepare an excel file in which you will keep records of the complaints and where you will assign to each complaint a unique reference number in the order they were received. If you are getting too many complaints, you may need to acquire a system because an excel file may constitute too much manual work which is time consuming.
Inform your clients how to lodge a complaint
Add the complaints lodging form or email on your website and encourage your clients or visitors to use the dedicated channel in case they want to lodge a complaint. If a generic email is used such as firstname.lastname@example.org, make sure you mention it to clients or visitors that this email can be used for lodging a complaint. A publicly made Complaints Policy is highly recommended.
Allow the complainant to explain the problem and ask as many details as you can to ensure you get a good picture of the issue and to ensure you have sufficient information to conduct an investigation of the complaint. You can do this by having an online form that could be completed and which will contain questions specific to your line of business or just by free text so that the complainant can describe the issue himself. This will help you speed up the review process.
After you receive a complaint
You must acknowledge the complaint once it’s received within a reasonable number of days (eg. 5 days). You should acknowledge by replying to the complainant giving him/her the unique reference number of the complaint that you assigned internally and with a generic text mentioning that the complaint has been received and is currently under review.
Set a time limit for resolving complaints. Be reasonable but also don’t be too strict as you want to make sure that you can meet the deadline. When this time limit is reached, you must reply to the complainant with an answer concerning his/her claim.
Communicate with the complainant during the review interval if necessary to request additional information or documentation. This will ensure the complainant that someone is looking into his claim.
Analyse carefully the complaint and, for the love of your business’ wellbeing, be fair. Treating your clients fair is what keeps your business running.
Communicate the final decision of the complaint to the complainant. Make sure to include also an explanation of your position, reasoning behind the resolution, whether in favour or not of the complainant and, any remedy measures intended to be taken as applicable.
Regarding the review of the complaint, there should be a reasonable amount of time within which the Company must resolve the complaint. In the cases of regulated entities, such limit may be mentioned in the applicable regulatory framework. For instance, under CySEC regulation, it goes as follows:
Must acknowledge a complaint within 5 days from the day it was received
Must resolve a complaint within 2 months with possibility of extension to 3 months as long as the extension is justified and the client is informed
Keep record of the communication had with the complainant’s in dedicated folder along with all the data and documents used for investigation and resolution reasoning. You may need them later or you may need to prove that it was handled. Many complaints that are not resolved in the favour of the complainant re-open later with official letter of demand from the complainant’s lawyer. This means that if not dully resolved, the matter may be taken to court.
Put all the above in a Policy which will describe the process of receiving and handling complaints. You will need this later.
For the cases of complaints to which compensation or refund is offered, it is highly recommended to have the complainant sign a waiver letter that will release you from further liability. Many complainants return with further demands on the same complaint when they identify weaknesses in the procedure from which they can take advantage of. The waiver may be hand signed, electronically or it can take the form of an email to which the complainant must reply in writing that he/she agrees and confirms and the compensation and will have no other claims from this relevant issue.
Example of email acknowledging a complaint to a complainant
“Dear John Smith,
We acknowledge the receipt of your complaint received on [insert date] and it was assigned the unique reference number [insert reference number]. Please use this number whenever you wish to communicate with us regarding this specific complaint.
We will review it carefully, investigate the circumstances surrounding your complaint and will try to resolve it without undue delay.
We shall make every effort to investigate your complaint and provide you with the outcome of our investigation within two (2) months from the date you have submitted your complaint to us. During the investigation process, we will keep you updated of the handling process of your complaint. One of our officers may contact you directly (including communication by email or phone) in order to obtain further clarifications and information relating to your complaint. We will require your full cooperation in order to expedite the investigation and possible resolution of your complaint.
In the event that your complaint requires further investigation and we cannot resolve it within two (2) months, we will issue a holding response in writing or other durable medium. When a holding response is sent, it will indicate the causes of the delay and when the Company’s investigation is likely to be completed. In any event, we shall provide you with the outcome of our investigation no later than one (1) month from the issuing of the holding response, depending on the complexity of the case and your cooperation.”
When we reach an outcome we will inform you of it together with an explanation of our position and any remedy measures we intend to take (if applicable).
If you are not satisfied with the Company’s final decision you may check with the office of the Financial Ombudsman of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines jurisdiction in case you are eligible to file a complaint with them and seek mediation for possible compensation.
In the unlikely event that the Company was unable to provide you with a final response within the three (3) month time period specified above you may again contact the office of the Financial Ombudsman of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines jurisdiction no later than four (4) months after the date when we ought to have provided you with our final decision.
It is understood that your right to take legal action remains unaffected by the existence or use of any complaints procedures referred to above.”