Does a complaint fall within our jurisdiction?

Learn more about the complaints we can and cannot consider, and why.

Eligible complainants

The Ombud may consider a dispute brought by or on behalf of a customer or prospective customer of a bank who is:

(a) a private individual; or

(b) a small business (including a sole proprietor or trader, a juristic person, partnership or trust), with a turnover in the last financial year of less than R10 000 0001; or

(c) an executor or beneficiary of an estate or trust in respect of which a banking service has been provided; or

(d) the nominated beneficiary of the financial product which is the subject of the relevant complaint; or

(e) a person for whose benefit a contract on insurance was taken out or was intended to be taken out; or

(f) the true owner, or the person entitled to the immediate possession, of a cheque or the funds that it represents, collected by the bank for someone else’s account; or

(g) the provider of a suretyship or security for a mortgage or loan; or

(h) a person whose information is the subject of a dispute relating to confidentiality; or

(i) a person entitled to complain to the Ombud under the provisions of FAIS, FSOS, NCA or other legislation; and who

(j) in respect of matters not falling within NCA, or other legislation that specifically empowers the Ombud to act as a recognised ombudsman, has suffered some significant monetary loss, distress or inconvenience as a result of the bank’s conduct; and who

(k) has or should have received the banking service that is the subject of the dispute or advice given by the bank’s own staff, either in relation to the bank’s own products or to the products of other institutions; and

(l) has tried unsuccessfully to resolve the dispute through approaches to the bank’s management or its internal complaints handling section, or the complaint has been repudiated, or there has been an undue delay by the bank in resolving the complaint.

1 Previously R5 000 000. Increased to R10 000 000 as from 31 May 2011.

Limits on the Ombud’s jurisdiction

(a) Amount involved

(i) In respect of matters falling within NCA or other legislation, the Ombud may not consider a complaint or dispute that relates to an amount that exceeds the limit determined by the Minister;

(ii) In respect of matters not falling within NCA , the Ombud may not consider a complaint or dispute that relates to an amount that:

(aa) exceeds R2 000 000 unless the bank concerned has agreed in writing to this limitation being waived; or

(bb) is part of a larger claim by the complainant against the bank involving more than R2 000 000, unless the complainant agrees to limit the claim to R2 000 000; or

(cc) the claim, together with another claim which the complainant could make against the bank, would add up to a total of more than R2 000 000, unless the other claim is separate or unrelated.

(b) Time limit

(i) The Ombud may not consider a complaint or dispute that relates to:

(aa) an act or omission which occurred more than three years prior to the date when the complaint was lodged with the Ombud; or

(bb) a claim that has become prescribed by law.

(ii) The period of three years commences on the date on which the complainant became aware, or ought reasonably to have become aware, of such occurrence, whichever occurs first.

(c) Other processes

The Ombud may not consider a complaint or dispute that:

(i) falls within the jurisdiction of any statutory ombudsman as defined by their enabling legislation; or

(ii) is based on the same event and facts as any matter which is, was, or becomes, the subject of any proceedings in any court, tribunal or regulator or other independent dispute-resolving body or an investigation by a statutory ombudsman of any jurisdiction, unless the proceedings were instituted by the bank and the Ombud has considered it appropriate to intervene and is not prohibited from doing so under any law; or

(iii) is under consideration by a legal practitioner, whether or not with a view to instituting legal proceedings, unless the Ombud determines that the involvement of a legal practitioner is appropriate in the circumstances; or

(iv) would more appropriately be dealt with by a court of law or through any other dispute resolution process.

(d) Charges

In respect of matters not falling within NCA or other legislation, the Ombud may not consider a complaint or dispute that relates to a bank’s general interest rate policy or fees and charges policy, unless it relates to a fee or charge being incorrectly applied by the bank having regard to any scale of charges generally applied by that bank, or maladministration which involves an act or omission contrary to or not in accordance with a duty owed at law or pursuant to the terms (express or implied) of the contract between the bank and the complainant.

(e) Unreasonable complainants

The Ombud may, at their sole discretion, determine that a dispute should not be considered on the grounds that the complainant is pursuing it:

(i) in an unreasonable manner; or

(ii) in a frivolous, vexatious, offensive, threatening or abusive manner.

(f) Termination by complainant

A complainant may, at any time prior to the issuing of a determination, terminate the Ombud’s handling of the complaint and resort to litigation or any other dispute resolution process by withdrawing the complaint in writing.