What is a bank mediator and how to request one in France?

Radar
Radar

Fight fraud with the strength of the Stripe network.

Learn more 
  1. Introduction
  2. What is a bank mediator?
  3. When can you call on a bank mediator?
  4. Which criteria must be met to refer a dispute to the bank mediator?
  5. How can I refer a dispute to the bank mediator?
  6. What can I do if the solution is not satisfactory?

While recourse to the bank mediator is free of charge for all customers of French banks, there are nonetheless certain criteria that must be met in order to refer a dispute. But first, what is the role of a bank mediator? What can you do if you are in dispute with your French bank and who can you call on? This article tells you what you need to know about the bank mediator, including how to request mediation.

What's in this article?

  • What is a bank mediator?
  • When can you call on a bank mediator?
  • Which criteria must be met to refer a dispute to the bank mediator?
  • How can I refer a dispute to the bank mediator?
  • What can I do if the solution is not satisfactory?

What is a bank mediator?

In France, the bank mediator is the independent professional who is called upon to intervene in a dispute between a customer and their bank. Their goal is to find an out-of-court solution that is completely independent and impartial (both with respect to the customer and the bank) in order to solve the dispute fairly.

The bank mediator's activities are assessed by the French Commission for the evaluation and control of consumer mediation (CECMC). The CECMC's role is to maintain a list of unbiased and competent ombudsmen with the European Commission.

When can you call on a bank mediator?

You can have recourse to a bank mediator when you are having difficulties with your bank. You may feel, for example, that your bank has billed you abnormally high or abusive fees. You can also apply for mediation if you are in a dispute about banking services rendered or investments made, payment services, financial instruments, savings products, account management or credit transactions.

Which criteria must be met to refer a dispute to the bank mediator?

Before calling on the bank mediator, you must first have exhausted all other channels in trying to solve the problem – first with your account officer and then with your bank's customer service by sending a written complaint by registered post with acknowledgement of receipt.

If you cannot find a satisfactory solution with your account officer or if you do not receive an answer from them within two months (or within 15 days when the case concerns a payment service), you can then have recourse to the bank mediator. You have one year after sending your letter of complaint to the bank to call on the bank mediator. The letter is proof that you have tried to solve the problem yourself.

Note that certain situations prevent you from having access to a bank mediator:

  • When a dispute has already been examined by another bank mediator or by a court
  • When a dispute is being examined
  • When a period of over one year has passed between the time that the complaint is sent to the bank and the time that the bank mediator is called in

How can I refer a dispute to the bank mediator?

You can request mediation either by post or online by following the instructions provided by the French Banking Federation (FBF). The National Consumer Institute has a template available that you can use to apply for banking mediation. Enclose copies of the supporting documents concerned with your request.

You will be informed once the bank mediator has received your request. The bank mediator has 90 days after receiving your request to provide you with a solution to the dispute. You are not obliged to accept the bank mediator's solution and can withdraw from the mediation if you so wish.

If your bank refuses to accept the bank mediator's solution, you can – as a customer – contact the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (ACPR).

Note that you can also be assisted by a lawyer during the mediation. However, the lawyer's fees will be at your expense.

What can I do if the solution is not satisfactory?

If you are not satisfied with the bank mediator's solution, you have two years to initiate legal proceedings. In general, a dispute over a sum less than or equal to €10,000 will be ruled on in a district court, whereas a dispute over a sum in excess of €10,000 will be ruled on in a judicial court. Having recourse to legal proceedings can be expensive and is only recommended when large sums are at stake.

To help you avoid high-level disputes, Stripe's Radar feature sends you pre-dispute notifications when any problems arise concerning a payment made to you. Once a dispute has been initiated, Stripe will continue to send you notifications until the decision by the bank is final. Get started with Stripe to solve your disputes rapidly.

The content in this article is for general information and education purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Stripe does not warrant or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy, or currency of the information in the article. You should seek the advice of a competent attorney or accountant licensed to practice in your jurisdiction for advice on your particular situation.

Ready to get started?

Create an account and start accepting payments – no contracts or banking details required. Or, contact us to design a custom package for your business.