Dispute Resolution Office (DRO) (formerly Office of the Ombudsman)
What is the Dispute Resolution Office?
Equitable’s1 Dispute Resolution Office has a mandate to receive and handle customer complaints regarding the Bank's products and services that could not be resolved within the first two steps of the Bank's Customer Complaint Handling Procedures (CCHP). The Dispute Resolution Office is headed by Equitable’s Chief Compliance Officer.
What is the mandate of the Dispute Resolution Office?
Working closely with both customers and the Bank's relevant business units, the Dispute Resolution Office independently and thoroughly conducts a full investigation of customer complaints, subject to certain limitations.
The Dispute Resolution Office is committed to providing an impartial review based on the evidence available to help customers and the Bank reach a fair, reasonable and transparent resolution. Customers who remain dissatisfied are free to pursue external recourse, including to an external complaints body, if a settlement is not reached.
How can the Dispute Resolution Office help?
If your complaint has not been resolved within the first two steps of Equitable's CCHP, you may wish to submit your complaint in writing to the Dispute Resolution Office.
Once we receive your written complaint, we will acknowledge your request within 48 hours. We will do an initial assessment to confirm that the matter falls within the mandate of our Office. By submitting your complaint, you provide us with permission to discuss your issue with the relevant Equitable business unit. If your complaint is within our mandate and has been through the first two steps of the CCHP, we will begin a full investigation. Most investigations are concluded within 4 - 6 weeks. However, some issues may have a lengthier investigation period, and we will keep you informed of our progress. We will provide you with a final resolution/recommendation in writing. Any recommendations we make are non-binding and parties are free to accept or reject them and pursue other options for resolution.
As noted above, some matters fall outside of the Dispute Resolution Office's mandate. These include credit granting policies/ lending decisions; matters of policy such as interest rates, service fees and account closures; issues that are in litigation or have been decided by the courts; and transactions for which Bank records no longer exist (typically after six or seven years).
The Dispute Resolution Office may, however, investigate such complaints to determine whether proper procedures were followed by Equitable.