The first step should always involve lodging a complaint with the company itself. For this reason we recommend that you obtain a written decision from management, in the first instance, before taking any further steps.
If your claim is rejected, you have the option of complaining to BaFin. We can examine, for example, whether or not a company is complying with binding legal requirements or applicable judgements (e.g. judgements by the Federal Court of Justice). In addition to considering civil-law aspects, we also examine the facts with a view to supervisory law. However, BaFin is subject to a statutory duty of confidentiality with regard to the results of the examinations.
If you feel you have been badly advised with regard to the purchase of securities (e.g. equities, warrants) and have lost money as a result, or if an offer appears to be suspect, please write to us. Where complaints are well founded, we contact the institution concerned and follow them up. Your information helps us to detect and deal with breaches of the Securities Trading Act (Wertpapierhandelsgesetz – WpHG).
You can also lodge a complaint with an ombudsman in many cases. Many credit institutions and the majority of insurers in Germany have voluntarily agreed to settle possible disputes with the help of these private mediators. These Arbitration Boards have been established within the industry associations of the respective companies. The ombudsmen themselves, however, are independent. The ombudsmen are appointed for a specific period and may not, for instance, be dismissed prematurely simply because they have adjudged a case to the company's disadvantage.
If you have reason to believe that someone has breached the prohibitions on price manipulation or insider trading, we would also ask you to contact BaFin. If insider trading is suspected, BaFin launches an investigation, and reports the case to the public prosecutor's office if the suspicion is substantiated.
Please note that BaFin is subject to legal limitation concerning the processing of complaints.
- BaFin cannot give binding rulings on individual disputes. Decisions on questions of law are a matter for the courts alone. Only they can give binding rulings on controversial points of law and impose sanctions such as financial penalties on companies.
- BaFin cannot provide expert opinions on general questions of law either. By law, general legal advice may only be provided by professionals qualified to do so, in particular, members of the legal profession (www.brak.de). Various consumer protection organisations also offer assistance.