BaFin arbitration board
BaFin gives those involved in disputes the opportunity to turn to its arbitration board as well as to make complaints. The arbitration board deals with disputes involving consumers and credit institutions or financial services providers for which no private, recognised dispute resolution entity is responsible.
On this page:
- What are the tasks of the dispute resolution entities?
- What are the legal bases?
- Which dispute resolution entity is responsible for me?
- How do I find the responsible dispute resolution entity?
- How do I file an application for arbitration with BaFin?
- May an application for arbitration be denied?
- How are the dispute resolution proceedings handled?
- Dispute resolution proceedings
- What does the arbitration proposal mean for me?
- May I also hire a lawyer?
- Can I obtain legal advice from BaFin's arbitration board?
- How much does arbitration cost?
- How do I contact BaFin's arbitration board?
What are the tasks of the dispute resolution entities?
The aim of dispute resolution entities in the financial sector is to give parties in dispute access to simple, low-cost, efficient and relatively fast means of dispute resolution. The dispute resolution entities have to ensure that certain requirements regarding the qualifications of the arbitrators and the neutrality of the proceedings are met in order to be recognised as a consumer dispute resolution entity by the Federal Office of Justice (Bundesamt für Justiz – BfJ) and to call themselves such.
What are the legal bases?
The requirements placed on dispute resolution entities are laid down in particular in the German Act on Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Verbraucherstreitbeilegungsgesetz – VSBG) and the Regulation on Financial Dispute Resolution Entities (Finanzschlichtungsstellenverordnung – FinSV; only available in German).
The legal responsibilities of the consumer dispute resolution entities are found in the German Injunctions Act (Unterlassungsklagengesetz – UKlaG) and in the German Insurance Contract Act (Versicherungsvertragsgesetz – VVG).
BaFin's arbitration board can deal with disputes in connection with the German Investment Code (Kapitalanlagegesetzbuch – KAGB) and with banking business and financial services within the meaning of section 1 (1) sentence 2 of the German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz – KWG) and section 1 (1a) sentence 2 of the KWG, provided that no recognised private dispute resolution entity is responsible (see section 14 (1) nos 6 and 7 of the UKlaG).
Which dispute resolution entity is responsible for me?
For disputes in connection with financial services, there are various dispute resolution entities. The entities listed below are those which were recognised as consumer dispute resolution entities by the BfJ as of 31 January 2017.
Insurance undertakings (see section 214 of the VVG):
- Insurance Ombudsman Association (Versicherungsombudsmann e.V.)
- Ombudsperson for private health and long-term care insurance (Ombudsmann Private Kranken- und Pflegeversicherung; only available in German)
Banks (see section 14 (1) of the UKlaG):
- Deutsche Bundesbank arbitration board (only available in German)
- Consumer complaints service of the National Association of German Cooperative Banks (Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken e.V. – BVR; only available in German)
- Consumer complaints system of the Association of German Public Banks (Bundesverband Öffentlicher Banken Deutschlands e.V. – VÖB; only available in German)
- Ombudsman scheme of the Association of German Banks (Bundesverband Deutscher Banken e.V. – BdB; only available in German)
- Arbitration board of the German Savings Banks Association (Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband e.V. – DSGV; only available in German)
- Arbitration Office of the German Association of Private Building and Loan Associations (Verband der Privaten Bausparkassen e.V.)
- Ombudsperson of the German Association of Loan Purchase and Servicing (Bundesvereinigung Kreditankauf und Servicing e.V. – BKS; only available in German)
Investment products (see section 14 (1) of the UKlaG):
BaFin's arbitration board is responsible for disputes in connection with provisions of the KAGB and with banking business and financial services within the meaning of section 1 (1) sentence 2 of the KWG and section 1 (1a) sentence 2 of the KWG, provided that no recognised private dispute resolution entity is responsible.
If you are unsure which dispute resolution entity is responsible for you, please file your application with one of the entities listed above; it will forward your application to the responsible entity, if need be.
How do I find the responsible dispute resolution entity?
The search function on the BaFin website can help you find the responsible dispute resolution entity. Essentially, all companies from the German financial sector can be searched on the BaFin website by entering their name into the database of companies. The dispute resolution entities shown are recognised and available dispute resolution entities from the German financial sector, so not all of them are recognised consumer dispute resolution entities under the VSBG or the FinSV, which was published in the Federal Law Gazette on 16 September 2016.
Further information on the BfJ's recognition procedure for dispute resolution entities organised under private law and a list of recognised consumer dispute resolution entities may be found under this link.
If the application for dispute resolution is sent to a consumer dispute resolution entity which is not responsible for it, it will be automatically sent on to the responsible entity, provided that it relates to responsibilities within the meaning of section 14 (1) of the UKlaG.
How do I file an application for arbitration with BaFin?
Many disagreements can already be resolved in direct contact with the company. It is thus recommended that you first try to settle the issue with the company in question.
In the case of dispute, you can apply for dispute resolution by a consumer dispute resolution entity. The application for arbitration is to be filed in writing with the office of the BaFin arbitration board. It must include a brief description of the issue and the documents necessary to comprehend it (e.g. correspondence, contractual terms and conditions, cost calculations). You can also submit your application by e-mail.
As the party filing the application, you must confirm that
- no proceedings have been conducted or are pending at a consumer dispute resolution entity regarding the same dispute
- where disputes concern the right to conclude a basic payment account contract, no administrative proceedings pursuant to sections 48 to 50 of the German Payment Accounts Act (Zahlungskontengesetz – ZKG) are pending and no decision against which there is no appeal has been made in such proceeding
- no judgement on the merits of the case has been issued by a court and
- the dispute is not pending before a court
- no settlement has been reached in the dispute and it has not been otherwise resolved
- no application for legal aid relating to the dispute has been rejected because the intended assertion of legal rights had no reasonable prospect of success or appeared to be malicious.
Otherwise, it is not possible to carry out arbitration proceedings (for more details see also section 7 of the FinSV).
Please use our arbitration form for your application. Fill out the form as fully as possible. Once you have completed the form, please print and sign it. You should then send your application and the required documentation by post or as a fax or e-mail attachment to:
Schlichtungsstelle bei der
Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht
Referat ZR 3
Graurheindorfer Straße 108
You may also send us your application for arbitration and the required documentation by e-mail or fax.
May an application for arbitration be denied?
Yes, the arbitrator may reject arbitration by notifying the applicant in writing, if
- the application submitted was not adequate
- the consumer dispute resolution entity is not responsible for the dispute and the application is not to be submitted to the responsible consumer dispute resolution entity or another dispute resolution entity pursuant to section 24 of the FinSV
- proceedings have already been conducted or are pending at a consumer dispute resolution entity regarding the same dispute
- where disputes concern the right to conclude a basic payment account contract under the ZKG, administrative proceedings pursuant to sections 48 to 50 of the ZKG to enforce this right are pending or a decision against which there is no appeal has already been made in such proceedings
- an application for legal aid relating to the dispute has been rejected because the intended assertion of legal rights had no reasonable prospect of success or appeared to be malicious
- the dispute is pending before a court or a judgement on the merits of the case has been issued by a court
- a settlement has been reached in the dispute or it has been otherwise resolved
- the claim which is the subject of the dispute is time-barred and the adverse party refers to the statute of limitations.
(see also section 6 of the FinSV)
How are the dispute resolution proceedings handled?
The office of the BaFin arbitration board confirms the receipt of your application for arbitration and examines the documents submitted. If necessary, it requests you to make corrections or submit further documentation.
If the examination shows that your submission is admissible, the office of the BaFin arbitration board forwards it to the company in question. The company then has one month to make a statement on it.
The office will forward the company’s statement to you.
If the company in question declares in its statement that it will settle your matter, the office will inform you that the arbitration procedure is thus completed.
If, in its statement, the company declares that it will not settle your matter, the office will then inform you that you may comment on this response within one month. The office subsequently presents the case to the responsible arbitrator.
The arbitrator will take a decision on the basis of the documents submitted by both sides in the proceeding thus far. If the arbitrator decides it is necessary, they may request that the parties make additional statements or provide more information. The arbitrator does not take evidence unless evidence can be taken from the parties by submission of documents.
Once the arbitrator has decided that all necessary documents for a proposal are available, they inform the parties concerned of this and then have 90 days to produce an arbitration proposal.
Dispute resolution proceedings
What does the arbitration proposal mean for me?
Working on the basis of the information submitted by the parties involved, the arbitrator will produce a written proposal of how the dispute can be resolved and state brief, easily understandable reasons for this. Both sides then receive the proposal.
They must then decide whether to accept the proposal and provide their decision in writing to the arbitrator within six weeks. After expiration of the six-week period, the arbitration board informs the parties involved of the result.
This ends the arbitration proceedings. If one of the parties involved does not accept the result of arbitration, it may still take legal action. This means that you, as a consumer, may bring the matter before the courts.
Some courts will demand that the claimant submit a certificate of failed attempt at settlement (see section 15a (3) sentence 3 of the Introductory Act for the Code of Civil Procedure Rules (Gesetz betreffend die Einführung der Zivilprozessordnung – EGZPO)). If no settlement is reached between the parties, the notification of the office of the BaFin arbitration board about the outcome of proceedings is deemed to be a "certificate pursuant to section 15a (3) sentence 3 of the EGZPO".
May I also hire a lawyer?
Yes, although representation by a lawyer is not necessary for the dispute resolution procedure. You may be represented by a third party, for instance a lawyer, if you wish. However, please note that in this case you will be responsible for bearing the costs of legal representation.
Can I obtain legal advice from BaFin's arbitration board?
No. The arbitration board may not provide you with general legal information. The right to provide such information is reserved by law for professionals qualified to do so, in particular registered lawyers.
How much does arbitration cost?
Arbitration proceedings are free of charge for the consumer. However, expenses such as postage, telephone charges, photocopying or costs of legal counsel are not reimbursed. The arbitration board imposes a flat fee of € 200 on companies involved in proceedings (see section 10 of the FinSV).
How do I contact BaFin's arbitration board?
You can contact the BaFin arbitration board as follows:
by post, telephone, fax or e-mail:
Schlichtungsstelle bei der
Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht
Referat ZR 3
Graurheindorfer Straße 108
Phone: 0228 / 4108-0
Fax: 0228 - 4108 -62299
updated on 11.09.2017