Disputes over financial transactions may be in any direction and can be raised by consumers, APs or TPPs. Disputes could also be related to debit, credit or billing transactions i.e. inter-participant settlement arrangements.
The following guidelines are to be following by APs and TPPs in treating disputes:
- 1.Neither party should recommend that the customer raises a claim with the counterpart except in cases where it is clear that the claim does not involve the Open Banking framework operations.
- 2.APs and TPPs are encouraged to employ relevant management software to handle logging, tracking and resolving dispute claims along with internal and external communications management in the course of the dispute.
- 3.Mechanisms for raising claims must be conspicuously available to customers via any of the digital channels or interfaces supported by the TPP or AP.
- 4.Consumer disputes are expected to be resolved conclusively within 2 working days, but may take up to 5 working days during exceptional cases. The threshold for such should be less than 20% of all cases. Inter-participant disputes should be resolved within 5 working days.
- 5.APs and TPPs should investigate to identify any discrepancies in their systems. This may require both the AP and TPP to exchange transaction records, at the minimum indicating the unique references for the transactions, the date/time and the transaction amount. Both organizations should be open to this and preferably proactively develop channels or interfaces for transparent exchanges.
- 6.If both organizations have dissenting views regarding the true state of the transaction(s), independent assessors may be employed to audit both organization's systems to confirm that each system has operated correctly and in accordance with OBN standard regarding message integrity, fault recovery, data storage and retention.
- 7.Issues involving irrecoverable financial losses should be treated according to the recommendations in the Liability and Financial Loss section of this document.
- 8.Where both organizations are still in disagreement, this issue may be escalated to an arbitrator who is also a regulator in the payments system and jurisdiction covers both entities. Escalations should detail efforts made by both organizations to reconcile the transactions and the independent assessment reports. Customers should however be reimbursed by the TPP for clear cases where their funds were deducted without service before the stipulated 5 working days' elapse. If the AP is found to be in breach eventually, the AP shall refund the TPP the amount paid to the customer including interest equal to the MPR prorated across the number of days after reimbursement of the consumer.
- 1.A customer dispute if determined to be invalid, should be responded by the receiving participant should detail a guiding explanation of what transpired (or possibly what was done wrong) as well as a transcript of the user's actions that may have led to the inequity.
- 2.If a claim is deemed valid, the participant shall take ownership of the case and make reasonable efforts to rectify the inequity within the prescribed time frame for resolving such cases, even where dependent on third-party institutions.
- 3.If the claim involves the performance of service in response to consumer payments and such service can still be performed, the participant may inquire of the customer if they prefer the performance of the service as a resolution before proceeding. Otherwise, the customer's funds should be completely refunded including any fees taken for the service.
- 4.In the case of a transaction that is determined to be a duplication of an original transaction, the participant is to confirm that the duplication is not caused by faults in the channel solution. If corresponding value has not been provided for the duplicate transaction, the participant is to refund the customer within the stipulated time frame. If value has been provided and the duplication is clearly as a result of the consumer's error and not a fault within the provider's channel, the participant reserves the right to decline the claim but may also provide any assistance to improve the customer's experience at their own discretion.
- 5.Where a dispute is raised with respect to a credit to a consumer's account, the TPP should confirm that the claim relates to a valid transaction and immediately lien the amount on the recipient's account (if the credit was made through Open Banking channels). A letter should be sent to the recipient's AP which the AP should forward electronically to the recipient to confirm that they are in agreement of the funds being reversed. If agreed, the funds and accompanying fees should be revered to the claimant. If the recipient is not in agreement, the TPP should:
- 1.Request a civil meeting between both consumers to agree on a resolution
- 2.Where this fails, initiate an expedited hearing with a judge of competent jurisdiction where both parties should be accompanied by legal counsel, although a hearing could be conducted in absence of the customer (recipient or initiator).
- 3.If the claimant is found to be in the wrong, the case may be treated according to the terms and conditions of service provided by the TPP or AP.
- 4.If the recipient is found to be in the wrong, the recipient shall repatriate the funds which will be effected by the AP against the recipient's account, along with any other terms provided in the conditions of service by the provider.
- 5.The complete process should not exceed 10 working days in addition to the initial 5 days prescribed for typical cases.
The following guidelines should be adopted by APs and TPPs when a fraud is reported or discovered, regarding a consumer's account accessed through a TPP solution:
- 1.An occurrence or suspicion of fraud may be reported to an AP or TPP by consumers. Whichever participant receives this notice must take ownership of the case and drive its closure within the stipulated time frame. Both APs and TPPs must provide channels for customers to lodge such complaints.
- 2.Fraud reporting channels or links must be made conspicuously available to customers over any channels or platforms operated by the TPP. APs must also provide channels directly to the customer.
- 3.Both participants are encouraged to maintain a fraud desk and apply software management systems for proactive detection, interception and management of fraud cases.
- 4.Users must be provided at least two (2) alternative self-service channels or processes in addition to the primary access channel offered by TPPs for instantly deactivating or un-linking their AP credentials if they suspect compromise. Stricter measures should be employed to re-link these credentials if the customer uses these options, such as a call to the service desk to verify identity and understand the reason for the user's action before the AP account can be added afresh. This is separate from a service where the TPP allows the user to enable / disable transactions against their profile as a feature within the TPP's application.
- 5.The party to whom a fraud is reported (known as the receiving party) is required to communicate to the consumer the expected time frame for investigations, and keep the consumer appraised of any significant developments that occur in the course of the investigation.
- 6.Consumers are required to notify the participant of their choice (AP or TPP) of the fraud by at most 60 days from the time of occurrence of the incident. While participants are encouraged to employ best efforts to resolve such cases, no guarantees can be provided if this time frame elapses before a complaint is made.
- 7.The receiving participant of the consumer's complaint must also lodge a formal record of the case with the counterpart participant within 48 hours of receiving the complaint.
- 8.The TPP's access to the AP account of the user should immediately be suspended by the receiving party until investigations are concluded. The receiving institution will assume liability for any fraudulent activity performed with this access exceeding one hour from the time the customer lodged the complaint. Participants may guide the customers to use self-service alternatives and confirm effect immediately.
- 9.A fraud case is required to be resolved within 28 working days of being lodged by the consumer.
- 10.Resolution in this context means that a plausible explanation has been given to the consumer regarding the whereabouts of the funds inquired of, how the funds were accessed and a transcript of activity against their account. If the consumer is deemed culpable for the missing funds by way of compromise of their access channel, then no reimbursement is required to the consumer.
- 11.Any reimbursements to be made must be done within the time frame specified in 9 above.
- 12.If a sufficient conclusion is not reached within the stipulated time due to lack of cooperation of the counterpart or the case remains irresolute even with the evidence provided, the receiving party is required to escalate the case to the regulator, in this case the CBN, within 48 hours and continue to advocate for the customer until the case is resolved. A copy of this complaint should be lodged with OBN at [email protected].
- 13.The consumer's AP account access may be restored once the root cause has been determined and deemed unlikely to reoccur.
- 14.APs and TPPs must operate in good faith towards one another in communicating to the customer and must not communicate sensitive network or participant information or act in any way to degrade or diminish the credibility of the counterpart.
- 15.Where a breach is discovered that could prove systemic, the TPP or AP is required to investigate the extent of the issue and commence emergency procedures to rectify this lapse within 48 hours of the discovery. Appropriate containment procedures must however be employed immediately to ensure that the issue does not compromise other user accounts or participants.
Organizations that participate within the OBN network are NOT absolved from liability where there are preventable occurrences of financial loss to customers. The following are known scenarios where a participant will be deemed liable to cover any financial losses to the counterpart participant or consumer:
- 1.Where it is proven or clear that the participant did not observe best practices in handling the consumer information or platform operations leading to compromise or where a breach occurs as a result of weaknesses in their infrastructure or processes that has been exploited by fraudulent persons without any carelessness with security credentials on the part of the consumer.
- 2.If an AP or TPP fails in their responsibilities to provide sufficient and immutable evidence of the activity that resulted in the funds movement of a customer, then that party will be liable and required to reimburse the customer except the counterpart is able to provide sufficiently conclusive evidence of the activity against the account, as originating from the consumer's legitimate access channel.