TD Bank has issued a statement on its website committing the bank to provide customers impacted by FATCA with “support and information” to ensure that they somehow will receive a “comfortable” experience while the bank is helping the US impose this law.
This statement is offensive and the letter below asks TD Bank to delete the statement from its public website and to apologize to its customers:
[SENT BY HARD COPY AND POSTED ONLINE AT ISAACBROCKSOCIETY.CA AND MAPLESANDBOX.CA]
December 2, 2013
Attn: Customer Service
P.O Box 193
Re: Request for deletion of offensive statement on TD Bank website
This is a request that TD Bank delete the second sentence in section #5 of your website: http://www.tdcanadatrust.com/customer-service/overview/fatca.jsp
The sentence reads: “TD is committed to providing impacted customers with support and information to ensure they receive a comfortable experience once the law comes into effect.”
The law referred to in this sentence is the U.S. imposed Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in which TD Bank will assist a branch of a foreign government, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in obtaining financial information on its customers in Canada.
I ask that the sentence be deleted firstly, because it is offensive and mean-spirited for your bank to suggest that your “U.S. person” customers in Canada, whose banking information will be turned over forcibly by your bank to the U.S. IRS, might ever consider such an unpleasant experience to be “comfortable.”
This sentence must also be deleted, especially given the deliberate selection of the word “ensure,” because, unless you can provide evidence to the contrary, the statement is misleading—and your bank is not permitted by federal regulation to provide misleading information to the public. In this regard, TD Bank (as would all reasonable people) must admit that it is not possible that the experience of an “impacted” Canadian of having his/her banking information turned over to a foreign government could ever, on logical grounds, be made “comfortable.”
To the extent that the statement implies that TD Bank will provide a positive experience, the sentence is misleading.
Moreover, advocating for a change in banking, privacy, and human rights laws to meet demands of a foreign country is a serious betrayal of your long-time customers who are highly likely to consider alternatives to banking at TD Bank.
I ask that this deletion be made no later than by end of business day December 6, 2013 and at the same time TD Bank issue a statement on the website alerting the public that the change has been made. In addition, an apology must be issued. The apology should include a statement that a description of the “service” of providing a “comfortable” experience to those customers impacted by FATCA was regretfully inappropriately worded.
TD Bank’s “Step One” of resolving problems, prior to escalating the concern to the TD Ombudsman, includes providing the names of TD Bank employees involved in the dispute. The names of these employees include [ ] and [ ] at TD Bank who would not respond directly to my requests (November 26 and 27, 2013) to speak to your bank to resolve FATCA issues raised on your website—instead directing me to contact the Canadian Banking Association (which did not make this offensive statement in your website). Because your employees would not agree to my request for an interview, I have had no choice but to seek assistance from TD Bank Customer Service.
I suggest that you elevate my concern to [ ], as [ ] appears to be the [ ] FATCA point person for TD Bank. Please forward this letter to [his/her] office, as the address of TD’s FATCA point person is not disclosed to the public.
The names of these TD Bank employees are being provided in my letter only to “Customer Service” and are not copied to others.
I also have copied this letter to Finance Minister Flaherty and to his relevant counterparts in the NDP (Murray Rankin, National Revenue critic) and Liberal (Scott Brison, Finance and National Revenue critic) parties, as all three have opinions on your bank’s (unfortunate) involvement in implementation of the U.S. FATCA law.
In addition, this letter will be forwarded to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), responsible for dealing with complaints to federally regulated banks. Please confirm that the following “Public Commitment” statement on the FCAC site: “CBA member banks will provide the information in language, and present it in a manner, that is clear, simple and not misleading” applies to public descriptions of all services provided by TD Bank.
I do appreciate that the offending sentence was most likely drafted by an overzealous individual in your Public Affairs department. Nevertheless, the sentence is patently offensive, misleading from the perspective of an impacted customer who will be terrified by the consequences of your bank’s actions– and TD Bank must correct the error.
If TD Bank does not agree to remove the sentence, please advise immediately and provide explicit confirmation. My contact details are shown below.
[Name and address provided to TD Bank and all cc’d]
cc: [TD Bank employee]
Honourable Minister James Flaherty
Honourable Scott Brison
Honourable Murray Rankin
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada