HSBC Credit Card and the unending trauma

These are the details of my experience as a HSBC Credit Card holder.

You can help me and possibly many others like me by circulating this link, taking the time to read this post, and advising me on what are my options now.

If you are the independent type who believes in not learning from other people’s experiences, please continue using your HSBC Credit Card.

26th April 2009

After a long day out the previous day, as I was keeping away all the shopping and arranging my bag-I notice that my credit card pouch is missing.

I go down, check in the car, all around the house and then not to take any risks, call up the Banks.

ICICI assures me there has been no misuse, blocks the card.

HSBC-yes there has been a series of transactions-of amounts adding up to approx 10K,, blocks the card and advices me to log a complaint with the police and drop a copy of that complaint to the nearest branch or ATM.

I drop everything I was doing to rush and do all that.

I couldn’t submit the papers to HSBC because there is no-one at the Branch on a Sunday and I was not comfortable dropping them at the ATM collection box.

//They have delayed picking up my bill payments at least 3-4 times, and have also added late payment charges, finance charges and taxes on those charges.

Yes they reverse the charges if you call and fire them and spend about 20-40 minutes each time. On the fourth instance I had asked them why they do it then-just pushing their luck and hoping we pay up?

Of course not Ma’am it is all system generated.//

I never knew how this term will come back to haunt me…

27th April 2009:

I call up office, reschedule work because I am going to be late and am at HSBC, M.G. Road Bangalore Branch at sharp 10.00 am (And I thought only Govt. offices opened after 10). There are two employees of the Bank smoking outside a locked door-Ma’am today is a holiday-it’s Basavraja Jayanti (or something similar).

Oh but all offices I know of are working, the kids are at school……anyway, since you are here, can’t you just accept my papers…

No Ma’am you have to submit it at the counter, or you can drop it in the collection box

Heck, I’ll have to take time off tomorrow also, but no, I am not risking the drop-box.

28th April 2009:

Again a round of explanations and I leave office early to arrive at the same bank at 5.00 pm-and learn that they close customer hours at 4.00pm. Oh I am so sorry,( I never thought a Multinational Private Bank would do that) anyway I just need to give you these papers….

I think it is enough to say I have had much more professional experiences in our much maligned “sarkari” departments.

I am pointed towards the drop-box, I recall my experiences, and decide to take a half-day off the next day and come back.

29th April 2009:

I finally get to a collection counter, where the guy is not interested in listening to me or looking through the papers. I insist on a receipt; he stamps the photocopies of my complaint and the only response I am able to get out of him is that they’ll investigate and get back in 30-45 days. I am thrilled I finally did it!!!!!

27th July 2009:

I have been calling HSBC customer-care every week…

  • Ma’am your card is still under investigation.. please call us in 5 working days……….
  • Ma’am the bill is System Generated.
  • Yes Ma’am you can delay payment for now. Yes the charges are System Generated— these will be reverted…
  • Please wait for the investigation to be over……..
  • Yes Ma’am, it’s still under investigation, I have logged a fresh complaint, please note down your complaint number and call us after 5 working days……….

On the other hand, HSBC had generated three monthly bills for the disputed amount levying the finance charges, the late payment charges, the taxes on the charges, the fine for not paying the minimum amount and the collection department of HSBC has been hounding me to the point that I am heading towards a nervous breakdown and recurrent asthma attacks.

I was getting an average of 5 calls per day and they were really nasty……..

  • Yes, the System has generated my number among the defaulters…
  • No, they do not have any “System Generated” update from investigation department…could I fax them the details..

I faxed the entire set of documents to a number given by the collection department of HSBC, and to another number for Credit Card products that I found on the HSBC website…….

  • I get more calls……no they have not received the fax, neither has calling customer care again helped….

I fax the papers again……

  • The calls continue……..

I threaten to go to the police and report them for harassment….

  • I am very sorry, the guy changes his tone, but Ma’am your number has come to the collection department because you haven’t paid the minimum amount due…….
  • Yes, I know the details, but Ma’am we are not even dialing the numbers manually, it is System Generated..
  • No Ma’am, I cannot update it my end…..yes you know what he said.

Meanwhile………

  • I also wrote to the Nodal Officer for customer grievances…the only email id I found on the HSBC website.
  • I got a System Generated response saying I would get an update in two working days.
  • After 6 days I wrote back asking for the update.
  • I got the same System Generated response saying I would get an update in two working days.
  • Same response on the investigation from the customer care number.

Isn’t it quite like the Gabbar Singh sequences where he sets a prisoner free to run for his life and sets the dogs and the bullets after him?

What can I do to make them stop? To make them tell me what they have been investigating for the last three months? To make sure others don't have to go through a similiar experience?

Comments

  1. You must take a stronger stand and that too asap.
    They have a consumer complaint/feedback form on their website and a coustomer dispute form. Have you already used those?

    Also, you must notify the Indian Consumer forum. Best would be to just visit their head office in Bangalore and meet the top management- you'll see there will be an assembly line reaction in the hierarchy below and they'll all sit up and notice!
    I've done this many times with organisations and it always works.
    Go for it! You also deserve compensation for all this harrassment!! Always catch the boss- baki sab apne aap theek ho jaayenge!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Megha

    yes I have used both the feedback link, and the dispute form-and got the automated responses

    I'll definitely go to the consumer forum also-have given them too much time already...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey, I think I shared this link with you.
    http://alchemistpoonam.wordpress.com/2008/12/26/december-24-national-consumer-rights-days-2/

    File online complaint at core.nic.in. Did you call the number from this link? Are they the ones to tell you to file a police complaint against collections?

    And be part of the Adhikaar group mentioned in the link. Rajesh Yadav, who is one of the founders himself has won a case against ICICI bank against fraud.

    http://alchemistpoonam.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/an-interview-with-consumer-rights-companion/

    Consumer court takes time, but should get results.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes I filed it on core.nic

    Someone from the Adhikaar group advised to file the police complaint...

    I was trying to get it resolved without getting into arbitration, but now I'll have to fight it out every way..

    Thanks a ton for the publicity-it was so sweet of you to flag the link as your status message.

    The best part of times like this is that you really get to know how many people are out there to care and support you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey, thats nothing that I did, you were there for me in one of MY hardest times. :)

    Phew! I am so glad its over. But I sure am glad that I had you then. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Circulated the link. Yes for the bank it is just one more complaint-but if it warns off just one more hapless customer-it is worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That is why I am making such a noise about it-so that people know what they are in for...

    One of the responses I got was from a guy who's been following up with HSBC for 6 months-so I guess I am in for a long haul.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Another conversation on this:

    t: terrible! so what's the outstanding amt on ur card now with taxes and all???
    me: around 12k-initially it was 9500
    t: omg!
    bigger thieves than the one who stole ur card

    She is so right!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dear Reema : That's indeed a woeful account of a consumer being taken for granted ! From so far in US I can only think of the regular stops that your friends have already suggested : consumer forums, publishing newspaper articles ( letters to the editor of "financial times" or Outlook ,in particular ) Outlook's finance-editor happens to be Rahul's very sr. alumni from IIT-KGP and I am passing on his e-mail id to you - please get him in the loop : Sandipan Deb is his name and his e-id is : sandipan@outlookindia.com

    All the best ! I am sure your case will be resolved soon and hopefully you get some punitive compensation too.....

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks Shivani-I'll get in touch with your contact. Will update you on developments...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello,
    I am being troubled with a similar situation (even more ridiculous) with HSBC. Have you got any update on the developments you mentioned?

    Just came across a 66,900 pages on google on a search "hsbc credit card complaints", and the first one -> http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/hsbc-credit-card-c21842.html was very shocking.

    Do you have thoughts on a Class Action Lawsuit coupled with News channel visibility?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Debbie-ever since I have shared my experience i have heard from many people with similar or worse experiences.

    I have tried all available means of communicating with the bank-but the grievance redressal mechanism only sends templatized automated response-No One Listens.

    I am ready to take it forward in the media/courts..

    ReplyDelete
  13. I can understand your situation very well being deep into a similar case.

    Have you heard anything from Outlook or whatever financial mag?

    These things have become a social menace now, and seem like it needs a wider strategy to take things on a "profit through relative damage" philosophy.

    I'm in for a long haul to straighten up things ... but i also know it needs patience and perseverance.

    let me get some more thinking in place and we may take it privately as these banks are likely to have dedicated departments to monitor internet traffic on such matters getting exposed.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Goodness! That is absolutely scary! They have you running around in circles! I do hope that it all gets resolved soon.. and the forums that others have advised you about help..

    All the best!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Debbie-U can mail me ur thoughts on what we can do on thehypermom.blog@gmail.com

    As for the Bank reading info-I think they would have done something about their response mechanism had they read even a fraction of the feedback out on th Web. Anyway let's not take chances.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Smitha-no resolution yet. The calls keep coming. I hope I can post an update some time!

    ReplyDelete
  17. High time the countries premier investigation agencies CBI/RAW get these full sleeved scoundrels. What is the govt. doing. Just because you are a foreign company u think u can do anything. Educated people are being fooled. Just think about the 1000's of illiterate business men who are being fooled. I am trying to help a friend of mine who has been forcefully made toi join TATA AIG Insurance by the HSBC peopleand now has a default of about 40,000

    ReplyDelete
  18. My fight is still on-they have reversed 3 of the 4 disputed transactions but are still acting petty over the fourth one-approx Rs4500 which has been blown upto nearly 10K with compounding late payment charges as they drag their feet over a final closure.

    You can try the links suggested in one of the comments here

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've had EXACTLY the same problem as you did. I'm amazed. My HSBC credit card was used in Dubai while I was in India, (I have my passport to prove it)

    I called HSBC and asked them what to do, they said I don't need to pay it and they would issue me a new card.

    They issued me the new card and also sent me a bill of said amount.

    I called again and they said it's system generated whatever and I don't need to pay up.

    Next month the said amount bill came again plus the late payment charges and some other weird charges.

    I called again and they said it's system generated and they don't know what can be done.

    Since then, their goons have been calling and threatening me but I just hang up the phone on them. If they come to me in person, then I could do some serious physical damage to them.

    Since, then I've decided to stop using HSBC Bank for any purpose. Even if it's the end of the world and it's the last bank on the planet.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hey Ramit-I have now met so many people who have had the same experience with HSBC-it is company policy for them.

    The latest update is that they called me for a final payment of 4K and they'll issue me a full n final settlement letter. This has been conveyed over the phone n I have got nothing in writing yet-I am not sure of what I should do. I think they should be the ones paying me after all this harassment-but I do want to get out of this transaction, completely!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've also noticed that Barclays Bank and Deutsche Bank now require that if we are paying by cheque, then the cheque should be CLEARED and the money transferred BEFORE the due date.

    Guess no one in the banks with their huge salaries thought of making the due date three days earlier than what it is.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ramit-I think this is something designed exclusively to make people default-after even if you drop a cheque a week in advance, we can never guarantee if it is picked up and cleared in time. And then you pay late fees, taxes on late fees, service charges....

    ReplyDelete
  23. Good God, what a nightmare. Trying to get help from credit card companies is so impossible.

    If you are a defaulter, they will reward you with a lot of discounts. But if you are trying to settle your account as a paying customer, you dont get a single penny of discount. hmmm..

    My mantra is to use netbanking and debit cards, and avoid credit cards altogether.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I wish I had woken upto your mantra before all this had happened. I follow it now.

    Yes it is a complete nightmare because all their customer service disappears after selling you the cards/added insurance. I must have spoken to customer care hundreds of times for sorting out the whole mess-and have never received an answer on what to do.

    It is always the standard auto generated responses-which don't mean anything.

    Thanks for your comment

    ReplyDelete
  25. i am surprised that still you are going around HSBC . Just write down a complaint to RBI ombudsman . From the date of filing the complaint itself you shall not recd any call from collection dept or recovery agents . then case will be decided on merit . what ever you had stated must be produced with evidence befor the secretery of ombudsman and you see the music . the barking dog will flag leg to you feet and dancing before you if you able to proof wrong doing by hsbc.
    they are chor.......lat ke dev baat se nahi mante .
    i am surprised people like you who are litrete does not know your legal rights and running from pillar to post .

    ReplyDelete
  26. Sorry for the delayed response-and thank you very much for the advice. I am sure it will help many people like me.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Please allow me to introduce myself my name is Michael Mason-Mahon and I am a shareholder of HSBC Plc. I am based in London yet I am a very regular visitor to India.

    At HSBC Annual General Meeting of Shareholders 2010 I did address my concerns with the Board of Directors concerning what HSBC has been doing and is doing in India to our customers.

    I may be able to help you. I can assure you that I will do all that I can to help you. I have been very successful in the people that I have taken up their cases with HSBC.

    So if you would like to contact me, please send me your complaint in full.

    Kind regards
    Michael

    Mobile: 0044 7834763544

    E-mail: ckmdm@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  28. DisgruntledOverHSBCAugust 8, 2010 at 6:36 AM

    We are one of the unfortunate many that went through lay-off and tried to get into a Mitigation program while being unemployed. Our high balance was due to job loss, which compounds all issues. Our card was a HSBC UnionPlus card, where Union members that are enrolled (and have had the card for over 10 years) should get some consideration. After repeated efforts to try and get into a Mitigation plan, they chose to sue. All of our other issuers worked it out, and we are current since we have restructured. HSBC does not care, nor do they work with anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Please contact me and I will have your problem with HSBC sort straight away.

    Kind regards

    Michael Mason-Mahon

    ckmdm@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Just a note that having had a frustrating time today with HSBC here in Jakarta, I've linked to your post here.

    Yours in solidarity.

    J

    ReplyDelete

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