HSBC protection plan demands national fraud investigation

MM in North Carolina said: “Sometime during 1999 and 2000, I applied for Seamans furniture credit. Upon approval, Seamans also offered the option for credit protection. I accepted both the credit and the option for payment protection on the account. The protection plan option was initialed via Seamans internet website and subsequent paperwork received.

In 2002, I went into pre-term labor and was pulled from work by my physicians and hospitalized for the duration of the pregnancy. Subsequent to that and while still pregnant and in the hospital, my employer suffered financial loss and laid off employees, of which I was one.

While still pregnant and hospitalized for pre-term labor, I contacted the company that held the protection plan coverage. Medical documentation was submitted in addition to a termination letter. I was informed that the protection plan had been initiated.

In 2003, after the birth of my son, I began to receive unemployment. I was never contacted by Seamans or the protection plan company again. I assumed all was well and the protection plan company had initiated everything and covered the account.

Due to illness, my own and my newborn son’s, I was unable to return to work until almost two (2) years later.

In 2005, I checked my credit report and found a negative statement from HSBC. That’s when I learned that HSBC was the financer of Seamans credit accounts. I contacted Seamans first but was answered by Levitz instead. That’s when I learned that Seamans had filed for bankruptcy and had been purchased by Levitz.

I then contacted Levitz customer service but was promptly ushered to the collections department. After begin transferred again and again, I finally found someone who would listen. I explained that I had paid into a protection plan and needed to contact the company who administered the plan.

After much insistence, I was finally given the phone number of the company. I contacted the company – which turned out to be HSBC.

HSBC could not find anything and stated that it was now too late for me to activate the protection plan. I argued that I had paid into the plan and had already activated it and that this was all done online and on telephone but nothing came of it and documents had been provided.

All subsequent phone calls to the credit protection plan department and Levitz proved fruitless. In the end, I refused to pay them anything until they acknowledged the credit protection plan. So, for the last couple of years, it has been sitting in my credit report doing much damage.

Supposedly, HSBC closed the account in 2004 and sold the debt to Arrow Financial noting the amount at $5,826 in 2004. Yet a look at my credit report shows that they continued to add interest fees and late fees onto the account through 2009 – showing a whopping debt of $11,144 – for a purchase that back in 2001 amounted to $2,500.

Since then I have researched HSBC on the internet and found many angry ex-customers who claim that HSBC has charged protection plan payments to their accounts when in fact, they had not opted for the option.

Other complaints found were like my own – a protection plan was accepted and later on activated due to job loss or other. However, the customer soon found that their debt had not been covered at all when it appeared on their credit report.

Thankfully, other creditors have seen through HSBC’s behavior, which should be deemed criminal, and are still extending credit – so, I was able to purchase a home in 2009 at very low rate. In any case, I am now disputing this AGAIN but this time with the credit bureaus.”