As consumer advocates we have always maintained that HSBC is unreceptive to complaints and reluctant to solve problems unless the customer has someone on their side to help. In previous cases HSBC might solve a problem on the spot when a news reporter intervenes, but failed or was unresponsive to the actual customer.
We’ve seen cases where HSBC actually sent one customer a case of wine and an apology – but a news reporter was involved. Another incident recently took place in Ireland, as reported in the Belfast Telegraph:
‘A question of money: Why was HSBC so reluctant to probe credit card fraud?’ This is a excerpt from an article by Paul Gosling dated Monday, 14 June 2010
Question: A fraudulent transaction showed up on my HSBC credit card statement in July last year to Cyb/Electro-manic.com for £153....
I asked HSBC who I could complain to, but the man repeated “there is nothing we can do because it is showing up as a chip and pin transaction”. I asked if this could be a mistake, had there been a fault in the system, or could it have been a cloned card, but he repeated the same thing. I had to phone HSBC repeatedly and push for written confirmation of the decision. I still have not had a full written explanation of what HSBC did to try to resolve this.
And after the reporter got involved:
In this case, HSBC has accepted that it simply got it wrong. The HSBC spokesman James Thorpe responded quickly and honestly to your complaint. “I’m afraid we’ll have to hold our hands up and apologise to [the reader]: we incorrectly assessed the transaction,” he said. “Her pin was not used: it was in fact a ‘cardholder not present’ transaction and we acknowledge that she didn’t make it. We are writing to her and will offer to refund the transaction of £153 and, as a gesture of apology, offer a further £100.”
Incidently, it took more than a year to resolve the issue. Part of that time was spent, before asking the reporter for help, waiting for HSBC to reply in an intelligent manner that reflected the actual known facts in the case.