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How HSBC determines who to hurt financially is a question often asked by those harmed and hurt by HSBC. Early in the investigation one could not determine if people were targeted by their credit scores. Common sense suggests those with lower credit scores and less disposable income were less likely to sue HSBC. Those with high credit scores and more disposable income were most likely to fight back. HSBC leveled the playing field with onerous binding arbitration, thus nobody is likely to sue. Still some fight back, although HSBC makes it very difficult.

Since 1994 HSBC Finance Corporation, then known as Household International, selects targets of opportunity. When it happened it was not your fault, and in many cases you did nothing wrong. You never heard the sound and never knew the shot was coming. HSBC waits for targets to enter the kill zone as did Malvo in DC or snipers on the battlefields of Viet Nam. Few survive unscathed.

If you have a merchant credit card such as a Best Buy card, or any HSBC credit card, you may find yourself at risk. The question is ‘Who Does HSBC Hurt Financially’. Worded another way people want to know how HSBC picks their targets. Which families get lower credit scores after dealing with HSBC? Which people with HSBC credit cards head for financial ruin? The answer is that HSBC, through HSBC Finance Corporation, targets people by opportunity, not by their credit score.

Trend analysis shows a "slaughter window", which is defined as anything within one week of a balance due. Just like the battlefield, HSBC Finance sends customers to the slaughter window by sending letters indicating when their interest free period is about to end. The shady part of these notifications is they DO NOT get to the customer until it is too late. In cases where the customer calls for a pay off HSBC simply lies to the customer! Lying comes in two or more formats, as shown below in a real life true example.

You need to know that HSBC Finance was once stained, sullied, embarrassed and bottom dwelling predatory lender Household International. Answers come into focus. In the past HSBC would quote a payoff, add $15 for a phone payment, take the payoff and the following month they would bill the customer for $15 plus all the interest due - a questionable and shady tactic at best. The customer did not know to add $15 more to the quoted payoff. Welcome to HSBC’s slaughter window. Today HSBC adds the $15 as a new purchase, further clouding the problem. Like leading customers to slaughter a combination of notices that arrive late and additional charges puts one at a disadvantage. Then consider the fine print of the HSBC Finance Corporation contract and there is little one can do.

Please examine this actual report submitted by an HSBC customer

"My wife received a statement dated November 3rd, 2004, for her Best Buy account, financed through HSBC Retail Services. The statement had a "Promotional Expiration Alert!" stating, if the amount of $951.14 was paid by the 18th of November, 2004 it would defer finance charges of $408.65. The statement was received just a couple days before this date. My wife called the phone number on the statement November 17th, 2004 to inquire if this was the actual payoff amount to bring the account balance to $0. She was informed this would be the account payoff amount and she could pay this amount over the phone that day if she wished to clear her account.

...paid the account in minutes...

She hung up with them, called her bank, and had funds transferred from her savings to checking. She then called the payment number, listed on the statement. This was all within a 15 or so minute period, all well before the 2 or 3 pm cutoff time. The automated service then gave her a confirmation number. This was done some time in the morning, and we have no record of the actual call times. We have asked for this data from the company multiple times and not received it. Next month, she received another statement, listing the 408.65, plus interest incurred. She called the number listed again, and was informed the total amount wasn't paid, and she owed all finance charges. They would not give a reason as to why the payoff payment was late, after repeatedly asking. We could not understand or get an answer why the $408 was not deferred. We have just come to find, in which we were never informed, they counted the payment as late.

"I am fast forwarding to what we have just found. We have looked at the date on the check, as dated by Retail Services, which is November 17th, 2004. When checking the bank statement, we realized the check was not processed by her bank until November 19th, 2004. They took two full business days to process a check we paid $15 to have processed since time was short, and we wanted to pay off the account. We spoke with her bank today, and are having them send us a copy of the check. We asked for the date of the first bank stamp (Household's) on the rear, and they say the date is smeared, and they can't read it. I am hoping we will be able to. My wife made repeated attempts to dispute the account and ask for documentation. She was met with rudeness and no answers every time she called.

...supervisor treated her the worst...

At one point, she spoke with a supervisor, and was treated the worst by him. After talking to the supervisor, she drafted and sent a letter on May 11th, 2005 to HSBC Retail Services, informing them she was disputing the account, and wanted the account closed. She also stated she wanted it reported to the credit agencies, with good standing. She demanded they do not call her any more, but rather have all correspondence from them in the form of writing. On May 20th, 2005 she received the following: "Thank you for your inquiry regarding your BEST BUY CO., INC. account. This letter is confirmation that the above mentioned account is closed, and being reported as such to all (3) major credit bureaus. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Department at xxx-xxx-xxxx"

...turned over to collection agency...

"We thought that was the end of it but we were not sure why no mention was made of the dispute. On September 2nd, 2005, we received a collection letter from a company called Pentagroup Financial, LLC, listing Arrow Financial as the client they were collecting for. We realized at this time, the account had been sold to Arrow, and no idea why, because we thought the account had been closed, and they dropped their claim against us. She sent them a letter, saying we were disputing this amount, along with the original letter she had sent to HSBC. We never heard anything back, until Arrow Financial sent a letter saying we could clear the balance we owed, which is now almost $700 for 75 cents on the dollar. We are now waiting to talk to HSBC again this next Monday, after the one somewhat human sounding person there, listened to our story, said she would pull the files and research it. We also found today after getting her credit records, the account was not closed until August of 2005, and not in May as their correspondence stated.

I will keep this thread updated, but I have done much research in the last couple days, and found HSBC takes two days to clear a check they are charging so much to take. We put our card in the gas pump, and it clears that day. We write a check to SafeWay in the morning, and it too has cleared the bank that day. It appears HSBC purposely holds checks in hopes of imposing late fees and other fines. In hind sight, we should have realized a lot of things with this account and handled it differently. However, we asked for documentation and proof from them of everything from the first statement after the payoff, and have gotten NO cooperation or hint of them telling us the truth. My wife had an almost perfect credit rating before this ordeal. They have made some very bad reports to the credit agencies, and her credit is now suffering terribly because of this one company who refuses to cooperate with their customers."

Thus ends the customer's report. We update you further down in this article.

Using the form on our help page you can do more. From lawmakers to your local media, you can find resources you never thought imaginable. Somehow we must bring this abuse to an end.

We also help you with research. If you find yourself a target of opportunity for HSBC, in the crosshairs or in the killzone, please take action. Open the following form to instantly access websites of regulators that oversee HSBC, plus other sites that set the rules and govern their control. The complaint above describes what might be perceived as mail fraud. Open the list below to 'mail fraud' and take care of business.

Select our confirmation letter from the main menu. Just add it to your packet and here is a list of all DBA names and detailed information on these predators. (also opens in a new window)

Who is at risk for this trickery? If you have a credit card or are financed by any of the businesses in our HSBC Merchants list you may be at risk.

Some of them are healthcare providers, some are outside the United States, and some are out of business. Others changed to more reputable financing but shall remain on the list. If you ever considered a tax loan or rapid refund from H&R Block you are at risk.

If you read this far you are obviously interested in duplicity and shady tactics by HSBC. Here is a follow-up report by the customer mentioned above. In a moment we get to the rest of the story:

We did know to add the $15 phone payment processing fee, and it was included on the electronic check that HSBC processed. What happened in our case, was we called and made the pay-off the day before the due date, however, they did not process the payment until a day after the pay-off date. This is where our "beef" lies with them. I make many payments over the phone by check, and by credit card, and at longest, most payments post to our account within 4 - 8 hours.. not 48 hours. We can not control what they do with payment processing, but we can control beating their deadlines. We feel it is VERY unethical practice to process a payment 48 hours later, in hopes of collecting interest on an account they are giving you a chance to clear.

...lied about payoff amount...

I just spoke with someone at HSBC. She gave me a number that was supposed to be paid. The number was about 32.00 higher than listed on the statement.. I read the bill over and over, again, and in the fine print below the payoff amount, it states that you have to pay the payoff amount, PLUS the minimum monthly charge.. This is very hard to understand for the typical person. I have read this bill no less than 30 times, and it just hit me what they were saying. There is no way the average joe will understand this.

To make matters worse, when my wife called them, to verify the payoff amount, they said the 951.14 would be what she would have to pay, to zero the account. They never once mentioned the additional $32 for the minimum payment also has to be applied. This IS very deceptive, and predatory.

I just want to make sure the story is right before it's published to the public. I can't believe they don't add the $32 to the total payoff amount so that everyone is on the same page, and clear what the terms are. As the invoice is written, you have to almost be an attorney to understand what they are saying the terms are.


The bottom line is this - HSBC lied about the payoff amount. HSBC lied about the account being closed. Customer service spoke to these people in rude condescending tones. Supervisors were rude, and worse than other arrogant CSR's. HSBC turned the account over to a collection agency.

Will HSBC step up and admit what happened? Will HSBC correct the errors, including this person's credit report? We report so you can decide. Stay tuned for more, as Shep says on The Fox Report, but in the meantime this detailed report of HSBC's duplicity and shady tactics leaves little doubt in one's mind that Household International, now called HSBC Finance Corp and operating as part of HSBC North America Holdings, is still a predatory lender. We substantiate our position when we said HSBC plc did little to stop predatory lending.

What many people do not realize is HSBC Finance is a 'pay for performance' company. People also don't understand that the merchant gets more money through 'on-going compensation' - thus everyone makes more money through duplicity. The loser is the customer, and the customer already signed a bad oppressive contract with HSBC. Like drugging a boxer before a championship fight HSBC has the advantage and the customer is unaware.

As a customer we all expect professionalism, fiduciary responsibility, integrity and fairness. We do not expect to become targets of opportunity for an arrogant customer service rep working on commission. We also expect and deserve help from regulators, federal authorities, our state attorney general and others. Will they step up and stop this abuse? Little was accomplished from 1994 through today. When will it happen?

Supervisors and regular CSR's are rude because they want a bigger pay check, and they try to get the money from you. Intelligent individuals question whether one is lying about the payoff amount or they 'really didn't know', while all along it is the fault of programmers, the IT (information technology) department, and vendors if HSBC cannot pull up a customer account with good timely data and a correct payoff. Integrity would mean quoting the proper payoff for the day it is processed. HSBC has no such integrity.

This account was turned over to a collection agency. Know your enemy, and see our three part series about debt collectors. The more you know the better your defense will be

This document is called HSBC Credit Card Holders - Targets in the Slaughter Window and is part of our consumer awareness special project series

This is just one of our articles referencing HSBC complaints about mortgages, Bestbuy, credit cards, auto loans, fees, and late payment processing.

Author's Note: Don't forget to visit the Action Engine for help, downloads, or to search for more articles like this. HSBC Watch gives you more than just articles. Send us your complaint using the live help system at the bottom of each page



HSBC Watch monitors HSBC customer trends for possible violations of Regulation Z and other possible illegal actions. We use your individual HSBC complaints and merchant complaint reports to perform trend analysis. We are not associated with HSBC, Household International, or their merchants. Some items are used by permission granted in the Fair Use guidelines of the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act. HSBC Watch was formerly known as Household Watch is now part of the Lender Watch network


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