HSBC – Time to Vent & Rage

Normally I try to write observations on life and keep my language subdued but my recent experience with HSBC may have caused my language and text to come across as frustrated and to say the least, a bit cross in the following article.  If I was Paddington Bear I would be having a very angry stare at the bank while I tucked into a fresh marmalade sandwich to soothe my temper.

Listen up there dear readers if you want to find out the best way to get some response and action from HSBC. Are they the listening bank? Not sure about that but they definitely do not exercise the skill of writing and effective communication.

BACKGROUND

I have been appointed as ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’ by my Dad and this will explain why I am sending instructions to his bank.

Back in June this year I wrote to his local branch requesting the necessary codes to be sent to me so that I could set up an electronic banking service to monitor movements on the account just in case there were any suspicious transactions going through.

On the 12th August I wrote to the same branch asking that my Dad’s bank card be changed so that if by any chance he should lose it or worse, someone dishonestly got hold of it that the contactless payment facility be cancelled.

On 15th August I wrote a letter to the local branch here in Ringwood requesting a simple transfer of funds from one account to another. So that I could have a proper record of movements I requested that a letter confirming the transfer be sent back to so that I can keep it in a file with the other banking records.

Having not heard back from HSBC by letter on any of these issues and following a couple of second requests addressed to the branch my Dad uses I then wrote to the CEO, Mr Stuart Gulliver, detailing the lack of response.

Guess what?

I had a phone call from the ‘Customer Care Team’ based in Coventry last week but due to work commitments I could not deal with the calls during office hours. So, to try and bring things to a close I took a half day off work so that I could speak directly to the bank without having to walk around the streets of Downton furtively using my mobile.

THE BANK’S RESPONSE

When I did eventually get through to the person who originally rang me last week, which is after giving out numerous accounts of why I was ringing in and various aspects of my ID things began to move.

The poor chap was on the receiving end of my frustration and annoyance at the lack of response from the branches for failing to respond to letters but would work with me to resolve each one of them. He agreed with me that the branches should have done better.

With the electronic banking facility he asked that I arrange an appointment at our local branch to set this up. I resisted this suggestion vehemently and asked that HSBC contact me to arrange the appointment. A few minutes later I had a phone call from the local branch saying I could not be seen until three that afternoon. This was at ten in the morning. I said that I was very short of time, lived close by and could be there in five minutes. It did the trick I got an appointment and was actually greeted at the branch as I walked in.

While were setting up the electronic banking service the branch manager saw on the records that I had raised a complaint about the lack of response to my letters from the branches. He then went on to tell me that the branches do not respond to letters that are not addressed to anyone specific. Apparently all of these letters are bundled up and sent to a central office in Coventry where they are dealt with. So, my letters asking for the transfer, the change in the card and electronic banking because they did not go to a named person went to Coventry which is why the branches did not respond.

That still does not explain why then the HSBC division on Coventry failed to respond to any of my letters on these three issues.

I even wrote a letter of complaint to the Branch in Poole stating that unless I heard back from them I would be contacting the Banking Ombudsman. In the letter I stated that they should reply to me at my home address so Dad did not receive unnecessary post which may cause him confusion. What did they do? They replied direct to Dad at his private address offering him an opportunity to raise the issue with The Financial Ombudsman Service.

Having had this explained to me I sort of accepted the situation and will address letters to HSBC to a specific name which will guarantee a response from the branch. This theory has yet to be tested.

Then today I came home to a letter from the Customer Care Team apologising for the hassle I have been having and that hopefully everything has now been sorted out to my satisfaction. All was well with this letter until paragraph four when the Customer Care Team neatly bounced the responsibility for not responding to my letters back to the branches involved despite the branch saying they should answer answer letters.

Does the left hand of this bank actually know what the right hand is doing when it passes the buck like this on the simple issue of customer service?

I don’t think so.

CONCLUSION

If you have a problem with HSBC based on my recent experience then be prepared to lose at least half a day of your life sorting it out and that does not include the time spent writing letters and trying to take phone calls

The only way to deal with HSBC is to make sure that you are dealing with a named person in a branch and that if there is no satisfactory response write to;

Mr S Gulliver
Chief Executive Officer
HSBC plc
8 Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London
E14 5HQ

Any letters to him seem to find their way to Coventry quicker than a grouse falling from the sky on 12th August and will trigger a response from the Customer Care Team. Even if this response does pass responsibility for failings in customer care, at least it is a response.

If there is no satisfactory response then refer the matter to:
The Financial Ombudsman Service
Exchange Tower
London
E14 9SR

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About alangrenville

I live in southern Britain near the fabulous New Forest. While studying for a BSc in International Studies I have developed a strong belief in 'NIBAW' or 'nothing is black and white'. Hence my favourite saying "Too often we...enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought" (John F Kennedy).
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