HSBC, whatever shall I do with thee…..
I’ve been fortunate enough over the last 6 months of my journey to have had very few problems or issues, least of all when it comes to money. It’s been a fairly straightforward process of using local cash machines, but more recently I’ve realised that as soon as things do go wrong, they go very wrong indeed….As I was waiting to board my plane to Singapore last week, I had a call from HSBC warning that there had been some fraudulent activity detected on my account, and that they wished to cancel the card. Obviously this was concerning, but as I explained to the call center agent (as that is all you can really describe her as being), of equal concern was the fact that I would be without a card or access to money for the remainder of my trip. My only options would be to have a new card sent to my home address (where there is no one), or to continue using my card for withdrawing a minimal amount of cash each day. However once in Singapore, I found I kept receiving calls from HSBC warning that they would cancel my card. Eventually I called them back, to find that they were still adement to issue me a replacement. Issue it, that is, to my home address.
Despite being constantly bombarded with adverts claiming that they are the “World’s Local Bank”, filling up every departure lounge and aircraft jet bridge, they were unable to deal with any branch of HSBC outside of the UK. Nor were they able to send my card to any other address. Nor were they able to change my address. Nor to do anything it would seem.
My only choice was to have a new card issued to a branch near to Jack, and to send him written authorisation to collect the card. But even with that, the branch refused to deal with Jack. No call from me to the call center (in India I might add), would help; the agent had no idea of the problem, could not advise what to do, and suggested Jack try again another day. In fact, despite several calls, I was unable to speak to anyone who knew, or cared, what to do. Eventually the phone went dead. I had run out of credit, while being left on hold again.
By all accounts, the branch in the UK were no more helpful with Jack than with me; in fact, after being rude and dismissive to him, he told them that he would never bank with HSBC. To which the manager simply replied “good”.
I’ve not done justice at all to how frustrated, and angry this all made. I’ve wasted a ridiculous amount of money, hours of my time and the last of my patience. All I can say is that the moment I get back to the UK, I’ll have no hestitation to change my bank accounts.
They are rude, have no inclination to help customers (or retain them), have no flexibility, and no ability to help. Their call centre agents have little more initiative than to read from a script. Their policies don’t improve security, but simply prevent smooth operation. Their cash machines abroad charge as much if not more than local cash machines. In short, I can think of little reason to stay with them.
The World’s Local Bank?
But only at your expense.