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Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 2, they may now insert the pot as well

8 September 2010 by superlative

If you haven’t read my previous blog post on why I now hate HSBC and their fraud prevention policies, go read it or none of this will make sense.

I finally got around to complaining to HSBC last week. Rather than write up a whole new letter, I basically just sent them the text of the above blog post with the swear words taken out and a ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ at the beginning.

They managed to reply to me this morning, and I am shocked SHOCKED I tell you that their response seems to me to confirm that they do actually lie to their customers when they call them to cancel their cards, and that the cancellation of my cards previously was pretty much as needless as I always suspected it to be.

I’m publishing the text of their response and the reply I’ve just sent them below.

— Reply from HSBC —

Thank you for highlighting the problems you have encountered with the closure of your debit card recently.

HSBC had received confidential information that your debit card could be compromised for fraudulent purposes. As you may be aware, fraud intelligence is highly confidential and sensitive information. I should perhaps clarify that details of the information received or its source are confidential and will not be passed on to our customers.

I would like to inform you that the points of compromise can be any where, for example, ATM, retailer, on-line / telephone or as a result of data theft. Due to the sensitive nature of the fraud prevention process and potential ongoing investigation that are being carried out by law enforcement agencies and other financial institutions, it is not possible to advise why his card was identified to us as being high risk from fraud.

As a result, the attempted transaction breached security parameters within our fraud prevention system. On the same day our representative contacted you and made you aware of the inherent risk of fraudulent usage on the card. You were also advised that as a precautionary measure it is HSBC s policy to close the card account and issue you with a new card and number. Following your conversation with our staff member your existing debit card was stopped and a new card was ordered for you.

During your conversation with the Fraud Detection Team your credit card details were reviewed and you were advised that your credit card had to be closed on precaution. I understand from your comments that you are unhappy that you did not receive information from the Fraud Detection Team pertaining to the issues with the credit card.

When we receive information that a card may have been compromised, we place a marker on the card to monitor the situation. We will only contact our customers when we have confirmed fraud or when the marker is having an impact on the customer using the card.

I would like to assure you that your credit worthiness was never in question and this action was purely intended to protect the available funds in your account.

— My reply, sent this morning —

Your reply is unacceptable to me for a number of reasons.

1) You offer no apology at all for the inconvenience that your policies have repeatedly caused me, and you fail even to acknowledge that any inconvenience was caused.

2) You state that “When we receive information that a card may have been compromised, we place a marker on the card to monitor the situation. We will only contact our customers when we have confirmed fraud or when the marker is having an impact on the customer using the card.”

This confirms that when I have been told by you that it is purely coincidental that you should call me immediately after a failed online transaction, this is, in fact, a lie. The failed transaction has conflicted with the marker placed on the card, causing you to call me and cancel it.  That you should confirm that you lie to your customers in this way is shocking and unacceptable.

Furthermore, in my case there has never been confirmed fraud on my card. You were happy for me to continue using the card until I made a payment that conflicted with the marker, but I confirmed that this payment was not fraudulent. Therefore nothing had changed, no actual fraud had been detected, and I see no reason why my card should have been cancelled once I confirmed that the attempted payment was genuine.

3) You do not address the bizarre assertion that my credit card may have been copied by random number generation, which seems mathematically improbable. No fraud has been attempted on my credit card, nor has any marker placed on it affected my use of the card until I spoke to you. Even by your own description of your procedures above, I see no reason why you should have requested to cancel my credit card at the same time as my debit card.

4) You do not explain your policy of offering your customers no guidance on how to prevent copying of their card details in future. You seem to believe that cancelling cards retroactively is a more effective way of combating fraud, rather than helping your customers avoid fraud in the first place, although I repeat that I have never actually been a victim of fraud anyway. This may be more convenient for you, but it is certainly not more convenient for your customers.

Your entire response confirms to me that you are happy to lie to your customers, that any inconvenience caused to your customers is irrelevant to you, and that your procedures lack a logical foundation. The fact that you do not even apologise for any of this is appalling, and I would like my complaint escalated beyond your department as you are clearly not able to deal with it in a satisfactory manner. If and when you wish to respond to me, you may do so in writing.

— end of reply —
I can’t believe that they didn’t even fucking apologise! I thought they would at least say “we are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you; our primary interest is protecting you from fraud” or at least SOMETHING like that, but no. They’ve just said “This is our policy; we don’t care that it’s inconvenient to you; we don’t care that we just tell you any old thing on the phone so you’ll let us cancel the card; we’re not sorry”.

It’s fucking RIDICULOUS. If I hadn’t already changed bank I certainly would do so now. I don’t know what on earth they think they’re doing, or how they think that’s an appropriate way to respond to a complaint.



Other posts on this topic:
Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus
Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 3, the forearm’s going in
Why HSBC can continue to fuck themselves with a massive cactus, but can do so £100 lighter


  1. Helen says:

    Excellent reply, glad you’ve not let it drop. I think you need to threaten press involvement and sic the Trading Standards people on them. Incompetent bastards.

  2. superlative says:

    They obviously haven’t realised yet that I haven’t got anything better to do with my time than keep harassing them. I’ve already changed bank, so I haven’t got anything to lose anyway.

    If they can’t send me a proper reply I’ll take it to the financial ombudsman. Nothing will come of it, I’m sure, but I’ll at least feel satisfied that I’ve kicked up a fuss about their stupid policies.

  3. Grant says:

    I love you post. You are so right, we have a business account with HSBC. We have never seen our manager. He only calls to sell us stuff. Our cards are being stopped far too often. Recently they sent out several SMS to an old employe with our account details on and they didn’t even know they had done it.I believe there data protection is poor and I hate the idea of an Indian call center…its just not safe to have a non EU country having access to our account information and all so they can make even more money form us….. we are moving our account and I hope many of you will do the same! send them a clear message.perhaps Banks have had there day……

  4. B says:

    When they wouldn’t let me pay for car repairs at my regular service station with my debit card, I was told the security hold was placed because of my mechanic’s location and because it was a large purchase for a gas station. They also canceled my debit card with no notice the Target data breach (because I used the card at Target) the day before the New Years’ Day long holiday weekend, so we had to run out of the house to get cash to buy groceries from the ATM with their security department on the phone. Meanwhile, HSBC does business with drug cartels. My friends tell me they do not have these issues with their banks. Moving my money elsewhere.

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