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Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 3, the forearm’s going in

20 September 2010 by superlative

This post follows on from my previous blog post on why I now hate HSBC and their fraud prevention policies, and the subsequent post where I published their reply and my second complaint.

I realise that this saga is going on a bit now, so by all means skip this post if you aren’t interested. However, I intend to continue publishing my correspondence with HSBC on here, partly to highlight the general shittiness of their behaviour, and partly in case anyone has a similar experience to me and finds this blog via a search engine. The bank’s power lies in the fact that people will general believe what they tell them, when it fact it is all a pack of fucking lies, and the more people are able to pull them up on it the better.

So, having read my second post I can tell you that their most recent reply was equally ridiculous, insulting and misleading. The full text of it is below, followed by my (lengthy) unpicking of all the idiotic things they have said to me.

— Reply from HSBC —

I write further to your recent e-mail regarding your on- going complaint. This has given me the opportunity to re- visit your complaint and this e-mail confirms my findings.

At the outset, please accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused.

Please allow me to make the following observations to put your complaint into context and bring matters to a conclusion.

HSBC had received notification from another financial institution that your Visa debit card may have been compromised. As a result, the transaction attempted on 2 August 2010 was declined. I would like to inform you that there was no manual security block placed on your card and the transaction was declined as it breached security parameters within our fraud detection system.

Later that day our staff member contacted you and informed you of the fraud risk on your card. Our representative also advised you that the only solution to eliminate the fraud risk from the card was to stop it and reissue a new card for you.

I understand that your credit card has to be stopped for similar reasons and I can appreciate your concern in relation to this incident. For this, I am truly sorry. I would like to state that the Fraud Prevention Department does not have direct control over illegal actions taken by third parties acting on a fraudulent basis (<- FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU, YOU LITTLE SHIT. YES I ADDED THIS BIT MYSELF, THIS ISN’T HSBC TALKING). Nevertheless, we strive to keep fraud to a minimum by conducting security checks (<- AND FUCK YOUR MOTHER TOO).

Please note that at HSBC we aim to contact our customer as soon as possible. With the number of cards in circulation it is not always possible for us to contact our customers as soon as the transactions are attempted or any intelligence markers placed on the cards. However, I would like to advise you that our system continues to monitor the card activity and does flag up any suspicious activity, if not prompt for a security check.

One aspect especially clear from your email is that you do not consider that we have provided an adequate explanation for originally placing the anti-fraud marker on the card. Our fraud intelligence unit had received information that led us to believe that there was a high risk that your card could be compromised for fraudulent purposes.

I acknowledge inconvenience you have been caused. Clearly the problems with the cards were poorly timed. However, I will emphasise here that, while you were clearly inconvenienced by the fraud protection measures that we took, there is a fine line we must tread between ensuring that we maintain high levels of customer satisfaction and taking all possible steps to minimise the risk of fraud- related loss on our customers accounts (<- I THINK YOU TOOK A SHIT ALL OVER THAT FINE LINE, PAL).

Please accept my extended apologies for the embarrassment and inconvenience you have clearly been caused.

I trust that matters have now been resolved to your satisfaction. If this is not the case, you can escalate your concerns by writing to the Senior Manager of our Service Quality Team.

I am obliged to inform you that complaints we cannot resolve can ultimately be referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service. However, if we do not hear from you within the next eight weeks, we will consider matter s resolved.

Thank you for taking the time to bring your concerns to our attention. I am only sorry it was necessary for you to do so.

— My reply, sent this afternoon —

Despite having previously requested that my complaint be escalated beyond your Fraud Detection Team, I have received a further unsatisfactory response from them and feel obliged to complain yet again about the terrible service I have received from this department over the past two years.

On Wednesday 15 September 2010 I received my latest response from the Fraud Detection Team. As with their previous response to my complaint, it is entirely unacceptable to me, and indeed raises even more issues for complaint than I had in the first place.

Their reply is unacceptable to me for the following reasons:

Repeated misleading and contradictory information
On the numerous occasions when my debit card has been cancelled at no notice and with no apology, I have been repeatedly told on the telephone (and I quote verbatim) “We have received information from the police that your card is on a list of card numbers that have been copied, and so we need to cancel your card and issue a new one.” The calls always come immediately after a failed online transaction, but on each occasion I am told that this is purely coincidental.

In the initial response to my complaint from the Fraud Detection Team, this was modified to “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.”

In other words, when I have been told that it is purely coincidental that they should call me immediately after a failed online transaction, this is, in fact, a lie. This is the first example of the Fraud Detection Team saying anything on the telephone regardless of its veracity in order to persuade a customer to let them cancel their card.

In my most recent response from the team, the information has changed again, this time into “HSBC had received notification from another financial institution that your Visa debit card may have been compromised” (underlining is my own).

This contradicts previous assertions that it was the police that had contacted the bank regarding my card, and that my card details had definitely been compromised, and is a second example of the lies told to customers by the Fraud Detection Team.

These statements cannot all be true; they are contradictory and misleading, and the fact that HSBC treats customers in this way is absolutely unacceptable.

I have always maintained, and remain convinced, that at no time have my card details actually been compromised. No fraudulent transactions have ever been made on my cards. Each time this occurs, it is clear to me that in reality all that is happening is the online transaction I was attempting to make was identified as possibly fraudulent by whatever automated monitoring system HSBC employs.

As I have stated in my previous complaints, I do not have an issue with this. Furthermore I would have no issue with a representative from HSBC calling me to ask whether the attempted transaction had been made by me; this would allow me to confirm that it was indeed me, and I could then proceed with my transaction unencumbered and safe in the knowledge that HSBC takes a pro-active approach to fraud prevention.

However, your policy appears to be that should a payment be flagged as suspicious, the card should be immediately cancelled. The inconvenience caused to your customers is deemed insignificant, no apology is offered at the time of cancellation or indeed after a customer has complained about it, and worse than all this, your staff actively mislead and lie to customers in order to complete the process.

I repeat that this is absolutely unacceptable.

Failure to address my complaint fully or to explain further misleading information
1) I asked previously for my complaint to be escalated beyond the Fraud Detection Team. It was not.

2) When I have asked on the telephone for guidance on how to prevent my cards being compromised in the future, I have been told flatly that they have no further information to give me. When I included this in my previous complaint, this section of the complaint was entirely ignored in the team’s response. As I stated in my last complaint, you seem to believe that cancelling cards retroactively is a more effective way of combating fraud than helping your customers avoid fraud in the first place. This may be more convenient for you, but it is certainly not more convenient for your customers, particularly when I remain unconvinced that my cards were ever compromised in the first place.

3) During one of my telephone conversations with the Fraud Detection Team, I pointed out that it seemed unlikely to me that my credit card could suddenly have been compromised when I had not used it for nearly five months. Your representative then made the bizarre assertion that my credit card may have been copied by random number generation. In my last complaint I pointed out that this seems mathematically improbable to me, as it would involve randomly generating my card number, plus the corresponding start and end date, plus the card security code. This part of my complaint was also ignored, in my view because this is another example of the Fraud Detection Team saying anything on the telephone, including bare-faced lying, to make a customer agree to the cancellation of the card. They ignored this aspect of my complaint because there is no reasonable way to explain how random number generation could have compromised the card. It is simply another lie, and I am consequently unable to believe anything further that I am told by the Fraud Detection Team. That I feel unable to trust the information I am given by my bank is deeply shocking.

Although in their latest response the team have finally managed to apologise for the repeated inconvenience I have been caused, the rest of their reply is entirely unacceptable to me. They even thought to include the rather insulting statement that “the Fraud Prevention Department does not have direct control over illegal actions taken by third parties acting on a fraudulent basis”, in case they had not already annoyed me quite enough.

All aspects of my communications with the Fraud Detection Team have been intentionally misleading, and the fundamental point of my complaint, namely that your anti-fraud procedures are deeply flawed and your customer service woefully inadequate, has been ignored.

The matter has not been resolved to my satisfaction, and I look forward to a response from someone not in the Fraud Detection Team that addresses all aspects of this complaint in full.

— end of reply —

They’re fucking idiots! They just lie and lie and lie, and they don’t care. It isn’t going to affect me in future as I’ve already changed banks, but I’m not going to stop going on at them, and I’m going to tell as many people as possible that this is what they do.

Of course people have no reason to distrust them when they call you and say “the police have told us your card has been copied”.

“Oo,” you think, “they must have found my details on some criminal’s laptop or something.”

Don’t fucking believe them! It’s a lie, a complete lie, and they don’t need to cancel your card.

Unfortunately for them, I have a lot of time on my hands, I’m really really stubborn, and I bear a grudge like you wouldn’t believe. I’ll let you know if and when they send me another dickless response.


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 2, they may now insert the pot as well
Why HSBC can continue to fuck themselves with a massive cactus, but can do so £100 lighter


  1. Tony says:

    I have been having my cards cancelled repeatedly by Hsbc as well and your post was very helpfull !!! I’m definetely changing bank, i have had my card blocked 3 times with no reason, they really dont realise that over “protection” it’s not good service it’s actually not being able to follow quality standards and costumer satisfaction as they say they are always focused on!

  2. pre says:

    They decline my application s without informing me and when i called their hotline they did not explain what’s the reason why my card is decline. 🙁

  3. superlative says:

    Because they are cunts, I’m afraid. Either that or you don’t have enough money.

  4. Murry says:

    It’s nice to know that nothing changes! Twice this year they’ve done this to me!

  5. rich says:

    Ha! [Regarding the large cactus and forearm insertion.]

    I have exactly the same issue with HSBC. each and every time i go abroad, I notify HSBC online of my travel arrangements, which countries i will be visiting and when.

    Within 5 days i can guarantee that I will receive a call from the fraud team saying that they have been passed information that my card has been cloned and that they are cancelling it and will reissue another card. not really helpful as i wont receive it until back from holiday.

    The first time this happened it was a minor inconvenience, the second time it happened whilst i was in the departure lounge at the airport and was quite stressful as I had to withdraw money from an account i had with another credit card… not ideal as i had to pay fees and interest, but i had no choice as HSBC had blocked access to my money.

    i escalated a complaint and got nowhere and lost interest in speaking with them about it again and again.

    Last week i went to italy and the same happened for a 3rd time. luckily this time i had got cash for the trip, and would only use my card in an emergency.

    I am escalating the complaint and have requested the team compare each card cancellation to each notification of travel abroad and see if they can see a pattern.

    I am loathe to waste my time with these shower of cnuts and will move my account to a more reasonable bank, if such a thing exists?

    I will however this time keep escalating my complaint in the faint hope that someone with authority somewhere forces address their utterly shitty service. This will happen to some poor bastard somewhere who will be stranded abroad with no money and a large phone bill trying to sort it out.

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