16 November 2006

HSBC, a history - Part 3/3

Since I have been quite busy this week, I'm afraid it will be the third part of my bank experience. If you really reach the end of it, I will be very proud of you!

- I doubted this and went to another branch on the very same day. When I complained to the guy that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand does within HSBC and showed him the letter, he says it means that I just have to wait.

- I wait and get sent another letter saying that I have to bring my passport, my UCAS letter and proof of residence to a branch. I do so, queue up again for 20 minutes and am told later that my account had already been opened weeks ago and he didn't know why I had been sent that letter. He apologised and didn't even try to make it sound sincere. He says, I will receive my debit card within 5 working days (it was a Thursday).

- Instead, I received yet another letter, asking me to pick a 6-10 digit security number for online banking. Normally, I'd receive one but since I live in shared accomodation, I have to choose one myself. Oh well.

- I am sent a card, that doesn't look like a debit card but claims that it does have the same functions. There is neither chip, signature field or Maestro sign on it and my general impression was that it is a toy card.

- In the last week of October, I am sent a bank statement. It says that I have to pay 5 £ as a charge for my account. I am not going to pay for a service I couldn't use!

- That's what I told the employee I met next. He says: "So you want me to close your account. Is that what you are asking me?" I said, "No, I don't. There must be a way for me to complain and not pay these fees!" He was really nice and saw how desperate I was. He registered me for online banking (only possible through a branch because you have to pick a security number but I guess this is the same number I had to pick earlier, only that no one had told me how to use online banking) and explained that I still have to register the first time I log in to online banking. Every time you log in, it asks you for your date of birth, account number, sort code and particular digits out of your security number. It's tyring. I showed him my card and he says that that was a service card, not a debit card and he didn't know why I had been sent this.

- Since I cannot do anything about the 5 £, I decide to transfer money to my UK account. I need the IBAN. I ring HSBC. I was disconnected twice but got through the third time. I was given my IBAN and the international HSBC sort code.

- I logged into Bank Austria online banking and entered the details. Sort code incorrect, I am told. I tried different ones from their webpage until one worked. I just hope for the best. I don't know what happens if the money doesn't arrive in time because international students are not allowed an overdraft.

This is not something that happened to me alone. It is common knowledge that the situation with customer service of banks in the UK is like this. I wonder how on earth did the UK become one of the world leading financial centres???

1 courageous comments!:

natascha said...

you should just copy the story and send it to hsbc. not that i will matter to anyone there, but to adress your frustration to anyone who ... well, whoever gets it... hm