Wednesday, 5 September 2018

HSBC. The End Is - Finally - Nigh.

Customer service paradigm

Went to Spinneys the other day to buy stuff for dinner and get some cash from the ATM. The ATM she no work. The credit card she no work. I pay using my Lloyds UK card (expensive, but what to do?) and call The Bank That Likes To Say EOWRUTABABA to find out what's gone wrong.

They've blocked the cards. Without warning, without telling us. No phone call, no email, nothing. They just blocked them and then went home. No, the call centre can't unblock them. No, you can't have access to your own money. No, the branch is closed so you've got no money at all tonight. Mafi faloos, baba. Not a penny. Despite having thousands lodged in your account.

Why? Because they had asked me for a 'salary letter', the latest in a long line of insane documentary requests made in the name of 'compliance' and 'Safeguard'. Apparently, having a scan of the updated utility bill of a guy who's been your customer for 25 years makes us all safer from fraud, scams and Osama Bin Laden.

I queried the requirement for a salary letter by return email, because it strikes me as a tad silly that I - a company owner - would want to write myself a letter confirming I paid myself. In fact, I found out from a letter I got by Aramex on Monday that I could upload my trade license instead and so I did that the very same day. Tuesday they blocked the account.

Wednesday they replied to me with an email explaining I could upload a trade license in lieu of a salary letter. Bit late...

We don't have any loans, or any outstandings. We're in credit. Big time. And we can't use our money. We are, oddly enough, stony broke and cash rich at the same time. It's the last straw, I've finally had enough. This camel's back - after 25 years of abuse and idiocy - is broken.

We're closing the account. I can't trust a financial institution that would do that to its customers. God knows, I couldn't trust them to issue a cheque book, meet a cheque, make a transfer, issue a credit card, operate an ATM, manage a call centre or generally do anything else you'd expect a bank to do.

I mean, it's not like they haven't been trying to get rid of us. Oh, no, they've been trying REAL hard. Even a cursory glance at the Fake Plastic Archive gives us some idea of the treats they've been doling out over the years:

Here, back in 2008, I posted precipitately about my joy - glee, even - at opening a new account with Lloyds UAE and getting rid of HSBC. It was not to be, alas. Lloyds blew opening the account so badly that we gave up. It didn't matter, as it happened, as Lloyds UAE got taken over by HSBC anyway. So it was a case of out of the frying pan into the frying pan and over to the frying pan. It didn't end there, of course.

The howls of pain recorded on this blog alone (bear in mind it started in 2007 and I started banking with HSBC in 1993, so there's years of silent screaming out there)  are testament to a bank that's really, really getting things wrong in a big way. There is NOT ONE aspect of banking service they haven't screwed up over the years. I kid you not, not one aspect.

I have happily accused them of drooling incompetence and gleefully pointed out their legion failings. I have accused them of operating potentially the worst call centre in the world (and defy you to identify a worse one) and charged them with ineptitude of the first order - which is being mild about it.

I have glibly compared their staff to badly trained macaques of below average capability, particularly when they quietly added a requirement for an IBAN number to make transfers and failed to include that field in the onscreen transfer form - then rejected the subsequent transfer AFTER it had gone to the UK and then booked the consequent - and considerable - exchange rate loss back to me.

I have also accused them of lying in their advertising. I have stood by as they have bounced my cheques, screwed up my transfers and generally shook me up like a wasp in a bottle. I have called them useless bastards in the past and I must say I do so very much stand by that accusation.

"Why do you stay with them?" People asked me. Well, it was usually because every time I went to get shot of them, everyone told me the other banks were just as bad. Now I don't care any more. Any bank that will unilaterally cut you off from access to your own money without warning - and that because of their own desire to enforce their unjustified procedural requirements and total incompetence - is not fit to have charge of my funds.

That's it. Game over. I'm sure they'll be glad not to be getting the abuse anymore as much as I - I can faithfully report - have an enormous sense of relief at the prospect of getting rid of them forever.

I only wish I could hurt them more to make the idiots responsible for doing this feel the impotent fury, frustration and considerable inconvenience their thoughtless, pointless and draconian actions have caused us.

I'm not sure what's more remarkable - that we've stuck with them for 25 years or that they just burned a customer of 25 years' standing. As I told the snobby wee girl in the branch today, I can remember when it was the British Bank of the Middle East and there were bedu guards with Martini rifles at the door - and when the paying in form asked for your company stamp or 'chop'.

Goodbye, HSBC, you legendary screwups.

1 comment:

hemlock said...

I didnt realise people were still blogging. Not all banks are bad. None of the banks care about the customers, but there are certain which offer a minimum level of service and sufficient level of systems and structures which wont give you an aneurysm.

I suggest looking into opening your accounts with a local bank. Mashreq has a fantastic online platform. ADCB has a fabulous product portfolio (+online banking). If you want personalised service (where humans still answer the phone), look into Habib Bank AG Zurich (their service - once your account is opened with them - is stuff legends are made of). ENBD, Noor, are also good options.

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