Hacked off with my bank - should I switch to a new bank?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by electrolyte, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. electrolyte

    electrolyte
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    I have a current a/c with HSBC and they have severely annoyed me this week. There is a long post below but the upshot is that they froze my switch card despite me having a 6 figure balance in my a/c :mad: I want to change bank but are they all as bad as each other? Your comments about your bank would be appreciated....

    Here is why I want to switch. First of all I need to explain some background - which I'm not that comfortable with sharing on a public forum, but it's integral to the story. Last year a terrible thing happened to me - my Mum committed suicide unexpectedly aged 57. This was approx 5 years after my Dad died from a heart attack aged only 56. I have had counseling and feel that 8 months after my Mum's death that I have come to terms with it.

    Anyway, on Fri 10 March my solicitor paid my share of my Mum's estate directly into my HSBC account. I decided that I should use some of the money to pay off well over half of my mortgage which through my counseling I have now accepted is a good thing (I could write pages just about my guilt of benefiting in this way from my Mum's death)

    So I rang my mortgage company, Portman, on Sat 11 March to arrange payment of the 5 figure sum that I wanted to pay. Portman took my switch card details and told me I should ring my bank to get them to authorise the payment. I rang HSBC as soon as I'd finished my call to Portman and I spoke to a lady in India who didn't speak very good English. I asked her to authorise the payment. It took about 5 minutes to explain what I wanted her to do and many times of me spelling out "P-O-R-T-M-A-N" to get her to assure me that the payment would be authorised. She said that "a note was entered on my account and this payment would be authorised"

    I thought nothing more of this until Portman ring me on Thurs 16 March to say that the payment had been rejected. The woman at Portman said it could take up to 3 days for a payment to be taken from my card using their system. She took my card details again and said I should try to get the payment authorised again.

    I then rang HSBC and spoke to India (again :thumbsdow). The man couldn't understand really why the initial payment had been rejected and he gave me little confidence that the new payment would be authorised this time. So he passed me to someone who sounded like he was based in a British call centre. This guy explained that I should have rung the HSBC Premier Line, whatever that is and got them to authorise it (the woman in India that I spoke to didn't advise me to do this on Saturday though). His tone was like it was my fault that the payment had been rejected. He gave me the Premier Line phone number but when I rang the number he'd given me it took me through to Gucci’s customer help desk!! I looked up the Premier Line on HSBC's website and saw that he'd added an extra 6 to the number.

    So I rang the Premier Line using the right number. A snotty woman explained that HSBC could only allow Portman a 30 minute window to get the payment authorised and only after I had spoken to HSBC. I explained to her that this was ridiculous as Portman could only say that the payment would be processed sometime in the next 3 days. She explained it was a security measure. I said it was more like they didn't want me to spend any money. She suggested I rang Portman again and get them to process the payment that instant rather than waiting for 3 days.

    I was getting very frustrated by now and had spent about 1 and a half hours on the phone on that day trying to sort this out. The woman on the Premier Line said that she'd keep the window open for 30 minutes if I rang Portman now. This I did 30 secs later and the woman at Portman said that she'd by-pass their system and put it through manually. The woman at Portman rang me back 10 mins later to say that HSBC had rejected the payment again! I then rang the Premier Line back and they said that there was a few minutes delay to opening the authorisation window. She assured me it was open now. I rang back Portman, gave them my card details again and this time it worked :clap: TFFT I thought.

    A few hours later that same day, I went to Morrisons and tried to buy £8 worth of groceries and get £20 cash back. My card was refused. This I could not believe as my balance was 6 figures so surely I could afford £28!! There was a big queue of people behind me at the checkout so I was very embarrassed by this as you can imagine. The manager said I could wait 5 -10 mins for her to find out why my card had been refused or use a different card. I decided to pay using my credit card to avoid further embarrassment and this was fine.

    I rang India when I got home and discovered that my card had been frozen (yes that's right, despite having a 6 figure balance!) Apparently, as the supervisor explained to me, me trying to authorise these payments to Portman triggered HSBC's anti-fraud system so my card was frozen. She explained, and I kid you not, that £10.82 I spent at Tesco a couple of days before had been one of the other factors to trigger this!:rolleyes: :suicide:

    The supervisor unfroze my card but was not overly apologetic as if all this was my fault that it had happened. She tried to say that surely I should be happy that they have an anti-fraud system in place and wouldn't it have been terrible if someone had stolen the 5 figure sum from my account. I lost it at this point and really got annoyed! It wasn't some dodgy Nigerian scammer trying to get the money from my account it was Portman with my (ie the customer of HSBC) full authorisation!!

    So, are all banks as bad as this or is there one who doesn't use Indian call centres and treats their customers with a bit of respect? BTW, Portman were excellent during this whole debacle and were very helpful.
     
  2. mhuk05

    mhuk05
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    Change banks.

    Always ask for the persons name you're speaking to and tell them (if they suck) you'll be passing their name on to customer services manager.
     
  3. Chumpy

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    I used to be with HSBC and have come across many of the things you mention here. I am now with Alliance and Leicester, and have to say it is much better. Their call centres are based either in Liverpool or near your neck of the woods, and have found them so far very good to deal with. It also has one of the best current account interest rates available.

    It's nice to go from a bank where they treat you as if they're doing you a favour, to one where it is the other way around.
     
  4. mhuk05

    mhuk05
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    I prefer a bank that treats me as if I'm doing them a favour ;)
     
  5. GBDG1

    GBDG1
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    You should always change, the only way they will ever learn, brand loyalty to banks is one of the reasons they are so rubbish.
     
  6. neilneil

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    When you do change banks and close down this large account be sure to tell them why and copy in writing to head office why you are closing your account.

    -Neil
     
  7. signs

    signs
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    i've heard the bank of ...signs..is very good :smashin:
     
  8. Bristol Pete

    Bristol Pete
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    Firstly, sorry to hear your circumstances in regard to how the story evolved. My heart goes out to you.

    All I can advise you about moving banks would be to steer clear from Nat West as from experience, they are also a joke. Not quite the same but I called the mastercard line last monday, to make a payment on my card.

    Was told 'erm, I am sorry sir but we dont take payments over the phone...' Eh? You what? Surely thats wrong. Nope. I was advised to call Action Line which I did. Was then told that I had never activated my action line account and was asked for a pin number. I said how can I know it if I have never activated it.....so the guy says well, take a guess at the password! how randomly stupid. In the end, he concluded that I would be better off going to my branch to pay it over the counter. However, at my branch, there is no counter anymore, simply machines on the wall. The annoyance stemmed from the fact that I had to punch in several digits on the phone to simply get to this point, you know, automated messages - for balance enquire press blah blah blah!!!!!

    You have to laugh. In the end I said to him 'Natwest, there is another way....the highway, time to move banks'.

    Evidently they are all a shambles :(

    Pete.
     
  9. Mr_Wistles

    Mr_Wistles
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    Hello as you have a large sum in your bank you can change over to the HSBC Premier account.

    Now that IS a good account. Always speak to the UK, never queue. Personal concierge, cheaper credit card rates, intrest free overdrafts. They treat you like a god.

    Call 08457 70 70 70 and ask if you qualify. You need to have more than 30k in savings or earn over 100k pa.

    I have had it for the past three years and there is no other service by another bank that even comes close.
     
  10. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    If you have a reasonable balance in the account, consider opening another account with a different bank, and transfer a reasonable percentage of your funds into it. This will give you a lot more time to sort out your standing orders, and get the plastic for your new account set up. If the new bank turns out to be no good, then you will still have a fall-back. There's no limit to the number of bank accounts you can have.
     
  11. Sick Boy

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    Your right. You will always speak to a nice person. Unfortunately you will still get the same muppets actioning everything that you ask the nice person to do. The nice person will not be able to do anything you ask themselves.


    Find another bank that isn't making billions by employing a cheap (and soon to be cheaper) workforce and a sales orientated frontline. HSBC consider themselves a top class High Street Bank much as Currys consider themselves a top class electrical retailer.



    A good test is to ask them to switch your account. You can easily find out how bad both banks are then along with how poor Direct Debit companies can be as well:smashin:
     
  12. electrolyte

    electrolyte
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    Thanks for all your advice. The Premier line we're much more helpful though than India. They spoke English but weren't much help. Although I did have a 6 figure balance now that I've paid off most of my mortgage, transfered quite a bit to savings and investments and bought a new car, there is not much left (and I'm attempting to buy a new LCD as well :D )
     
  13. electrolyte

    electrolyte
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    Thanks mate, I'll look into A&L
     
  14. electrolyte

    electrolyte
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    Thats a great idea, thanks. I thought that banks would only allow you to open a current account if you had your salary being paid into it though? But will look into this option if not.
     
  15. electrolyte

    electrolyte
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    Thanks Pete, that's kind of you.

    That is the problem - everyone I've spoken to has bad things to say about their bank. Perhaps I'm better with the devil I know :(
     
  16. Monkey Alan

    Monkey Alan
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    After being a victim of card fraud this week I'm just asking you to look at the other side of the coin. Its sounds like there was just a mix up between you and the bank and I agree those Indian call centres are not the best. If you phone the internet banking number and enter your branch sort code you can get through to your bank direct most of the time. What I'm saying is you should be thankful the banks are trying to stop fraud and if there are any transactions there not sure of (possible because someone messed up in India and misunderstandings happen, its human nature) they should stop them and get in touch with you as they did. Also I would like to say it’s not very secure to keep that kind of amount in an account with a switch card.
     
  17. GBDG1

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    What happened with the card fraud?
     
  18. nabby

    nabby
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    First, let me say I was sorry to hear about the background to your bankign tale of woe.

    I bank with HSBC and whilst they can be a bunch of muppets at times, I feel they're the best of bad bunch. However, me and the missus are likely to go to Nationwide shortly as I feel they give you a fairer deal and aren't answering to shareholders.

    My brother banks with A&L and he says they're great (and no, he's not Tony the Tiger!)

    As an aside, I am surprised that Portman didn't just ask you to send the payment by Internet Banking...
     
  19. colinwheeler

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    Well, my advise would be Barclay's Premier. They give you the number of somebody (an individual) to deal with. Then as well as that you have a 24 call centre in Isle of Man. I have not had any significant problems with them.
     
  20. Gadfium

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    Firstly I am sorry to hear of your problems..........chin up, things will get better.

    I have recently moved from Natwest to Alliance and Leicester as I got pig sick of paying Natwest banking charges. Things to be aware of:
    1) A & L have no branches near me (the nearest is Blackpool..I live in Lancaster). I never thought that this would be an issue as I rarely use bank branches, but it has caused me one or two small problems.
    2) A & L have an "account switching" team, who are supposed to do everything- swapping DDs, standing orders, informing your employer etc. This, in reality, turned into a complete fiasco....I think that they had employed Laurel & Hardy to do my account switch. They lost DDs, my wifes pay went missing for 4 days, the first month that it was supposed to go live they paid all the DDs which go out on the 1st of each month without transferring the wages:eek:..,.I ended up doing a lot of the switching myself.
    3) If you are with the A&L, then you can use the Post offices to pay in cheques and the like, but then you are limited to PO opening hours (plus the endless queues of old dears:rotfl:).

    One of the things that you might want to consider is that if you pay in large sums and take out large sums, then the bank's systems will highlight this (especially if these sizes of sums do not normally transact through your accounts). This is to prevent money laundering. The same thing happened to me last Easter bank holiday. I paid in about £10K and withdrew about £8K in a 12 hour period. The bank systems then froze my card, leaving me with no debit card over Easter......was not impressed:mad:. I should have made the bank aware that these transactions would be happening, then the card wouldn't have been frozen.
     
  21. Miyazaki

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    Well you know Barclay's are lying then! Phones on the Isle Of Man?! Don't be so ridiculous!
     
  22. GBDG1

    GBDG1
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    allo my name is mohammed and I am in dis Isle of man.
     
  23. Chumpy

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    The other option with cheques and A&L is to pop them in the post to them.

    I've found that account switching in the main tends to be an all or nothing thing. It went fine for me this time, but last time I was tempted to switch (to Nationwide incidentally) everything that could have gone wrong did - and I ended up closing the account before I even got started as they stated I would have to fill in all the forms again from scratch.

    One plus with A&L in the respect of drawing out large amounts was that they called me straight away to advise they had seen a lot of money going out of the account BEFORE they put a freeze on it. When I explained what was going on, everything was fine and no interruption to my normal service.
     
  24. Chumpy

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    Just to add I have also been with NatWest, Barclays, Halifax as well as HSBC, and you could'nt pay me to go back to any of them.
     
  25. mjn

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    I've just been trying to close my MBNA credit card, more complicated than you think! They don't even accept payment over the phone for starters, they have a ridiculous phone menu system, their call centre in India keep trying to sell me insurance for my non-existance kids.
     
  26. Knyght_byte

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    i still like the Abbey National MBNA Credit Card call centre in India.....a very nice man there wished me a happy birthday when i phoned up once........shame it was mid-summer....and my b-day is in the winter...lol
     
  27. colinwheeler

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    allo Mohammed, you must go drinking with my friend who works in Douglas close to the call centre then? Do you know him?
     
  28. stealther

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    Sorry to hear about your circumstances.:(

    Close your account and make sure you tell them why. There all as bad as one another but the only way were ever going to get banks to change is by having no loyalty to them.

    I hate foreign call centres with a passion there all useless. As educated as the person may be they have no frame of reference when we call them so if its not on the script in front of them they have not got a clue.

    I used to deal with an Indian call centre in my last job to say that they were incompotent was an understatement.:mad: What really annoys me is that the banks not satisfied with the huge profits they make every year started shifting call centres overseas just so as they can make even more money!
     
  29. colinwheeler

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    As my one friend suggested:

    Keep your old accounts with the banks that have p"£$%ed you off open. Keep £10 in credit and make sure that you have thier "no charge" account. That way, it costs them administration to run the account and they get no benefit out of it.:devil:

    Evil but I believe that the one way they could overcome this waste is to start to focus on what thier customers want and to pay attention to them.

    Call me innocent, naieve and stupid but hey.
     
  30. davehk

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    Have to say that I've been with NatWest for 30+ years and only ever had one problem - a double paid standing order, which they fixed on the spot.

    And I can phone them at any time 24x7 and speak to an UK based call centre, to someone who speaks good english and does what they say they will do.
     

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