Beneficial / HSBC Finance Corp., is a major player in the credit industry and provider of predatory loans such as live-check loans which are mailed, unsolicited, to customers with bad credit. The customer, simply by cashing it, takes out a poorly advised loan at an outrageous rate. I suppose if you're desperate, an unsolicited check showing up one day for thousands of dollars, is like manna from heaven!
Out of nowhere one day, I received a collection call from Beneficial informing me that I needed to start paying back a loan for several thousands of dollars. I informed the gentleman that I had never done business with his firm. Someone who lives over 100 miles away from me had apparently received a live-check loan, and cashed it. The check was in my name and tied to my Social Security number. The collection agent was able to read me my own ss# and refused to listen to my claims of fraud. I asked to whom had the live check been sent and when had it been requested? He said it was in my name, gave some unknown mailing address and he told me that "no one requests these loan checks. They are mailed out as a "service" to those who are felt to meet Beneficial's criteria for such a loan...", without the customers request or knowledge.
Repeated attempts to get their fraud department to file a fraud claim met with lies from their staff, disconnects from being on hold for hours and refusal of their collection agents to say anything except "...when are you going to pay, sir..."
The calls only ceased when I got the attorney general's office to contact them. The whole mess took about 5 months to clear up and I still don't know how much damage has been done since they compromised my personal info. The entire ordeal cost me about 48 hours of personal time to fix. Nightmare.
HSBC provides credit cards for Best Buy, Bon-Ton, CompUSA, Costco, Helzberg Diamonds, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Sony, Yamaha and many more, so keep this in mind when you sign up for credit offers.