I have had two credit cards with HSBC for about a year now. The interest rate on the accounts is fairly high, but with my credit I didn't expect a low rate. Up until a couple of months ago everything went fine. High interest rate, lots of calls when my payment was late, etc. Peaches and cream!
But, when my payment became 60 days past due just before Christmas in late 2007, my life turned to hell because of HSBC. HSBC card services would call my phone constantly. When I answered and told them I had no money and would pay off the entire balance after the end of the year, they would say, "No problem Mr. Apple, we will take you off of our call list for the next ten days. We do appreciate your business." Then, often within 5 minutes, I would get another call from a different collection agent.
Eventually, I gave in and agreed to pay $25 on each account, and formally agreed to pay the remaining balance after 'the end of the year.' I gave them my bank account information and repeatedly said, 'I can only pay $25 on each account, ok?' The lady collecting for HSBC would each time cheerfully say, 'that's fine Mr. Apple, we do appreciate your business.' Then, she confirmed my payment and quickly said, 'the remaining balance on each account will be automatically drafted on December 27th.' I then again explained that I would be paying off the accounts after 'the end of the year.' Then, she said 'so, you don't want the remaining balance automatically drafted on the 27th.' 'NO, I DO NOT!' I said. This went on during the entire month of December.
During December of 2007 I can't tell you how many calls I received from HSBC, but I know there was one day in particular that I counted and there were 23 calls in one day! I made small payments in December. Each time, the situation was nearly identical to the situation explained in the last paragraph.
Then, at the beginning of January, I sent payments for each of the two credit card accounts. The payoff balance on one of them was $569.92. I paid $575 on that account. The other 10 day payoff balance was $509.42. I sent $515 for that account. Each payment was sent in a separate envelope. Each payment was accompanied by a letter detailing the payment amount, the payoff quote, and the full account number of the account that was to be paid off. Each envelope was sent via US certified mail. I crossed all my t's and dotted all my i's because by now I did not trust HSBC! I was so relieved that I had finally paid these people off completely so that they would stop calling me.
A week or so later, I called to verify that they had received my payments. After all, they had finally stopped calling me. I was shocked to learn that both payments were applied to the same account! The HSBC Orchard bank Visa card had a negative balance of $579, while the HSBC Orchard bank MasterCard had a balance of $569.92. And, the HSBC Orchard bank MasterCard was still accruing interest! (@ 29 %!)
How could two separate checks, in two separate envelopes be applied to the same account when each payment was accompanied by a letter detailing what the payment was for? FRAUD, that's how. I don't believe HSBC is so incompetent that they can't figure out which accounts to apply payments toward. I firmly believe that HSBC intentionally applied both balances to the same account and suspect that it happens often in this situation.
When I learned that one of the accounts still had a balance, I immediately called their customer service line. I spoke with a customer care 'specialist' named Carolyn. She couldn't give me her last name or a direct phone line. But, she assured me that they would fix the problem and both accounts would have a $0.00 balance within the next 7 to 14 business days. She also gave me an 'agent ID': 'HCSGTF', and told me she worked out of their Virginia office and could be reached at (888)835-8916. That was quite some time ago, and the HSBC Visa card still has a negative balance and the HSBC MasterCard still has a balance that is over $500 still accruing interest. I have called the number that Carolyn gave me several times and each time I gave them her 'agent ID'. I have never got to speak with 'Carolyn again, and my problem has never been resolved.
At this point, I really don't know where to turn. What do you do in this situation? Call the police? Little good that would do when the perpetrator of the crime is a multi-billion dollar corporation in a different state! There's really nothing I can do except to fight to get my money back and try once more to pay off the account!
I am currently refinancing my house and will be paying off the other account with my new home loan. Despite the damage that closing the account will cause to my credit, I will be closing both accounts! This is the worst I have ever been treated by any company. I'm really shocked that this mess is still hurting my credit score. PLEASE BE VERY WEARY OF HSBC! HSBC is a very, very, very fraudulent and dishonest company!