In February 2009, $900 USD was illegally removed from my account with HSBC. I reported the loss within 10 days of the theft.
On the phone, HSBC tells me that I need the local bank (the ATM is owned by VIETCOM BANK in Vietnam) to provide the results of their investigation. If I can get the results of the investigation from Vietcom Bank, then HSBC would refund the money stolen from my account.
After months of letter writing and refusals from the local bank to comply unless they speak to me directly, I travel to the bank in Vietnam in June 2009.
On arrival in Vietnam, I meet with the Deputy Director of Vietcom Bank, Ms. Pham Thi Anh Phuong, in her office at 01 Le Hong Phong Street, Dalat, Vietnam (cell # 0918.248.926) on 8 June 2009.
After providing documentation establishing my identity, the Deputy Director of the Bank began to explain:
(1) The ATM units used by Vietcom Bank do not have cameras to take pictures of each transaction.
(2) The transactions were electronically recorded by the bank. (She could not explain how VIETCOM can discern the difference between a legitimate transaction and a theft.)
(3) Many bank customers (8-12 per week) come to Vietcom Bank and report such thefts but Vietcom Bank simply turns them away.
(4) The ATM card cannot be copied so the withdrawal was legitimate.
She further stated these reasons are why Vietcom Bank will not support any investigation of the reported theft.
I attempted to refute the basis of their argument by explaining:
(a) any electronic media can be copied (contrary to Ms. Pham's #4 comment ;
(b) the fact that so many customer complaints of theft, when combined with the banks lack of video activated ATMs, reflects a degree of negligence if not outright disdain for the customers they wish to serve.
I further asked if Vietcom Bank had any intention of supporting the investigation and she said "no." When I asked why Vietcom Bank insisted on speaking to me directly when they could just as easily have emailed, written or otherwise contacted me, she immediately 'clammed - up' and I was escorted out of the bank.
On my return to the United States, I notified HSBC Bank and asked that they reconsider the situation but the request has been ignored.
I am now out of $900.
ROSELLE, New Jersey