Report: #296146

Complaint Review: Orchard Bank HSBC

  • Submitted: Tue, January 01, 2008
  • Updated: Tue, November 25, 2008
  • Reported By: Coopersburg Pennsylvania
  • Orchard Bank HSBC
    P.O. Box 80084
    Salinas, California

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

Back in September of 2007 I received a notice stating that the APR terms of my account were to change from 16.4% to a whopping 26.99%. The notice stated that if I disagreed with the change, they would close the account and drop the APR back down to 16.4% until the account was paid in full. Rather than send the letter at that time, I decided to call them. When I told them I disagreed with the increased APR, they specifically told me to "wait until Nov. 8th, call back, and ask for a lower APR." This I did, but they refused to change it. I in turn told them that I wasn't going to pay 26.99% on the account, then the next day I typed out a dispute letter informing them that I disagreed with the higher APR. From that time forth, nothing changed. I just called them this evening (December 31st, 2007) and found that not only is the account still open, but for last month they STILL charged me 26.99%, which translated to over $90 in interest for the month of November alone. At this point I demanded to speak to a manager. I told him everything that happened and that I refused to pay that much in interest, and in response he stated that he "would call me back in a few days after reviewing the written dispute letter I had sent in." Chances are he will not call back at all, because the the truth is, for the past three months now, with all the calls back and forth trying to resolve this situation, I have been getting nothing but the run-around. One of the other report filers about this company is right: The CSR people who answer the phone are like highly-trained robots who refuse to do anything positive for their customers. It's like pulling teeth. The fact is, that due to my higher balance, and regardless of the fact that I pay all my payments on time, and ALWAYS pay more than the minimum payment, they DELIBERATELY increased my APR so like vampires they could suck more money out of me.

An example of their run-around tactics: Back in Sept. after I received the notice about the higher APR, I called in to ask why they were increasing it. They said, "Well sir, last month your account went over the limit," at which point I broke in and said, "Wait a second. The only reason my account went over the limit in the first place is NOT the result of a purchase I had made, but the result of finance charges which pushed the balance over the top. As a result, you also charged me an Over The Limit fee....on your own finance charges!" That was ridiculous and completely unfair, but again they did NOTHING positive about it.

The second time, earlier this month, when I had called and asked them why my APR changed, this time they stated, "Well sir, we're actually doing this to all of our customer accounts." So which is true? I have no idea, but they said it was the result of one thing back in September, and later said it was the result of something entirely different.

At any rate, I spoke with a manager this evening, asking about the status of the written letter of complaint I had sent, and the fact that they had not closed the account nor changed the terms back to my previous APR. He stated he would "have to check into it and call me back in a few days." Whether he will or not, in consideration of the complete lacking of success I have had in dealing with this bank, I have little or no confidence that anything will be resolved. Thus the filing of this complaint. The truth is that the only reason they increased my APR in the first place is because of my higher balance. If my balance were $500, you can bet they would never have changed the APR in the first place. This is a deliberate act in order to siphon more money out of me, and probably those other customers having higher balances as well. If you recall, back in the 80's when Sears increased their APR from 18% to 21%, they wound up in a class action lawsuit because they applied the new interest rate on purchases previously made by their customers BEFORE they changed the rate. That was deemed illegal, after which they were ONLY allowed to apply the new rate on NEW purchases ONLY, taking place after the APR change. Previous balances were then changed back to the original 18%. Orchard Bank is now attempting to do the same exact thing that Sears did all those years ago. I never agreed to that, and it's completely unfair for them to just bump-up my APR to an INSANE 26.99% on my entire balance of purchases made at the lower APR. In closing, I've told them numerous times that if they continue to attempt to charge me that higher APR, I will not pay the account at all. For now I will continue to file the necessary complaints, including a dispute with the credit bureau, which I will work on next.

As for their late fees, I have been charged $39 three times, EVEN THOUGH I MADE THE PAYMENT ONLINE BEFORE THE DUE DATE. When I called to complain that was unfair, they tried to claim that the reason was because it "takes two days for the transfer to complete." That's ridiculous, and another fat lie. Why is it that with my other accounts, the payment posts either the SAME DAY, or the NEXT day, depending on whether or not you make the payment by 12pm? Good question, eh? The truth is that they set that up deliberately as well, in order to screw people over by charging late fees. Making a payment online is near instantaneous. It's a direct electronic transfer. For them to actually set it up so the customer gets screwed over just goes to show that this bank is run by thieves and cut-throats.

Well, if they're going to treat me like that, and refuse to resolve the situation to my advantage, I'm going to refuse to pay the account and they can eat my debt to them for lunch. Then when they try to collect, I'll give them what for, file a statement about it on my credit report, and tell them not to call here ever again. (By law, if you tell them that, they are required to comply.) In closing, last night I also filed a complaint against them with the FTC. If you've been ripped off by this bank, do the same.

Coopersburg, Pennsylvania

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/01/2008 05:25 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Suggestion

It certainly is a rip off that WE signed up for!

AUTHOR: Temps425 - (U.S.A.)

Banks prey on us not keeping up on the fine print. Your full credit card terms used to be one page, and are now PAGES and PAGES, not to benefit you but -you guessed it- the corporations. People, we need to live below our means and PASSIONATELY focus on paying these companies off an get them off our backs for absorbanent fees and interest. You can be savvy and with solid credit reputations and under intense scrutiny, make them work for well for you, but orchard bank is one of the worst in my experience.
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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

response to Chris

AUTHOR: Paul - (U.S.A.)

Chris you obviously did not read my letter carefully, even tho you said that you read the cardmember agreement carefully. I said about 80% of card holders don't read the cardmember agreement so that would put you in the 20% that do read it and I can not quote you where it says they can raise the APR at anytime but believe me it is in there I have read many of that banks disclosures and other banks alos they are all pretty much the same. And you oboviously did not read it carefully because EVERY credit card cardmember agreement says they can raise your APR at any time at their discretion for no reason. Most banks have been hit hard by losses in the sub-prime mortgage market so they make up those losses by increasing the APR on credit cards they have issued. It doesn't have anything to do with how much your balance is they are doing it typically across the board to all of their cards no matter how good a customer, that is one reason I don't work there anymore because of their unethical practices.
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#3 Consumer Suggestion


AUTHOR: Out2help - (U.S.A.)

Do you have documentation for the times that you were charged late fees on payments that you paid timely? A class action is being initiated against Orchard Bank. If you are interested please contact me
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#4 Consumer Comment

Sick to dealth of the "Read the Terms of Service response".

AUTHOR: Chris - (U.S.A.)


My comment is in response to you assumption that we do not read the Terms of service. First let me assure you that prior to accepting the offer from HSBC I read every inch of the contract to ensure that I fully understand what I was obligating myself to. And I challenge you to show me where in the terms of service it states that my interest rate can be changed because of a change to my credit score. Especially when the only change to my credit is that my credit score has significantly improved to the point that the second card I had with HSBC was a 0% interest rate for the first 12 months and then 6.9 after the 12 months. That certainly in indicative a credit improvement, not decline!

The good news for me is that both account are now closed with zero balances, so HSBC attempt to squeeze more money out of me resulted in their lose across the board. I will say that I do disagree with the original poster in the aspect of not paying a valid debit. From my point of view it makes absolutely no since to ruin your own credit in spite of a credit card company that really could care less. They will write off you debit and move on their next victim.
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#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

read your cardmember agreement

AUTHOR: Paul - (U.S.A.)

Every credit card company sends a disclosure with the original credit card, this lists all of the fees and how they can be charged. If you, like over 80% of consumers fail to read this disclosure you are agreeing to pay those fees. Have you heard of Buyer Beware? If the company sends the rules to their card before you start using the card and you chose not to read them shame on you. You entered into a legal contract with this company the first time you used the card. I don't agree with their practices that is why I don't work there anymore but YOU WERE given fair warning. And to not pay your bill is breach of contract in a court of law, and it is much harder to get negative items off your credit report then to pay your bill and avoid having them go on your credit report in the first place.
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#6 Consumer Suggestion

Orchard will call unless you send a written response to cease and desist

AUTHOR: Mike - (U.S.A.)

FYI Orchard will continue to call and and aggressively collect the debt until you change your phone number. Asking them verbally to stop calling WILL NOT get them to stop calling. You must make this demand in writing and by certified letter. Sometimes even that doesn't work. Texas is a "no judgment" state and they cannot collect, but in most other states they will consider it a write off after 90 days. If the debt is large and they think you are deliberately not paying for other than not having the funds, they will sue. Therefore, if they send you a settlement offer--usually after it has gone to collections--you may want to seriously consider it.
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#7 Consumer Suggestion

not a ripoff

AUTHOR: Bankworker - (U.S.A.)

This is not a ripoff. As its states in the cardholder agreement, if your account goes over the limit (fees/interest) then they will raise your limit to the default apr. I always leave enough of an available credit amount to cover any payment protection, or interest accumulation just in case a company decides to do that because it's all considered in your credit limit. They aren't specific regarding that on the agreement; that particular is something that you have to learn by trial and error.

As far as telling them not to call you; their solicitations/sales departments are required to stop calling if you tell them not to. If it's an attempt to collect a debt, however, they are well within their rights to do so. Either that or take you to court which they will win when they pull out that cardholder agreement.
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#8 Consumer Comment

APR Increase based on a point blank lie!

AUTHOR: Chris - (U.S.A.)

I too just received a notice that my Terms with HSBC would be changed due to a recent review of my credit. I was very concerned that something might have happened with my credit so I logged on to my credit monitoring service, True Credit and low and behold, HSBC has not made any inquiries since I established the account with them over a year ago. I've made every payment on time, and on most months I pay my balance in full and I'm being repaid with a 29.99% interest rate! Luckily I don't maintain much of a balance on this account, so I called them today and closed the account and will pay it off by the end of the month. I also hold another account, of which was not impacted by the APR increase, but I also closed that account and will pay it off at the end of the month. This company is a total bottom feeder who was trying to get more money out of me by laying that there was same change in my credit and hoping that I wouldn't read the notice. Well news flash HSBC. I did read the notice and closed all of my account because of it. I'll pay my balance in full and they will never get another dime out of me and I'll make sure to warn every person to come across to BEWARE!
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#9 Consumer Comment

Also a victim of increased rate

AUTHOR: Karen - (U.S.A.)

I too have had my rate increased by Orchard Bank-but be thankful yours was only 26%-mine was raised to 29.9%!
They claim it was a result of my credit report.
Why do they think I took their lousy card to begin with? I had credit problems stemming from 2 job losses and needed a credit card. My credit has not gotten any worse than when I first received the card-as a matter of fact, it should be better-and I have a good payment record with them.
If things are as you claim, it now means I am paying 29.9% interest on all of my previous purchases.
Also, did you ever notice that if you take a cash advance on your card, it NEVER goes away? No matter how many payments you make, the amount is always there-and usually charged a higher percentage rate.
Some of the things I read on this website that they have done to us is absolutely amazing!
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