Are they giving away their customers to rogues?

I had decided to cancel my credit card with HSBC.

It does not happen normally, but this time I forgot to make the credit card payment within due date. The very next day their collection folks called me up. They wanted to send somebody to collect cash or check. I am never comfortable with these collection people showing up at my door. And I make the payment online all the time. So, I told them I will make the payment online. I did that. It was a Friday. Usually this VISA money transfer thing is pretty fast, but for some reason, this time it took until Tuesday for the transfer to reflect on the card. And my – what a weekend it has been.

These collection people kept calling us non-stop w/o even once bothering to think that we might be busy with something else. Even on Sunday morning. We repeatedly told them that we have made the payment and it does not make sense to pay up again. But they just went on – “Your payment is not reflecting yet. This online thing you are talking about will take 2-3 days. I am sending one person to collect it.” Hell! Can you expect a payment to show up miraculously on a Sunday. When you know it will take 2-3 days to reflect, shouldn’t you wait for 2-3 days instead of harassing me like this. It did not stop until I finally shouted at one guy who called me up. And he was adamant telling me to mind my language. I had to tell him to mind his way of doing business. You can not harass someone like this and expect them to talk to you sweetly.

By Monday my online statement was showing a late payment fee. That is fair. If I am making a late payment, they should charge the late fee and whatever the prescribed rate of interest is. What it does not entitle them to do is harass and insult me like this. At the least, they should have checked the rather long payment history! Just last month, they had even reversed the annual fee they charge, “on the basis of my usage history”.On Monday I again got a call. By then I had also noticed that these collection folks were continuously quoting an amount that was higher than what was due. They were quoting the total outstanding amount (including the currently unbilled ones, which will show up in the next statement). Heights of manipulation. This time I did not let her complete her script. I told her to first get her facts checked about the amount due and that there was no way she was going to get me to pay up again and she can do whatever she wants and kept the phone down.

I was just waiting for that payment to reflect to call up HSBC and ask them to cancel the card. But I mellowed down when I saw that they payment shows the transaction date as my original date of transfer and they have even reverted the late payment charge. I wasn’t expecting them to revert the charge. Because actual transaction date was a day later than the due date. This is definitely a very good gesture. On one hand they go to this extent for the customer. On the other hand, there are collection folks who would harass honest customers. I didn’t have a history of default. I wasn’t refusing to pay up. In fact, I had already made the payment. And yet they made me feel like a criminal.

Wouldn’t the bank want to be a little careful before passing on the information to these collection agencies. As far as I know they are not HSBC employees. So, they don’t care about the customer. They probably just earn their livelihood out of the commissions earned on collections. Harassment for them is not the last resort. It is what they do. It is what the sell. Right now, I just don’t feel like calling up their customer care and recount this frustrating episode as the reason to cancel the card. So, I would probably just avoid using this card. They have lost a good customer anyway!

On the second thoughts, I should probably at least shoot an e-mail to HSBC complaining about the behaviour of their collection department.

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About Jaya

Jaya Jha is an entrepreneur, a techie, a writer and a poet. She was born and brought up in various towns of Bihar and Jharkhand. A graduate of IIT Kanpur and IIM Lucknow, she realized early on that the corporate world was not her cup of tea. In 2008, she started, one of the first print-on-demand publishing platform in India. She currently lives in Bangalore and divides her time between writing and working on her company's latest product InstaScribe ( with a vision to make it the best e-book creation tool. Blog: Twitter: @jayajha Facebook:

12 thoughts on “Are they giving away their customers to rogues?

  1. It’s strange that it happened esp when you have good credit history.

    On the other side, I’ve pleasant experience with citi bank, whose card i’m holding from 2001 (got the card while at iitk). I missed due date once in a while, and all those times they waived me charges/fees as soon as I requested them.

  2. An angry customer can damage a business very much. So never misbehave with any customer. I had a bad experience with idea cellular. And i was very angry and wanted to tell about it to all my blog readers and others, but before that they rectify their mistake and i changed my mind.

  3. HSBC is the worst bank in the history of mankind. I have had similar experience sans the reverting of late charge. Please cancel the card, cut it into pieces and burn it.

  4. “On the second thoughts, I should probably at least shoot an e-mail to HSBC complaining about the behaviour of their collection department.”

    yep. u shud. Well, How about complaining to HSBC Banking ombudsman? do you know that one like that exists and s/he is supposed to see to it that your complaints are redressed.

  5. I’d recommend going through the official card cancellation route. Their ‘retention department’ will get into the picture, and apart from trying to not make you leave, they’re also charged with figuring out and reporting why customers are leaving. Found that out when I wanted to cancel my reliance phone connection.

  6. HSBC is the worst in terms of credit card but they are not the only one’s with problems. Citibank suddenly freezes my card if I make “unusually” high value transaction while ICICI doesn’t even wish to update the phone numbers in case it goes from one customer to another and keeps making stupid calls for recovery when I’m not even the intended recepient!!

  7. I think this is a classic example of a wonderful bank being maligned by the actions of a few incompetent employees – thats India for you. We don’t respect the work that we do and so we do it badly.

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