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.