HSBC: Fee Sharks?

Reader Chandra wrote to us today about her short-but-tumultuous relationship with HSBC’s credit card division. In the span of two months Chandra applied for a card, made a $300 payment (mailed 8 days early) on a $700 balance, got hit with a $35 late fee and a $15 pay-by-phone charge, and cancelled her account. She claims to have good credit and is just baffled by HSBC’s inability to process a payment without assigning a penalty.

From her email: “…the second month I called, a week before my due date, to make my payment via phone, as the very rude ‘customer service’ rep. previously informed me I could do. She neglected to tell me however (nor is it stated on the billing information) is that they charge a $15 fee to allow us the privilege of paying them by phone.

In my 5th phone call to them in a month & a half trying to resolve all the crap and friggin’ make a payment, I asked, being new with them and all, would they please work with me and reverse the late fee and waive the phone fee — so I can make a payment and put an end to all the extra charges. They refused cold and completely shut me down.”

What’s going on, HSBC? We think posting a bill 8 days in advance is reasonable, and it seems a tad shady to sucker someone into paying a bill by phone by not disclosing the fee. Is HSBC to blame here, or should Chandra just suck it up and learn to pay her bill the day she gets it?

She’s asking for your advice in her email. Read it after the jump.

All within two months I applied for, made a $300 payment (on a $700 balance), and canceled my card with HSBC, because they have already charged me a $35 late fee because they received my payment (wh/ I mailed 8 days earlier to an area wh/ I know for a fact only takes 3 days max to receive) a day past the due date– which I’ve asked them several times to change to coincide with my income and they refuse to do.

To avoid this again, the second month I called, a week before my due date, to make my payment via phone, as the very rude ‘customer service’ rep. previously informed me I could do. She neglected to tell me however (nor is it stated on the billing information) is that they charge a $15 fee to allow us the privilege of paying them by phone.

In my 5th phone call to them in a month & a half trying to resolve all the crap and friggin’ make a payment, I asked, being new with them and all, would they please work with me and reverse the late fee and waive the phone fee — so I can make a payment and put an end to all the extra charges. They refused cold and completely shut me down. When I spoke with a supervisor, she also cared a less that I had w/i only 45 days been riddled with fees, canceled my account, and felt I was being herded into mounting debt, eventhough I was trying very diligently to make a payment.

Blantantly minipulating people into ‘no-win’ situations so they can bully & charge a litnity of fees is obviously how they make they money. Shame on HouseHold Bank. (PO Box 81622 Salinas, CA 93912-1622). I’m interested in how many others have had this experience with them.

I’m a very responsible person, w/ good credit, but I’m not going to keep sending them money while they continue this tactics. How do I exercise my rights- when they are so unwilling to behave in an ethical manner? And really, does the FTC really care? They’re pretty much in bed with the CC banks anyway, aren’t they?

Chandra

Comments

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  1. He says:

    Pay your credit cards online. Or get a bank (like PNC, who gave me soda and cake when I first walked in and reimburses atm fees) that lets you send payments to other people/companies and guarantees they’ll arrive on the scheduled date.

  2. AcidReign says:

    …..I got smacked with late fees twice by Chase after they merged with Chemical Bank years ago. I mailed my check in both times about a week before the due date. I, however, feel it’s my responsibility to get payment in on time, so I didn’t go crazy on them. I just backed my bill-paying date up a bit. Presto, no more late fees!

    …..Not very Consumerist of me, I guess. I pretty much pay bills these days as soon as they come in. Yeah, it’s costing me a few cents in interest that my checking account doesn’t earn, but the peace of mind is worth every penny.

  3. Drinker Nisti says:

    Pay it off. Cancel the card. I’m sure another bank out there will be happy to give you a card. Grace periods have been getting shorter and shorter– one really has to watch out when travelling for more than a week…

  4. Sam Glover says:

    Whatever you do, document everything. Record phone calls if legal in your state, and take careful notes. If this eventually ends up in litigation, those notes could help you defend yourself or even receive compensation if it is improperly reported to a credit reporting agency or a debt collector crosses the line into abuse.

  5. Wow. Today, I get to comment on places I used to work apparently. :)

    Household Bank (HSBC) Collectors get penelized for every late fee they take off. When I worked there about 3 or 4 years ago, they didn’t have the $15 fee, but they are tracked for every cent they let “slip through your fingers”.

    The thing is, a manager isn’t tracked. So if you get them on the phone and explain the situation, at least 4 years ago, they would reverse the fee with no problem.

    Unless of course you had more then 5 fees removed within a rolling 12 month period. Then you are most likely SOL.

  6. Kat says:

    Interesting. I pay my Chase Amazon Visa bill online, and I usually go ahead and pay it (manually, not auto-debit) 2 business days before it’s due. Sometimes I don’t get the “payment has posted” alert until a day or two after the payment was due, but they never charge me a late fee, since I do pay it on time.

  7. informer says:

    This does not surprise me at all coming from HSBC, as I’ve had the exact same thing happen to me.

    Some of you mentioned using the online bill pay option. I would recommend the same thing if HSBC’s online bill pay didn’t suck. It takes 2 business days for those electrons to move from your bank account to theirs (although for a nominal fee you can make a same day payment). Oh, and if the payment doesn’t clear, don’t expect them to let you know until after your payment deadline.

    Yes, ultimately it’s your responsibility to make sure you get your bills paid, but it’s just not worth it to put up with their bullshit when there are so many other, easier to deal with, companies willing to lend me money.

  8. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    I don’t get how they can penalize you for the payment ARRIVING late anyway; it’s not like you can control the mail / computer / whatever system! If I *pay* the bill before the due date and I get a fee, I complain my head off. If they wanted the payment by an earlier date, they should have moved up the day they wanted me to pay it by; simple. Making me pay extra because something outside my control prevented it from being processed by the “due date” is just plain robbery.

  9. dandmb50 says:

    On a credit card I always wondered how you can be charged an extra fee for going OVER your limit?

    If there is a $5000 limit on your card, and the merchant tries to get an authorization and you have charged $4999 already, why does the credit card company authorize it?

    They do it so they can charge you a FEE.
    An over the limit fee?
    But they allowed it to go over the limit?
    What a bunch of money grubbing hypocrits.

    If I have a limit and try to go over it, turn it the fuck off, instead of then charging me an extra FEE for going over the limit.

    Daniel……….Toronto

  10. osupoolfanatic says:

    HSBC flat out rips off the consumers with their fees. I wanted to start a class action suit against them, but they hide behind arbitration because they know what they are doing is wrong. I’m determined to prove they use fraud to deceive customers into paying extra money for payments to be applied on time.

    Let’s look at my case. I make my payments a day to 4 days before the due date. I get offered the chance to pay $12.95 for my payment to be applied the same day or risk being charged a late fee. Now please tell me why the bank needs extra money to know I paid my payment when the payment is being made directly through their website with a time stamp at the top, which clearly shows the payment was made on time. If they can tell I made the payment with an additional fee, they should be able to tell I made the payment without the fee.

    Now here’s where the fraud comes in…Two instances the payments were due on Sundays with the payment being made on Thursday. Both instances the payment posted the day after the due date because HSBC takes their sweet time to post payments. One of the payments incur a late fee, the other doesn’t. Face the facts HSBC! Your rush payment fee is a fraud. It means nothing! You are trying to force money out of people when they are already paying out the nose for your “service”. I have never received customer service from you worth anything. You charge people almost 30% interest and a $59 fee, plus you try to rob the customers of other funds as well.

    Does the Arbitration Coalition ring a bell? It should. And you, HSBC, are one of the biggest frauds in business. I will be closing my account in the very near future. If there is a way to put a stop to your unethical and immoral business practices, you can bet I will find great pleasure in seeing your end. You don’t deserve the customers you have. Hopefully your many customers will close their accounts and find a better bank. Given your service record, that should not be hard at all.

    If you are desperate for credit, go borrow money from your family. It’s not recommended, but it can never be worse than being a customer of HSBC.

  11. e23047 says:

    Paying HSBC online still costs $15

  12. Danber says:

    I recently applied for a HSBC credit card. The offer stated intro 0% for 12 months with no fee for balance transfers. Sounds good, right? Not so fast. HSBC just charged me cash advance fees of $180 for two balance transfers, even though their own disclosure mailed with the card specifically states that “there are no cash advance fees for balance transfers that post to your Account during the Introductory Period.” I am disputing this in writing. CONSUMERS BEWARE! Read ALL disclosures!

  13. Tony Orton says:

    HSBC credit cards are a rip off. I went to Sears to purchase a shirt. The sales clerk stated you can have this shirt for “FREE” if you apply for a Sears credit card. I should have known nothing is free. The sales clerk did not inform me that the HSBC credit card has an annual fee of $58.00. I closed the account and returned the merchandise as instructed customer service supervisory, and this company is still trying to charge the annual fee. I agree a class action lawsuit is the answer.