HSBC Really, Really Doesn't Want Reader To Cancel Best Buy Credit Card

James applied for a Best Buy Mastercard from HSBC. The initial application was easy enough, but the three separate confusing calls from outsourced customer service reps, and the low limit and annual fee on the card he eventually received led him to cancel his account. This should have been a straightforward transaction, but company representatives tried to bully James into keeping the credit card.

I recently applied for a Best Buy Rewards Zone Mastercard from HSBC Bank USA. I applied on the website and at the end of the online approval process I was required to call a telephone number to confirm my identity. After I answered several question based on information from my credit report, I was approved. Over the next week, I received 2 more calls (with bad English ability, and without saying who they represented) asking me the exact same information using information from my credit report.

On the 3rd week I received the credit card in the mail. The information with the card explained the $59 annual fee. I was also approved for a $300 credit limit. I looked over the Cardholder Terms, and found that the $59 annual fee would not have to be paid if you closed the account within 90 days and did not use the account.

I called Customer Service the same day to close the account, but apparently during one of the 3 calls they made, they asked me for a Secret Identity Word. I did not know this word, so they tried the alternative verification method using my credit report information. It turns out they pulled my information through the credit agency so many times they were unable to do it a 4th time. I then spoke with a Supervisor who said that he would close the account, but that in order to reopen it in the future I will need to provide 3 forms of ID. After trying five times to convince me not to close the account, he finally closed it.

2 weeks later, on 10/15/2009, I get a bill in the mail from HSBC for $59.00 (with a min. payment of $15 due 11/3/2009). My account was supposed to be closed. I call and get stuck at the “identity word”, the customer service rep. can not access my account without the word. I then speak with a Supervisor and he is able to see my account and says that it is active and has a balance of $59.00 from the Annual fee. He also says that the account was not closed 2 weeks prior and his log only shows that I called to discuss my account.

This supervisor, Chris, says that he can credit the account for $59 and close the account. He credits the account for $59 after I am put on hold for 23 minutes (in what seems an attempt to kick me off). He then tells me that if he closes my account it will be reported on my credit report as a Fraudulent account. I tell him that I have been recording everything so that my friend and attorney general can know about it. He says that unless I stop immediately he will add back the $59 and will not be able to help me. I tell him that I have, and he goes ahead in closing the account but that it will still show up on my Credit Report as a Security Hold. The only way to stop that is sending in 3 forms of ID of which is HARD to get because I am a college student and my mailing, voting, etc. is all my school address. He tells me there is no one higher up to talk to and says goodbye. I end the call after an 1hr and 20 minutes.

After all of this I was treated rudely by customer service, threatened and lied to, and left very upset with HSBC. I know this type of customer service and attitude is not inherent in all Credit Card customer service as I have always had excellent conversations with Bank of America & Chase. Is there anything I should do to let HSBC Corporate know, or stop them from damaging my Credit Report?

It sounds as if regular customer service, even the supervisors, won’t be much help in this situation. It’s time to talk to the more powerful folks at HSBC’s executive customer service. Here’s the latest phone number we have for them. It may also be worth dropping a regular letter or e-mail to Best Buy to let them know how their credit card partner is treating loyal Best Buy customers.

(Photo: adotjdotsmith)