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