Normally you’d hope a bank pays you in legal tender and not with a piece of green construction paper that the guy down the street pulled out of his laser printer after creating the document on Microsoft Paint. And yet when Tracy pulled out some cash to pay her rent at an HSBC branch, one of the Benjamins was counterfeit.
She had to fill out a federal form and jump through various other hoops to report the problem, had to face bitter, obstructive folks from the bank in the process and understandably has lost some confidence in the integrity of her branch.
I thought you might be a good person to tell about an issue I had a little over a week ago at HSBC in Manhattan. It took place at the Third Avenue branch at [redacted]. New York, NY [redacted].
On Thursday, June 3rd, I removed $1,200.00 in $100 bills as I usually do every month to pay my rent from a branch location. The next day, my roommate and I (it is her lease) went to deposit it at the Chase bank near our home in Howard Beach, NY, and the teller, with whom she is very friendly, informed her that one of the 12 bills was counterfeit! We were shocked! The money never left me….I put it right into the envelope the teller gave me, put it in my purse, took it home, and took it out at the Chase bank. Chase confiscated the bill and filled out the federal paperwork and said I needed to go back to HSBC to get my money back.
I was appalled and called the 800 number for HSBC immediately (there was no other way to get the number of the branch online, and I couldn’t go back to the branch because they were about to close and I was an hour away at this point). The woman at HSBC CR was very nice, apologetic and said she would help me by calling the branch. The branch said they were too busy and I needed to come in, but they took down all of the information, and if I went in on Monday, they would take care of it. I was assured this was set by the girl on the phone.
I went to the [redacted] branch Monday afternoon and asked to speak to a manager, which they did not do… The girl who helped me was NOT helpful! She wouldn’t even listen to what I was saying and refused to look up the information from the call I mentioned above on Friday, and she wouldn’t even take my name to look into it! I had the federal paperwork and the slip from the deposit I made at the same time as the withdrawal the Thursday before, and she wouldn’t look at it either! I asked for a manager and she refused. She treated me like a bum off the street and not the 10 year customer that I am with 3 accounts and lots of money going in and out over the years.
Meanwhile, I thought back to the interaction with the teller… I remember her grabbing a stack of 100’s, counting them, putting some back and grabbing one of maybe 3 or 4 on top of the slots (i thought it was odd, but really didn’t think anything of it at the time). She then went over to the machine to count it, and brought it back to me. I counted it again before putting it in the envelope, and 11 were going the same way, and one was not, but again, I didn’t think anything of it, put it in the envelope, and went about the rest of my evening…
Also, when I went to the bank and was forced to wait for 25 minutes for the girl to come back after I asked for a manager and she said “she would help me”… I kept trying to stare her down so she might help me faster as she was clearly in no rush and I was steaming mad. I heard her tell one of the people at the cubicles in the middle about my counterfeit bill and I believe the other girl’s response was “this is the 3rd one this month”… and seemed to blow it off.
The girl who “helped me” sat me down and was very condescending…. I was loud and demanding, so she took me to the conference room and wouldn’t look at anything as I stated before and her resolution was simply “Chase filed the paperwork, you will get a slip from the Federal government for your taxes if it is in fact found counterfeit, and if it is not, you will get the bill back.” I found that hard to believe…especially since my name was not attached to it yet. Chase said HSBC would do that, and she wouldn’t even look at it!
Gina spoke to Chase again, and they said that was totally incorrect and HSBC should not have treated me that way and that I should go back and ask for the District or Regional Manager. I have not had that opportunity yet as I have been away on business. I did call the 866 number soon after I left the bank last Monday to tell them what happened, and that girl was really nice and told me she would call the bank and get me a $100 refund and was so so sorry all this had happened and that they had the power to do that on the 866 end and override the banks and they didn’t want to lose my business. Unfortunately for me, the bank was closed when she called, but she gave me her name, made copious notes on my file, and said to call back tomorrow and try to get her again, and they would take care of it.
I called back from NJ, where I was for business all week, and that new person (the girl from the day before was not available), went around in circles with me and said she would call the branch, but the branch now said again that I had to go back in there. I kept asking the girl on the phone, “how do I know it will be different than the last time? What can you assure me will change? What will be done?” So now the only thing the 866 people are saying is “there’s nothing more we can do, it’s in the hands of the branch.” I don’t know if it’s worth getting my blood pressure up again if I go in.
What is going on?!?! How can a BANK give you a COUNTERFEIT bill! I am outraged and feel violated and plan to take all of my accounts elsewhere, but really wish there was a way to get to the bottom of this and get the $100 they stole from me returned! Holy horrible customer service, Batman! How can a bank do that, and then treat their 10 year customer like they are a bum off the street. I think something sketchy is going on at that branch, and it needs to be looked into!
If you’ve ever encountered counterfeit currency, share the circumstances in the comments.