HSBC Really Wants Your Cellphone Number To Alert You To Suspicious Activity (Oh, And Also To Make Collections Calls)

According to this post from yesterday, the folks at HSBC’s collections dept. have such a trigger finger on the redial button that they made a list of most-blocked phone numbers. And now we have a pretty good idea where HSBC is getting permission to call up customers’ cellphones.

Consumerist reader Greg says he’s noticed that HSBC has been making a big push to get cell numbers, urging credit card customers to “Update your Cell Phone number to be contacted about important information, like suspicious activity on your Account.”

But when Greg looked at the fine print on the next page, he noticed that it reads [emphasis ours], “By providing your number in the Cell Phone field, you are granting us permission to use the number via call, including auto dialers, or text message for Account Servicing including (but not limited to) customer service, suspicious transaction activity and collections.”

See, this little bit of fine print gets HSBC around the “written consent” requirement for the company to auto-dial you about, well… anything, really.

It’s worth mentioning that HSBC’s credit card business was bought by Capital One last year and that Cap One takes up two spots on that same most-blocked number list.

This is why we recommend using services like Skype or Google Voice that allow you to have a phone number that you only use for giving to companies that require a phone number.

And if you inadvertently opt in to robocalls on your cell phone, you should immediately look up how to opt out. The HSBC fine print says you can do so by calling the customer service number of the back of the credit card (and presumably sifting through three levels of customer service reps).