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  1. Yes, they look independent, but then so do Metropolitan until you check them out. You can get documents from Companies House - Companies House - just one pound per document for their web-service.
  2. Their plan is to confuse and intimidate ... Metropolitan is categorically 100% owned by HSBC. In practise they *are* HSBC in everything except name. I don't know about "Equidebt" you could check them out.
  3. Interesting, I didn't know that! Can you give any examples, just for the record? I guess you shouldn't post the actual email addresses, as that would result in them getting spammed, and even I still hate spammers more than I dislike HSBC/MCS liars, though perhaps they're at a broadly comparable level - after all, they both hassle you, try to get money from you and pretend to be something they're not. Likewise, any examples? Also news to me - more details please? I'm still wondering about just why HSBC have bothered to set up and maintain the MCS charade. There's probably an element of wanting to intimidate you (by making you think you've been passed to a DCA) but being able to operate outside of controls (Banking Standards, Financial Services) that would otherwise restrict them is perhaps the more significant factor.
  4. Thanks for the info. I took a look, but I don't think the it applies in this case as MCS are not "dormant". What they are is a paper company - no employees, no expenditure, no assets, no employees. It would be nice to be able to confirm that some law is being broken, but I don't think so (though Data Protection law is an angle we're still considering.) In general the set up is IMO highly unethical, but probably legal. I also wonder if the Inland Revenue might be interested ... HSBC are funding MCS's activities, providing them staff, office facilities etc, yet presumably writing off those expenses as their own (HSBC) running costs, thereby reducing their tax liability accordingly, without (arguably) those expenses being "wholly and necessarily" for HSBC's own business.
  5. Well, we now know it's not really so much "breathing down your neck", more like a gentle breeze from far off climes But actually you've made me think, I could do the call myself and launch into the routine without identifying myself. Perfectly reasonable - they will want me to tell them name, DOB etc but I don't know who *they* are. Just hope my Caller ID won't trigger them... hmm, but I used Skype, dunno how Caller ID shows up when making Skype calls, maybe shows my Skype id, so I could just create another one Maybe shows my IP address, not so easy to fix
  6. Indeed, thanks for the contribution spiceskull. Your input really adds weight to the theory that "MCS" telephone agents are in fact HSBC Philippines employees. I'm wondering about phoning them again to ask them that question directly, it would be nice to have it 100% confirmed (or indeed if they deny it that might even be more fun But, after my last conversation they might be on their guard (they sure as hell ought to be!) -- anybody else want to take it on? Something along the lines of: 1. Us: "Now that I've answered your security questions, I'd just like to establish *your* identity, ok?" 2. MCS: "um, uh huh, that would be fine Sir". 3. Us: "Great. Tell me, are you *personally* employed by HSBC Philippines?" 4. MCS: "um...errr... we're a global service, Sir" 5. Us: "Thanks, I understand that, but for security reasons I need to establish your identity, so asking which company employs you is a very reasonable request. So which company are you employed by? Is it HSBC Philippines?" (repeat as required, possibly get transferred to supervisor etc. and continue.) Probably should get their full name too. Any takers?
  7. Did you actually report them to the IC and if so what was the result?
  8. Just thought - that pretty much confirms that the Philippines crowd are actually HSBC Philippines employees, doesn't it? I mean, they're even using same 0800 phone number, now as "MCS" as they were a couple of years ago when there was no "MCS" pretence and they identified themselves as "HSBC Philippines". Maybe MCS were invented, in part, to avoid DP issues?
  9. Spiceskull makes a good point, thanks, so taking his advice: I'd like to confirm that of course that I would never consider actually doing the above myself! This type of thing is common knowledge, at least to anyone who knows anything at all about "phishing" - Phishing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - A worthwhile read to understand why you should be so careful with your personal details, obviously things like bank account information but also especially your email account and password. Anybody who gets access to your email could get access to your accounts on other systems by using "password reminder" features - from there they might obtain other personal data which could lead them on to other things, and so on. So, back to the point. That seems to be an angle. Castlebest believes (#2 in this same thread) that HSBC and MCS (UK) are already the same entity from a DP perspective, but obviously the crowd in the Philippines are another party. So, worthy of some thought and follow-up. What about my point in http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/show-post/post-1609853.html ? "Misleading information" ?
  10. Did you get a reply? I take it at that time there was no pretence of them being "MCS" ? This has really set me thinking. Suppose, hypothetically a criminal, "Mr. X" did the following:- 1. Set up one or more 0800 or 0500 numbers (VoIP lines, very easy). On one of them he sets up a recorded message "You were called by HSBC, no action is required on your part..." by taking a copy of the real (?!) HSBC message you get when you call 0800 7838422 (interestingly, that number hasn't changed since your dealings with them, same one that "MCS" apparently called me from.) On the second number he puts an answering message being a copy of the one you get when you call MCS on their 0500 number, and then have the call routed to him (in Russia, Nigeria or wherever!) 2. Set up a web-site, being an exact copy of the paymcs.com website, maybe http://www.mcspayments.com (domain available) but arranging for payments to come to his Russian/Nigerian bank account, and of course showing his 0500 telephone number in place of the real one. 3. Send out letters to a few thousand HSBC account holders. The letter would be an exact copy of the "real" MCS letter, other than showing his website and telephone number. Ok, he'd need to get their data from somewhere, but maybe from anyone who'd ever received a cheque from an HSBC customer and knew their name and address, or maybe by setting up some other [problem] to collect this data. 4. When people call his 0500 number, he asks them to confirm their security details, of course! Then he gives them a hard time about a bad debt. They would probably dispute it, so he gets to enter into a conversation with them, where he could say he needed to check details etc. With some clever questioning he could maybe get them to reveal their security code. Now, he can do two things, try and persuade them to visit the mcspayments.com website and make a payment, or much better, use the security details which he's now obtained to log-in to their HSBC online banking and transfer the balance of their account out to himself. Setting up all of the above would be easy, except for getting names addresses and account numbers to send letters to, but that would not be impossible (for a suitably resourceful criminal organisation.) Getting someone to reveal their security code probably wouldn't be too hard, especially if you managed to stress them out about a supposed "overdue debt" first. Now here's the real point - virtually zero difference in terms of what the customer sees, between the above [problem] scenario and the "real" scenario that I've just recently been put through by HSBC/MCS. I didn't get any official notification from HSBC authorising me to deal with MCS. Incidentally, the "real" MCS (well, the real HSBC people pretending to be MCS) do not check security code (not with me, anyway) only first line of address and DOB. Conclusion: Not sure really. However, since "MCS" are in reality "HSBC" and "MCS" do *not* check your security code but *do* have access to some of your account details etc, then maybe there's a security issue there?
  11. Sorry for so much replying to my own posts but just smiling - the above makes it really clear why the guy I spoke to wouldn't answer my question as to who he was employed by! (listen to the recording) - he was stuck between a rock and a hard place, having been trained to mislead you into thinking that MCS is independent from HSBC and that he was an MCS representative. My guess is he's actually an employee of HSBC Philippines - About HSBC Philippines - that would explain everything! If only I had his full name I could then call HSBC Philippines directly and ask for him by name ... hmmm ... maybe next time I'll get the full name...
  12. Just found another relevant bit: "During the financial year and the preceding financial year, the company ... incurred no expenditure ..." So, this makes it clear that all, not just some of MCS's needs must be provided by HSBC - if they used any other provider then they would have resulting expenditure. So as I already assumed above, the people you deal with who claim to be "MCS" must in reality be employed directly or indirectly by HSBC, as they cannot be employed by MCS (they have no employees) and not by some other party contracted by MCS (as MCS have no expenditure.)
  13. Approximate date? That might help and any other key words (apart from Philippines I've had a look but so far ended up with too many results to wade through. Also, it's occurred to me that as an alternative to the "data protection" angle, another angle might be "misleading information" - don't know what any relevant laws might be, but basically it seems to me that HSBC/MCS are deliberately spinning a yarn and trying to mislead customers into thinking there's no connection between HSBC and MCS when in reality there's one hell of a connection (did you see my update here: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/hsbc-bank/151559-truth-about-mcs-metropolitan.html#post1609732 ?) Any laws being broken, or is it just a matter of ethics (lack of)?
  14. Interesting idea. My HSBC credit card was originally a Midland Access card, but my bank account was taken out directly with HSBC, much more recently, so probably a rather difficult line to take up. As an aside, one of my gripes with HSBC is that because they've closed my bank account (probably related to their administrative error but yet to be confirmed) I can't pay-off my HSBC credit card this month, as I have no other UK current account to pay it from! I've already complained to them about this, and insisted that I will not be liable for "late payment" charges nor interest resulting from not clearing the balance. I've asked them for instructions on how to make payment to my card account without having a current account, I'm not in the UK so it has to be done via the net or international transfer. The payment limit is this Monday, I doubt if they're going to reply in time, so it will be interesting to see what they do about it. Any option they come up with which results in additional cost to me (e.g. international bank transfer) will result in me going after them for reimbursement of the additional costs.
  15. Can anybody confirm that a company providing "debt recovery services", i.e. not a bank as such nor other type of financial institution, would be completely unconstrained by Financial Services law? It's an assumption on my part, I haven't verified it. Anybody?
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