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Everything posted by netg

  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?
  16. I decided to do a little more investigation from Companies House records today about "Metropolitan Collection Services Ltd". Here are some interesting snippets: From their Annual Accounts, Dec 2006... "The ultimate parent undertaking (which is the ultimate controlling party) ... is HSBC Bank plc" So, this is the directors and auditors of MCS going on public record to say that, categorically, HSBC Bank plc controls MCS. Yet, both HSBC and MCS representatives will inform you (on the phone, at least) that MCS is independent. I'm not sure how the law would see that, but I see it as an outright lie, designed to mislead you into thinking something that HSBC would like you to believe. From my conversation with one MCS representative, it's clear that they are trained to feed you this misleading information, so it can hardly be an accident! "The directors made no charge for their services. The company has no employees and hence no staff costs." They have no employees! So clearly, the people that you speak to when you phone the MCS number (or when they phone you) are not MCS employees. Who are they? Who are they actually employed by? The directors of MCS don't get paid! Perhaps because in reality they are actually HSBC Bank employees, and salaried accordingly. Very probable, IMO. "The company provides debt recovery services, as an agent to other group undertakings and to external clients. The company makes no charge for these services." I seriously doubt that there any any "external clients" at all. Why would HSBC operate a company which provided services free of charge to external clients, except perhaps to help justify the legal validity of the whole charade? "The company has no employees. Services are provided by fellow HSBC Group companies" So, we already know they have no staff as such, but this goes further. Assuming that "services" in this context include people, then it's clear that those people who claim to be representatives of MCS must actually be employed by or contracted by HSBC Group (whether directly or indirectly). It also implies that the other services which would be required in order to operate at all (office space, IT services, telephone systems, administration, etc.) are provided by HSBC Group. Ok, so none of this is really new, just confirming what I suspected, and indeed other members of these forums suspected long before I did. This information in no way means that you should disregard communications from Metropolitan! But, you should realise that you are in reality dealing with HSBC who are deliberately trying to conceal their true identity. As for the reasons for this fairly complex charade, I suspect the main purpose is to allow HSBC to operate debt collection activities completely unconstrained by Financial Services control and relevant law. There are probably other reasons too. EDIT: As these Annual Accounts related to the situation at the end of 2006, it's possible (though in my opinion unlikely) that the above conclusions are no longer valid. However, a very recent recent document, their Annual Return May 2008, confirms that MCS are still 100% owned by HSBC.
  17. Good point. Maybe it depends on the location of the controlling company, not the employee? Thanks for the encouragement. I'm kind of running out of ideas for where to go next. I expect I'll think of something though. Maybe firing some direct questions at HSBC themselves?
  18. That would seem to make sense, there ought to be some geographical restrictions, and EEA would seem the obvious one. Not really sure where I'm going with this - the whole thing started because HSBC p****d me off so much by their actions (top of this thread). Not sure whether I'd actually take legal action, even if viable, it was more a matter of gathering evidence for making formal complaints to HSBC. Summary of the key facts: * Metropolitan Collection Services ("MCS") Ltd are a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Asset Finance (UK) Ltd, so their operational activities are ultimately controlled by HSBC. * MCS obtain personal data directly from HSBC. This data is then made available to operatives based in Manila, Philippines. * MCS Philippines personnel have access, whether on a limited basis or not, to HSBC's database and telephone systems. * It remains unclear whether MCS Philippines telephone agents are actually employed directly by MCS Ltd or by some other party. When asked directly who he was employed by, one such agent appeared to be unwilling or unable to answer the question. Any thoughts? Am I over-estimating the significance of this whole Philippines issue? And anyway, is it worth progressing, what might be achieved? EDIT: It's now becoming clear that those people in the Philippines claiming to be MCS are not MCS employees (MCS have no employees) and are more likely HSBC Philippines employees.
  19. Indeed. Possibly yet another reason why HSBC have created the whole "MCS" masquerade - it gives them a legal way of operating in the UK without being bound by Banking Standards, Data Protection or Financial Services laws. Pretty unethical behaviour IMO, but makes good business sense from HSBC's perspective. I've been trying to get some hard facts from reuptable sources about the Philippines in terms to what extent it's a high-risk zone for fraud etc. So far I've found this on a US government site - Philippines - where it says: "As in many of the major metropolitan areas in the United States, crime is a significant concern in Metro Manila. .... internet scams and credit card fraud are common." So, here's a part of the world to which HSBC have directly passed my personal data, without my permission and without informing me of the fact. Using that personal data Philippines-based operatives could potentially contact other institutions in the UK or elsewhere and masquerade as me, thereby possibly gaining access to further personal information. In other words, gradually build up a more complete identity theft, which could then be used for fraudulent activities in my name. Regardless of how high the real risk is, the point is that's it must now be significantly higher than it would have been were it not for the deliberate actions of HSBC. I can only hope that the operatives - those people working in Manila and claiming to be "MCS" - are trustworthy. HSBC/MCS have tried to mislead me into believing that those people were in fact "MCS Ltd" agents working in the UK (answering a UK 0500 phone number.) I wonder, what about my trying to insist to HSBC that they are ethically (if not legally) bound to inform their customers that (a) MCS is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC and (b) MCS provide customers' personal data to fourth party, neither HSBC nor MCS (who are they really?), located in the Philippines. Opinions? EDIT: It's beginning to look like the Philippines people are in fact HSBC employees (HSBC Philppines) and not an outside party after all - see later posts in this thread.
  20. I didn't know that! I had my own ideas about what the "B" and the "C" stood for though
  21. ...Just listening again to the bit where I asked him to confirm if he's actually employed by them and he says "um... so far...". Poor guy. Under the circumstances he was doing a really great job.
  22. MP3 of the second part of the conversation (edited) now available here: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=14851&stc=1&d=1260385972 This is the part where I give him a hard time about the identity of "MCS", their relationship with HSBC, and the issue of their access to "personal information" supplied by HSBC. Also he makes it clear that they're in the Philippines, which was news to me! If you're are being given a hard time by MCS agents on the phone, you might enjoy this to hear the tables turned. Well, maybe it's just a boring conversation, but I had great fun making it This is only half of the entire call, there's more in the unlikely event that anyone wants to hear it! The "beeps" represent parts that have been editied out. I've also blanked the sound every time he mentioned my name. Let me know your comments
  23. Thanks Pete, that figures. What about passing data to a third party based in the Philippines? (see my latest posting here: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/hsbc-bank/151559-truth-about-mcs-metropolitan.html ) ... though actually I'm wondering if those MCS people are actually HSBC Philippines employees, that would make more sense, "keeping it in the family". Still an outside organisation from a UK perspective I would imagine. What do you think?
  24. The full truth turns out to be even more convoluted! I've posted my findings today as a separate thread here: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/hsbc-bank/151559-truth-about-mcs-metropolitan.html#post1608084 I had great fun, to be honest they didn't squirm as much as I'd hoped, but there was definitely some squirming going on
  25. EDIT: Please note, the following information in no way means that you should disregard communications from Metropolitan! But, you should realise that in communication with "MCS" you are in reality dealing with HSBC themselves, masquerading as another company and so deliberately trying to mislead you and conceal their true identity. Read on... Today I phoned those people purporting to be "MCS" to grill them on issues such as their identity, security and data privacy. I have no less then 24 minutes of recorded conversation (thank you Skype etc.) which I will edit down to the relevant parts and post a link here to the recordings soon. What becomes clear from this conversation: * When you phone MCS (the 0500 number) your call is actually routed to an outsourced service located in the Philippines. Although the call is initially answered (automated message) with "Thank you for calling Metropolitan Collection Services Limited" you actually end up talking to a separate organisation, not even based in the UK. * Whether they're "MCS" employees or not is unclear, but it seems they're probably some third party, neither HSBC nor MCS. He said "it's a global service company" - MCS Ltd are a UK company with no overseas operations (according to public record) so this is an anomaly in any case. * Likewise when they call you, although the number which shows up as Caller ID is a HSBC (0800) number in the UK, in fact they're calling you from the Philippines. Misleading information? * Their operators are trained to insist that MCS is an entirely separate organisation from HSBC, although public record (Companies House Annual Return) confirms that MCS Ltd are in fact 100% owned by HSBC, and therefore fully under HSBC's control. That said, their operator didn't really seem too sure who he actually works for, or at least was not prepared to tell me, he just kept on insisting "we're an outside agency" etc. * The so-called MCS (Philippines) have access to a database of information provided by HSBC which includes some personal information, at the very least date of birth, first line of address and account and sort-code details. Given that the Philippines is hardly regarded as the most secure part of the world, it could be questioned as to whether HSBC are thereby putting their customers´personal information and security at risk. In summary, I feel I'm entirely justified in refusing to deal with these people. For sure they're not bound by UK law, Banking Standards etc, which alone is probably a good reason to refuse to talk to them. Since their identity is rather difficult to confirm, how can you be sure just who they are, who controls them etc, and should you be discussing your personal finance situation with such a fly-by-night organisation who won't even tell you they actually are? Will post links to the audio soon.
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