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ScarletPimpernel v HSBC


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Having spent a good deal of time reading on the CAG site I am about to begin the process of claiming charges back from HSBC.


I have hardly ever used my overdraft in the last six years, so do not think there will be anything worth claiming on my current account. However, the account I am most interested in, and would be grateful for advice on, is a FlexiLoan account that was opened whilst I was married (I am not any more), and which was defaulted in 2003. The debt was pursued in-house by MCS and DG Solicitors, and I ended up paying £30 per month - I still am, even though I tried to stop the standing order, but HSBC won't let me. Much of the debt was made up of penalty charges.


At the same time, I also had a HSBC Visa card; when the FlexiLoan account was defaulted HSBC cancelled this account and demanded full repayment, though subsequently they 'reinstated' it - i.e. I don't have a card but am paying the minimum payment each month. Again, there are charges I wish to recover on this, and again HSBC will not let me cancel payments.


I have already set up a parachute account.


My questions are:


- When I SAR HSBC, could they refuse to send details of the FlexiLoan account as it was a joint account?

- Should I make a separate claim in relation to the Visa card?

- I have substantive evidence that MCS breached OFT guidelines on a number of occasions - is this worth pursuing or using in my claim?


Thanks in advance.

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When you send an SAR, it is aking for ALL data thet have about you, no matter how many types of accounts you had. If you had 10 accounts & 10 cards with the same bank, they would have to send data for all of them. I'm pretty sure that as long as you were part of the partnership who held the account, then data is pertaining to you, therefore they must disclose it.


You can also get that default removed & have HSBC pay all costs & interest that you have been forced to pay for this "debt".

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have now sent my SAR.


I asked at a branch for all my account numbers, and asked them to stop the standing order to MCS because I had reason to believe that the debt consisted partly of penalty charges, and I therefore disputed it. They refused, and I have now written to MCS. Whilst there, I went through the details they hold to ensure that they are up to date.


However, a week after my visit, I received a letter from my branch of HSBC:


Dear Sir Percy


I have been unable to contact you by telephone. Please call me on xxxxxxx


They can't contact me by phone because I told them I don't want them to, and may have provided an incorrect number to ensure that my wishes are respected. Today the branch are unable to say why they wanted to speak to me, and think there must have been a 'mix-up'.


10 days after my visit, a letter arrived addressed to the Occupier, which says that HSBC thought I lived here, but now 'understand this to be incorrect. If you have can assist us with locating Sir Percy Blakeney, please phone us on xxxx' It is signed 'Credit Management' The address is a security address used by about 80 other members of the security forces, which means that the letter was opened by a junior member of staff and passed to a senior officer (as I am reasonably senior myself). All most embarrassing.


I phoned myself, and was informed that the letter was sent because HSBC's credit card department had tried to write to me but the letter was returned. They couldn't tell me when they wrote, what it was about, or the reason it was returned. I explained that since they unilaterally cancelled the card some years ago I was curious as to why they wanted to get in touch so urgently. The remaining balance has been paid regularly, with no missed or late payments. They couldn't answer.


I have now lodged a formal complaint, and await a call from HSBC to explain.


Curious how these coincidences occur, isn't it?

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  • 1 month later...



About 10 days ago, HSBC wrote to me again, saying that 'despite previous correspondence' I had failed to contact them in re the credit card, that the account was now overlimit, they had added charges and were demanding payment. I contacted them, and they admitted that there was no previous correspondence. When I asked how it was possible, when I have no card, and am simply paying off the balance, for me to go overlimit, they explained that they had decreased the credit limit to an amount several hundred pounds below the balance! I queried why this had been done, and was told that it was due to 'the misconduct of the account'; when asked how paying off the balance, never missing a payment or being late constituted misconduct, they just waffled about it being a computer decision.


I spoke to a manager, who claimed it was a mistake, and that the limit would be reinstated. I asked for confirmation in writing. When I received the letter, it said that the limit reduction would remain, but that 'after using the card responsibly for 6 months' I could ask them to reconsider! I phoned them and initiated yet another complaint; they then said that the limit reduction was based upon my asking for a small, temporary increase in my overdraft (I hadn't been overdrawn for 6 years, then suddenly seemed to have money disappearing - subsequently found to be due to identity theft and fraudulent use of a cloned card). We look at how much you owe the bank overall, and if your borrowing is near the limit we have to take extra borrowing from elsewhere - in other words, increase o/d by £100, credit limit reduced by £100. OK, I can understand that - but my total borrowing with HSBC is roughly equivalent to one month's salary, and the credit limit reduction was 6 times the amount of the o/d extension. Eventually HSBC agreed that the matter had not been dealt with well, said they would rescind the limit decrease, refund any charges and that was that.


Today I called HSBC to remind them that they only had 3 days to comply with my SAR. Apparently they have no record of receiving it, which is curious, because I have proof that they signed for it.


They have told me that they will investigate, and 'hope to acknowledge' within 5 working days. I have told them that if the data isn't en-route by Friday then I'm off to court to force disclosure. Curious how these things happen, isn't it.

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Just off the phone to HSBC, who failed to call me again. Calls to their 'Service Quality Centre' are now being answered by their head office, and the girl I spoke to tells me that it is taking their own staff up to 5 hours to contact the Leeds office 'because they're overwhelmed by the unlawful charges issue'.

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