Banking with HSBC in the Sultanate

It's amazing how little things in life really can get under your skin. Having lived here in the Sultanate for nearly 4 years, I've learned a lot about lowering my expectations about things. I've even found new levels of non-expectation of things to do with life here.

For example: I know full well that if I take something to a tailor and he says "2 days" I will go back on the 3rd day to remind him, and then I'll get it a day or two after that, making 2 days, actually 4 or 5 days. It's not great, I hate it immensely, but I know when to expect things and thus how much time to plan for certain things.

Ever bought some furniture? Delivery in 3 days.... perhaps a week you'll get your stuff delivered, hopefully without it being damaged.We all have lots of stories about delays for things here, its just part of life and you have to adapt or you will end up having a fit like I did this morning!

And now I shall tell you all my experience with HSBC here in Oman.I don't know what single word I'd use to sum it up, perhaps you can make a suggestion below?! I might use 'shocking' or possibly 'diabolical'. But I just feel that I need to find a word stronger than that to express my extreme amazement disappointment of doing my banking with them. I should tell you all that I have a HSBC account in another country, and after all, they are the worlds local bank. Unless you want to bank with them in Oman.

A snap from the board room at HSBC in Oman

Like many expatriate workers here, when I arrived I needed to get a loan - to pay for the rent 6 months up front (I was lucky to negotiate that!). A quick trip down to HSBC in Qurum was in order to get the loan sorted out, I had my employers salary letter and my resident card, and had been told I just needed to sign up for a personal loan. I remember filling out the forms and handing them back to the person dealing with me and sitting there while they typed things into their computer. Finally I was told ok, we'll call you.

A week or so later I received a call asking me to come to the bank to discuss my loans emphasis on the plural there. I am told that HSBC will not be giving me a loan because I have bad credit in Oman - to which I replied how could I possibly have bad credit, I'd only just gotten there, surely I just had no credit? Then, the first of a number of things that have happened to me in HSBC here over the years that has just taken my breath away happened:

The HSBC person states, "Well your wife still owes us RO 5,500 from a loan she took last year, and she has not been paying it back".

Excuse me? My wife was here a year ago? Really? I'm fairly sure she wasn't. But oh no, the all-knowing bank person says your name is "John Doe" yes? (clearly I've edited that, but emphasis on the last name here) -I replied that, yes, that was my name, they did have a copy of my passport and resident card. Then the bank person rather proudly shows me someone called "Jane Doe" in their computer who had a bad debt with them. "See - Doe - she is your wife, you can't have a loan until this one is paid". Being rather shocked that I had apparently been issued not only with a bank account but also a mystery wife by HSBC, it took me a few seconds to process this information. I mean, what would you think when presented with this shocking news?

After gathering my thoughts for a few seconds, I enquired why they had decided that this person was my wife. The answer, in it's simplistic method was that they had never seen my family name before except once, and decided that I must therefore be married to this other person who happened to have the same last name as me. I eventually persuaded them that no, this mystery woman was not my wife, and that my wife was the woman sitting next to me there in the bank (thankfully with her passport). Eventually, after weeks - I think it was about 6 weeks in the end, I got the loan and paid my land lord. I asked them at the time if this would ever happen again, and was assured that steps had been taken to ensure this would not happen in the future.

About half a year later, I needed to get a small car loan so I could buy a second car - I didnt want to continue renting a vehicle for my wife to drive around in, and so decided to buy a small shopping trolley for her, but I needed a loan to pay for it. Back to HSBC. 8 weeks later, after having to go through the exact same nonsense as before, I eventually got the loan. This time my wife and I specifically asked the branch manager to write a note into my bank account that I had absolutely no link with this nefarious Jane Doe that evidentially skipped town and never paid off her loan. We were told "No - it is not necessary". Excuse me but I think it is, but I swore never to take a loan from them again, and I haven't.

After a particularly enthusiastic evening out with some friends, I managed to lose my wallet, and so needed to get a new ATM and credit cards from HSBC. Again I found myself down at the Qurum branch waiting to speak to a bank person. I explained that I had lost my wallet and that I needed to request new cards, it was a fairly simple process, showing my ID and signing a few bits of paper. "No problem" I was told. DHL would deliver my credit cards, but I would have to come in person to HSBC to collect my ATM card.

A week later I get a call from DHL saying, "we have your cards, where do you work so we can deliver them to you"? I told them that I worked in building number xxxx, on way number xxxx in XXXXXX (being the district/village where I worked - eg Qurum). Apparently that was not good enough for DHL, I needed to give them better instructions. What? Pizza hut can find me, why cant DHL - isn't it their business to deliver things?!

But, I digress.

And so after playing "Can you see me now" for half an hour with a DHL driver, I got my hands on my credit cards. I figured, HSBC being the bastion of customer service that it is, that my ATM card must also be ready but they just hadnt found time to call me to come and pick it up yet. Once again, I'm down at the Qurum branch asking to speak to someone about my ATM card. "Oh but you picked it up yesterday" I'm told. Really? Then why am I here now then? I said that I most certainly did not pick it up the day before because I had better things to do with my time than to be standing in that bank looking for my ATM card. As it happened, my ATM card and PIN had been given to a man called Ahmed xxxxx (no where even remotely close to my name). As the incredible truth dawned on me and the bank person, I was promised a new card later that day, and I got it.

Are you still reading? Because there is more!

Recently, I cracked one of my credit cards and needed to get it replaced. At the end of March I went into the new MQ HSBC branch and explained the situation and that I'd like to have a new card issued to replace my damaged one. I specifically requested that the card be delivered to the branch so that I did not have to deal with DHL. No problem sir, it will be here in a few days. I also wanted to order a card for my wife, in her name, but decided that making two things at once with these chimps people would probably cause a meltdown.

After 5 weeks I went back and asked about where the credit card was - I'd been travelling a lot for the last 3 weeks and so had let things slide before enquiring - I never did get a phone call from them. At this point, my wife had been asking for a credit card in her name for quite some time, and so we decided to fill in an application for her credit card, again we specifically chose to have the card delivered to the MQ branch. 3 days later I get a call from a lady at DHL - We have your card - where shall we deliver it to? I told them to take it to the MQ branch, just like how the instructions were on the application.

Today, my wife went to the bank to ask about her card - knowing that she'll have to get me to leave work and meet her there to get the card if it was there. The card was there (in her name but on my account) and she was just issued the card, that was active, with no ID checking at all from the staff in MQ. She enquired again about where my card was, and handed my account number over so they could check. The mystery replacement card is active but no one can find it, and the latest line from the lovely people at HSBC is that I now did not even apply for a replacement card!

I'm now at a loss as to what to do! Have you had a bad banking experience? Care to share?

I nearly forgot - I'm still waiting for my Al Fair vouchers that I traded in my Credit Card points for in DECEMBER last year. Ugh!

More soon!

le fin.
Banking with HSBC in the Sultanate Banking with HSBC in the Sultanate Reviewed by Sythe on Sunday, May 22, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. And all this after they haven't given you that lucky draw gift they were supposed to. just one question, why do you continue banking with them?

  2. Oh I really feel your pain, hence why I so hate working with banks here. It's just a whole nuisance altogether

  3. It took me five months, 12 trips to the branch, and three replacement pin numbers to get an ATM card in my name!!!!!

  4. yes many HSBC and many DHL.

    but the highlights.

    - RO 5 for a replacement credit card because the strip had worn out. Their fault for issuing poor quality cards - but i had to pay...

    - Applied for a small loan told it would take 1 week inshallah (yep inshallah we all know what that means) and 2 months later I get the loan.

    - first card issued, didnt arrive? no phone call from DHL? I phone HSBC "its been with DHL for 2 weeks"? phone DHL "yes we tried to call you" - when? - "dont know" an appology for your fuck up is better than a lie for future reference...

  5. Don't even get me started on HSBC.... if it weren't for the fact that they are the only people we could get a mortgage with (my other half being overseas), I'd still be with BankMuscat.

    Oh - and don't insult chimps, they are far more intelligent than..............

  6. Bear in mind that HSBC in Oman is no relation to HSBC in the rest of the world when it comes to consumer banking. That is why they are good to get a loan from-if you skip out of town they can't chase you! Only kidding- don't do it kids.
    I had the opposite in HSBC in Hong Kong- they would call you up after two days to tell you your card was ready and if you didn't come to the branch in the time you said they would call you and badger you!
    I still think Bank Muscat's strapline should be 'Best of a bad bunch' but they aren't too bad really, just on the front line when you go into a branch.

  7. My husband is a very gentle man long used to ME ways, but he was driven to a temper loss by his RBS branch in Dubai and raised his voice somewhat while questioning the mental balance of the clerk concerned. He was in the right- one of those mind-numbing bits of lazy, face-saving stupidity, very similar to your own. Now however, whenever he goes into the bank a security guard is detailed to stand beside him the whole time. He, a 65 year old ME veteran, GM of a large company, but is obviously considered potentially violent. He might frighten them but they still seem willing to take a chance on his money.
    At the risk of adding to your already ingrained and I sometimes think, unreasonable, prejudice against the UAE, I could tell you stories about the banks here and the way they behave toward their customers that would make your own experience seem unimportant. The banks in Oman merely suffer from Omanis- bless them. (We've lived there on & off since 1972, love it deeply and know that the people are often chaotic and lazy but almost always harmless.) Don't ever take a bank loan in the UAE however, because it could so easily be the end of your entire financial solvency, and the beginning of a prison term. I know of at least two banks where every loan is underwritten by insurance that pays out when the defaulter is sent to prison. Should problems with repayments occur the bank is seldom interested in helping the debtor, but will often further obstruct by doing things like insisting that the debt be paid in full in cash within hours or at a branch in another Emirate.
    Best advice- live your life in cash as much as possible, keep your savings off shore and stay out of the bank!

  8. I have an advanced account with HSBC in the UK, which has served me very well. I was really pleased when I found I could get one here too, benefits including: basic life, travel and home contents insurance policies for RO 5 a month (or so I thought from the leaflet ). Turns out you only get home contents insurance (the benefit I was most interested in) if you sign up for it as an additional paid service! I pointed out to them that they could have just as truthfully advertised benefits including a brand new car (you just have to buy it!), but to deaf ears.

    Not only this, but while they have systems in place to take my monthly RO5 service charge (of course!), there were no systems in place to provide me with the other included insurance policies. I had to spend literally hours in their branch and on the phone chasing them up.

    To add insult to injury, 4 months after opening the account, they still haven't provided me with a debit card. First they told me it would take a month, then every subsequent month it gets pushed back another month! They told me there was a delay on advanced debit cards worldwide, but quickly changed their tune when I pulled my UK Advanced Debit card out my wallet!

  9. Fool me once...

  10. The sad thing is, I wasn't even surprised at the level of "service" you got - my expectations of HSBC are already at rock bottom!

    I had an unknown charge of 40RO on my credit card on exactly the same day / same store at which I had purchased something else, so I queried the charge with HSBC. After numerous phone calls & emails, they finally told me 6 months later that I'd need to go to the store in question to get a copy of the said docket! Yeah, right, like that's going to be really easy!

  11. Banks are inherently evil, the bigger the bank, the eviler they are.

    Some entrepreneurs are taking advantage of this and starting new businesses. Check this one:

  12. Well who else are we (expats) supposed to bank with if we need a credit card or a loan? As far as I'm aware, Bank Muscat never gave out loans to expats and have now stopped issuing credit cards too.

  13. I am so with you - we have recently had a very frustrations situation with HSBC - I can't bothered to go into details - suffice it to say - they were rubbish and I go in there as little as possible. Do you think these people have ever heard of Customer Service - I think not, in fact I think they must regularly go on courses to ensure that they are as obstructive as humanly possible - I dislike them enormously - so much so that we aren't even bothering to ask them for a car loan and going through a private company instead. We'll see what happens with them !

  14. Have you ever tried availing any service from the Oman Air counter at the Seeb airport? It usually takes them 2 hours to service just 4 customers.....all the customers either runaway and deal with the agents instead of Oman air directly or grill their brains to get the service done.....

  15. Haha...I think everyone has a dozen of these tales, Omani or foreign, from any large organisation in Oman. So that's the banks...anyone want to start on telecomms?!

  16. my sincerest sympathies to all woooooooing with me :) bet u'll not repent!

  17. My ATM card expired and didn't get the renewed one automatically as I did back home...Hence I got a jolt when it didn't work at a shopping mall once. A visit to the bank and I was advised to agree for RO 5 as renewal which I refused and gave them an option of retaining me or I could switch banking to another bank or close the present account and open a new one with the same bank.The young manager was trapped.and he promptly obliged by overwriting the RO 5 emphasising that I had been obliged......Bank with the smallest bank and don't keep ur money sleeping in here. U never know a bank may close without any hint...During the recent sohar unrest.....the ATMs as well as Banks were closed for several days without and rhyme or reason.God help us

  18. HSBC gold visa card - no chip ? What a waste of plastic, I was unable to use it in ATM/Eftpos/ shop machines in UK or USA as it had no chip. I even went into a HSBC branch in UK and they laughed at me for having a card with no chip and a 6 digit pin. They questioned it's validity ! In USA - despite being assured by HSBC before I went traveling that I could use this card in both countries no problem... again the lack of chip meant it was useless unless I was at a place where they would write the entire card number down. Obviously I asked about the lack of security technology which seems to be standard elsewhere in the world.. and was told there are no plans to provide chipped cards in Oman. Luckily on my travels I had other options which I had to use - but I cannot see any link between the real HSBC and the outlets in Oman with that name.

  19. How about the mandatory life insurance that you have to pay for in order to insure their money if you die? We also had issues with DHL, card issuance, and even the car loan. We had to go back to the branch at least 5 times to get the whole process through and that was with 'premier' banking and Toyota helping the entire way. When we signed up for accounts we got no information packet, we are asked for phone banking pins when calling, but don't have a clue where we get them and when asked we are told it is in the mail. When my PIN got locked in UK, the UK branch couldn't help at all except to call the Oman phone numbe on their phone for me. Once they reset the PIN and told me to pick up my new PIN at the local branch. I told them i was in UK and they said 'sorry'. Then i found out when i returned that the PIN was the same and I could have just used the card. By the way...did they just make up the word "enchashment"? I have never seen it before coming to HSBC.

  20. I'm suffering from banks....and eeeeeeeeeeee i'm so angry and can't write anything for now...One point to be noticed that after all they don't even say sorry O_o

    bank muscat is the worst... if one day i decide to write my story and what i've been through with banks, i will write a book i guess

  21. I am also waiting for my 30 RO Al fair vouchers..if my memory is serving me right..

  22. I join the crowd...still waiting for my 40 RO Al Fair vouchers. I recall requesting them around November 2010! Should we start a class action?

    Just changed bank and HSBC makes leaving them even worse than banking with them. I lost count of the times I had to visit various branches + head office but I made it! Let's see what the new bank is like.

  23. Enjoyed reading your comments about HSBC

    I would love to post a comment today...

    Last morning 22/05 I had to go to HSBC Qurm Branch to make a draft for my boss whose is a premier card holder and has her account with them.After giving details to the operations Manager and being told to wait 1/2 hr.. he comes back saying our printer systems are down and we are trying to get it working to make the draft please wait for a while longer so agreed to do so. Meanwhile another lady staffer walked past me and asked waiting for something I said yeah a draft to be made.. but she quipped our printers have been down a week now??!!!! I responded sayiong Oh but your ops manager is woking on it. she smiled ever so sweetly and said oh it has been down last one week and nothing has been done, Bggled I approached the branch manager this time only to be told please wait we are working on the printers.. calling our IT help desk etc etc... another hour goes by and nothing happens, Meanwhile she's strutting up and down the ground floor behind the cash counter where the printers etc etc are.. talking to her staff and giggling.. I am sitting in her office and watching all this from the window.. Then another hour goes by and no sign of my draft... she pops in a while later and says sorry ma'am but our bank has outsourced their IT sytems to some company in India so we have to wait at least a day before we know what's happening.. Unfortunately this draft cannot be made at any other branch.. but Qurum Branch.. as account holder is premier account holder whose account is with them there... plus for various other reasons.
    In the end frustrated I left saying I personally would never open an account with HSBC EVER.. I wasted around 2 1/2 hrs of my office time.. which I would have to put in later once I got back to the office... without the draft... I personally would never bank with them. Maybe the new laws on omnisation is eating away at what's left of HSBC.. sad state of affairs.

  24. Simple fact.

    Omanisation is a complete joke.

    Just look at the cock-up they made of Blue City

    Anything which is overly complicated cannot be handled by staff who are truly inept.

    4 years here? This is my 3rd and I'm off.

  25. I've had both good experiences and painfully bad experiences with HSBC. I wont write an essay explaining how awful some of my interactions have been, other than to say that I have had literally days of my life wasted with them going round and round in circles collecting various documents that they have requested only to get back to the bank to be told they didn't need that form anyway.

    I think HSBC are getting singled out here because they are an international organisation whereas the other banks in Oman are local companies (yes, I know HSBC here is not really HSBC, but you know what I mean).

    Our expectations are therefore higher, because we assume that they can operate at the same level as they do in other parts of the world.

    However, the biggest difference between HSBC in Oman compared to other countries where they operate is something called Omanisation. Banks have to employ a minimum of 95% Omanis, and therein lies the problem. How can any organisation expect to deliver anything close to an acceptable level of customer service when such a high proportion of staff have the kind of attitude towards work that is so typical of the average Omani.

    Having said all that, to the handful of great staff at HSBC who I have had the pleasure of dealing with over the years (all of whom are Omani), thank you!

  26. of monkeys ..are they suppose to represent the primate known as Omani. You wouldn't be a RACIST would you ?? I mean a couple of days ago you accused the Rock Bottom Bar of being racist because they were being selective about their club cliental ..just like every other decent bar does. Selecting the balance of their clients.

    But HSBC employees who are only Omani ..monkeys. Wow ..that is a low blow.

    I know things are a mess in Oman due to Omanization. I think you missed the real issue. It isn't planet of the apes in Muscat, it is the rapid growth of Omanization destroying the efficient function and professionalism within the Sultanate.

    Try having that discussion with an Omani. Good luck. They say, well we are a developing nation and we will make lots of mistakes. At least that was my banks official response when they used to just shrugged off their constant grievous errors, and made me miss work and wait for hours on end while they were unconcerned and 'innocent' because they are Omani and just 'developing'. But I would never have called them monkeys.

    Shame shame shame.

  27. To the Anon commenter above:

    No it was not a racist stance, it was poking fun at the situation, perhaps you need to stop looking for insults that are just not there. I wanted to come up with some sort of amusing picture, and I can't use HSBC's logo's or I'll attract their lawyers. I did find a rather suiting modified version of their logo that said "The worlds local parasite" but I thought the chimps (actually from a very popular British PG Tips advert series) would be more amusing.

    Those that know me know what I'm like, and I'm certainly not a racist.

    To everyone else - thanks for sharing your thoughts - it made me feel better knowing I wasn't the only one going through it with them.

  28. Sorry to be a spoil-sport but I, an expatriate, have banked with HSBC (and it's predecessor BBME) for over 20 years! In all this time I have never had any reason to complain about the personal attention, quick service and efficiency from the Omani staff I have come across. It may be because I have a Premier account and never took out or applied for a loan so I did not have to deal with those issues.
    They even helped open HSBC accounts in UK and my home country!
    I can only say "Well done HSBC and its Omani staff"!

  29. I have to say to people posting about their so called bad banking experience with HSBC, let me ask you have you banked with Bank Sohar or NBO ? I and many of my friends have had excellent service with HSBC.

    The person who posted a long note about his problems, I think this person has too much free time and should find something better to do than insulting people and posting a photo of monkeys insulting Staff.... This shows what kind of manners he/she has and I personally feel sorry for people who have such negative attitude and wonder what kind of day to day life they go thru!

    Trushing others does not make things better for your or anyone else for that matter..

    HSBC - Thank you we have received acceptable service for the last 5 years in Oman

  30. It's only fair that some people have received good service, they are, after all, still in business.

    Those that say they've had good service with HSBC here in Oman are very lucky people, and few and far between.

    As for too much time on my hands.... this is my blog. aka my hobby, to write about stuff.

    Perhaps the next time you sit down and watch TV or go to a coffee shop or whatever it is you do, you could do something more productive with your time. The numbers don't lie - most of the people that read my mutterings are in agreement - HSBC are crap here.

  31. Prety sad some would go to this length to criticise omanisation!! All I can say is the money you are earning is from Oman and if you don't like they way Omanis work you can simply go back to where you came from.

  32. Shame on you referring people as monkeys I just wonder what kind of creature are you

  33. You are not the only one waiting for the Al Fair vouchers, I also traded in my Credit Card points for in same month of December last year... Many calls and emails... Nothing yet...

  34. What is it with all these comments about monkeys, and racist insults?

    The picture is funny, and it's captioned "from the board room at HSBC Oman"

    A board of 9, of which 3 are potentially Arab, the rest being traditional "Western" names.

    Why is it that people just can not take any criticism here? "Oh you don't like getting treated like shit by our bank? You should just go home then" comments are by deluded idiots - How on earth do you expect things to get better here if that is your attitude to conducting Business here? This article was funny and reiterated what many people have long said - that there is a serious problem with customer service at HSBC here. As I'm sure there is with all of the banks here.

    Oman's petro dollars will run out eventually, and then what is Oman going to do when it actually has to compete in the International Business marketplace?

    Tell people to go home? Wake up and get a clue!

  35. Bla bla bla - get a life

  36. feel your plight... I dont think that HSBC would like me to actually spill my gutts... I shall stay silent for another week before i act :-)....

  37. ummm you know...i know what the expat community says about all the various races, and mostly it is not nice. But this took it to a new level. Omanis are dark skinned, and yes, I have heard, and I know you have heard many people call them 'monkeys' behind their backs. This article is full of racial hatred. You may not be ready to admit it. So odd, that you called the staff at Rock Bottom racist. And I have seen EVERY race in that club. We all have some level of fear or racism in us. But to show people as monkeys, esp. in the country you are guest in, is not okay. Go back to the West and try posting an article about black people or dark skinned people with a photo of monkeys. True it's your blog, but you put it OUT there and you suggest that you offer the expat community a form of information, on local events, scandals etc.... So be prepared to be critiqued yourself. Your blog sucks, and I was bored so I flipped to it. But don't tell me what to do when I bored... i like to see what crap you post so I can critique it, as is deserved.

  38. To all the commenters:

    Thanks for taking the time to read my rant about HSBC.

    For all those who chose to post an Anonymous, I say to you firstly that if you select Name/URL when choosing to Comment, you can give yourself a fictional name, something to identify yourselves by.

    And for all of those getting themselves worked up over the chimp picture - You are just simply 'not getting it'.

    It's a funny picture, intended to amuse people. The fact that Omani's are dark skinned has absolutely no link at all to my decision to use a picture of some chimps from a very well known, and successful advertising campaign for PG Tips teabags. As an anonymous comment made above noted - it does say from the board room, and the board of HSBC are at BEST 33% Arab (and thus possibly dark skinned).

    I do, however, enjoy some good old fashioned hate mail and comments - so if you do feel so inclined to be outraged, feel free to continue to share your outrage with the rest of us.

    Thanks for reading!

  39. One year on and no debit card, am doing the pay by cash on everything situation. Perhaps next year they'll get me a debit card. Maybe. Actually I'm not even going to say maybe, they have even stopped talking to me about it in terms of months and now say it's not going to happen.

    Incidentally I am now on my third customer account manager. The first two were stopped from dealing with me due to their outrageous flirting and harrassment (apparently going in as a single lady doesn't make for easy non flirting banking). The third one was 'transferred back to head office to be kept an eye on' after he had some issue with the sohar problems... I didn't ask any further.

    So, now I have no customer account manager, no debit card and the money I tried to transfer home for summer bounced back as the previous customer account manager managed to input it correctly, so it went round the world and cost me nearly £20 for the trouble. Thanks for that!

    Great service, really, two thumbs up.

  40. Anonymous commenter at 11:15am - please drop me an email to my gmail address... mrsythe *at* gmail *dot* com

  41. I have no comment about the advisability of the choice of monkeys as humorous illustration for the debacle that is HSBC in Oman (but rather feel that this is trying to detract from the somewhat more pertinent issue of appalling service where no racist intent was intended). We have never required any loan from them, merely depositing fairly large sums of money with them each month. We gave up on trying to get credit cards, seperate accounts or trying to sort out anything at all whatsoever and have relied on withdrawal of cash for everything. They are utterly hopeless here but we have good experience elsewhere in the world. WAKE UP if you want to compete in the real world.

  42. Well, when I was reading I thought i am in a movie theater!

    It was most unfortunate day when I changed my bank account from Bank Muscat to HSBC. I thought that there are best professionals but I realized they are not. Especially Qurum Branch. A piece of advice... Don't ever tell them that you are a status customer.

    I wanted 6 months Account statement from HSBC and I took me more than a day and visiting three branches. I could have got it within few minutes with Bank Muscat.
    When I opened my account back on December they said you will get a night stay at Hayyat Hotel! And it should not take more than few days! After few dozens of phone calls and another dozen of visits to their different branches I got it last month!
    When I opened the account they told you are a status customer and you can have master and Visa credit cards for free… when I checked my online statements I got shocked that there was a weird transaction for credit cards yearly fees! It took them two months to return the money back!
    A close friend of mine ( It was my bloody mistake to advise him to move from OIB to HSBC!) did a standing order for 350 RO… They did it only for 200 RO and when he went to enquire they said oh it is a mistake and we will call you to tell you what went wrong! No body called!

    I am thinking to leave these dulls and go back to the simple Bank Muscat at least it is the best of the poor banks ever.

  43. I am so glad to have found this article - I was beginning to think that I was sounding like a broken record on my facebook page - but I simply can't resist the urge to keep reminding my few poor FB friends and followers how thoroughly pissed I am with HSBC (HSBC = Habitually Screwing Business Clients).

    Like many of you it seems I too could go on for hours about the total absurdity with which this bunch of sub-primates attempt to conduct banking business (insert peels of raucous but slightly sad laughter here).

    Like a girlfriend or a wife that politely fakes orgasms in order not to bruise a partners ego, one suspects HSBC perform similarly - ie faking the whole process of "Banking" in order not to hurt the (victims) oops, clients feelings!!

    Almost every sad episode described previously by the other poor financial sodomy victims has also been visited on this reporter. HSBC-PTSD has set in and will likely require years of therapy to cure - or at least drive back into the dark recesses of a damaged mind!

    In addition to the many indiscretions committed by HSBC with our hard earned cash - the one that galls the most is when, upon the suggestion of our Account Mis-Manager, we agreed to convert our previously negotiated business overdraft into a term loan. "The papers will be drawn up and everything sorted within one week sir" was the confidently delivered missive! After following them up for a further two weeks after said deadline had passed we eventually signed all the paperwork and all was well with the world. Right? Wrong!!!
    During the three week sabbatical obviously taken by the numties preparing our term loan agreement, our overdraft payment wasn't processed by the bank (yes HSBC - the same bank - same branch - same account mis-manager!) and the numbskull, rather than get off their posterior and make a few checks in the computer, decided it would be fun and wholly justified to record the overdraft in arrears and post a notification of the same to the Central Bank who promptly (see they can do some things quickly!) put our company on a black list from which we cannot now be removed until such time as the term loan is completely settled!!!

    So, here we are - blacklisted through the ineptitude of a bunch of lazy, wont-get-off-their-arses toss pots!

    I know the CEO personally - even he cant (won't) do anything to help!!

    On the point of omanisation - I have to agree and disagree with a lot of the comments - agreed it's possible that due to the requirements of omanisation on a sector that worldwide usually performs quite well in terms of customer service, it could be expected that the required levels of experience and understanding could take some time to fully mature and take effect - and I agree that jobs for omanis are an absolute priority and I'm a supporter of the idea of the initiative - however in such a case where the impact of the lack in experience causes problems such as all those described here, then surely it is the responsibility of the (mostly) experienced Expat senior managers to do some real bloody work and properly teach, guide and mentor staff and also be in a position to act and correct the sorts of mistakes catalogued here!

    Or maybe I just expect too much!!

  44. I had the most horrible experience with HSBC, and again the only reason I bank with them is because they were the only ones who would issue me a credit card; as they are our company's corporate bank.

    My little misadventure happened last month. It started when one fine day my ATM card stopped working. I tried a few different places, and it did not work. SO I went to the bank (QURM branch) the next day to the Advance customer care area and reported that my card is not working. THe nice lady at the desk told me that maybe the strip has worn off and they will need to order a new card, which will take 7-8 working days. Fair enough, it happens, I will try to work around not having an ATM card for a few days. So 10 days pass and I have not received my card. During this time, for some reason my salary was not directly transferred to my account as was always the case for the past 7 months i have had an account. I asked my company and they said the salary was rejected by the bank. So a little bemused I went to the bank and asked them why my salary was not transferred. THe lady tells me, its not the bank, it must be your company.I also asked about my ATM, and they said the card will be received shortly. Annoyed but helpless, I decided that I will check with my company again with regards to my salary, and since I was running low on cash, i decided I will go the the teller and widhdraw some cash (you know so I can continue living. I go to the teller to withdraw MY MONEY and the teller tells me, "Sorry there is a block on your account" and the guy says I should go speak to the customer rep. Now clearly quite annoyed I go back to the lady and ask her why my account is blocked. After a looong wait of about 45 mins she comes back and tells me, "You see sir, when you had opened your account with us 7 months back, as regular bank policy nationals of certain countries go through a back ground check. And your account is BLOCKED BECAUSE YOU ARE PAKISTANI". At thhis point I was like "Exxcuse me". SO the lady goes on to explain, "What I mean sir, is the person who opened your account did go tthe local clearance , but forgot to get teh Global HSBC clearance This was spotted last month and thats why your account is blocked"

    At this point I had lost it and I let her have it. i told her that first of all, I find this policy racist, but that s besides the point. You are telling me, I cant get my OWN Freaking Money because you guys screwed Up. I cant pay my bills , buy food or anything becuase of yoor bank. further more you block my account even without informing me. I could not pay my rent, because of you" The lady tried to explain her self but I was seething at this point. SHort of showing her teh finger, I walked out and demanded to see the manager. Ofcourse he/she was not there.

    It took another 3 days that the account was restored. The bank manager apologised to me, but this episode left me quite insulted and extremely dissapointed. I wrote a strongly worded letter to HSBC global and last I heard from them is that the matter was being investigated. Yeah right. The was the worse customer service experience I have had.

  45. I have also a terrible experience. First, I withdrew 640 RO from a Bank Sohar ATM June 28, 2011, the account was debited but the money was not dispensed. I called customer service and I was told it will be back in 24 hours, which did not happen. I went to Bait Al-Falaj Branch and accomplished an ATM Dispute form on July 3, 2011 and they told me to wait for 2 weeks. It is already July 17 and nothing happened. I called the Toll Free number many times and all they say is they are going to follow up and call the branch and all other bullshit excuses. Worst of all, they put a hold in my account and deducted the total loan amount outstanding for 866 RO. The collection department told me when I visited the branch that it is a mistake in the system and that I should notify the Customer Service in the branch to remove the hold, I did and nothing happened. The whole amount was deducted. Here I am now, suffering with no money left and the landlord is coming within the week to collect the rent for 250 RO. Where can we complain or file a case against this kind of things? Please give me an information as to the best thing I can do. email me here please - I need someone to help me REALLY...

  46. HSBC are a complete bunch of imbeciles! The service was never particularly good, but since they've merged they have become out of control. Within the last 6 months I have had occasion to 'deal' with HSBC on 4 occasions: first they stopped me transferring money abroad (when attempted I got the message 'you have exceeded yr agreed transfer rate'- which of course sent me running to the bank thinking someone had transferred money without my knowing. Then during following months I got 7 lots of monthly wages automatically credited to my account (some wd say good!), to be followed by 8 months of wages taken out the very next day!!!!! Then last week I presented a cheque which was credited to my account no less than 3 times - followed by (yes you've guessed it)4 lots of cheque debit! A text messatge told me that a new CC was awaiting pick up at my local branch City Centre - when I got there I was told it had been cut up and returned to DHL owing to my failure to pick it up (I went the day after the text!)Fact is every time I get a text nowadays, I'm in fear of it being an HSBC cock-up text. And try getting Mr Ewan Stirling (CEO) to come down off his lofty perch to deal with this shambles - no chance. HSBC - you could not pick a worse bank in the Sultanate. be warned steer clear!!!!!!!

  47. If you all think you have problems with HSBC Oman - read about some at this link >

  48. After reading all these comments, I think it is the chimps that are being insulted


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