|A snapshot from a recent HSBC customer service review meeting|
Some years ago, I wrote about my tail(s) of woe with HSBC here in Oman. I'm sorry to report that my experiences with HSBC here have gotten no better, and was just wondering if anyone else is experiencing the same ridiculousness as me?
So in my last post about HSBC, back in 2011, I swore I'd never take a loan from HSBC Oman again, and I've stuck to this, and have largely had a pain-free experience with them. They're still sending a monthly transfer to another account in my name in another country, 7 years after I setup the transfer instruction (to last for only 2 years), but I don't mind the money going out to my overseas account each month so I have not complained about it.
Last year, I noticed HSBC launched a new credit card for their customers here in Oman, they call it their HSBC Advance credit card which among other things has 2 rather attractive benefits that I would like: no annual fees, and airport lounge access to a number of airports around the Middle East.
I walked into the MQ branch last year, in August, and stated I wanted to apply for this credit card, filled in a form and was told it'd be about a week. In September I went looking for the card and was told I had not actually applied for any credit cards at all! Yup, I just imagined it all. Deciding that perhaps the MQ branch was not the best place to apply for a new credit card, and upon discussing the situation with a colleague, I was recommended to go and see a Premier account manager at the Al Khuwair main branch (the one with the gold doors). I was given a name and number of a Mr Simon and went in to see him. I'm not actually a Premier account holder, but after I'd explained to him on the phone my predicament he said I should come and see him and he'll sort me out.
Hopes and expectations were high, so in mid September (2013) I went to see him. He looked into my account and said I already had 2 credit cards with HSBC and so I needed to cancel at least one, or dramatically reduce the limit on the card, so I could have enough "credit" to get approval for a new credit card. I told him to cancel my Visa gold card, and we filled in a form for that, and I filled in another form to apply for the HSBC Advance credit card I wanted. Then I was asked if I'd like to purchase any investment products with HSBC... err no thanks, just the credit card if you please!
October comes, and I ring up Mr Simon and ask what's going on with the cards - he says to pop in so we can look into it. I do. Would I like to purchase any HSBC investment products again? NO! Just the bloody card please!
I can safely report to you that I never did get the damn credit card, and the not very helpful Mr Simon left Oman earlier this year too.
2014 started off quite a busy year for me and before I knew it, it was May and was joining the Abandoned Dad's brigade as the wife and kid buggered off to somewhere cooler. I decided to have another go at applying for that elusive credit card. I really wanted lounge access in Dubai! By this time, my Mastercard had gotten really badly cracked but I held on, I knew I was going to cancel it as soon as I got the new card, and didn't want to go through the pain of attempting to get a replacement card. I filled in another form to apply for the Advance credit card and figured I'd check in when I returned to Oman in late June.
Early July I head into the bank because my ATM card decided to stop working in every HSBC ATM (but worked in every other banks ATM machines). I met with a very professional lady in the MQ HSBC branch and she filed my paperwork and I got my new ATM card very quickly, a week or so. I went back to see her about the elusive credit card but, alas, she was gone. I met with another guy, and he told me I needed to fill in another form to apply.
Yes, I know, I'm stupid. I should of created a fuss but I try not to blow my top here because it (and I swear it's true) seems to just make whoever it is you're venting at vow to try extra hard to not do whatever it is you're asking them to do. So I filled in the form again.
|A chocolate teapot, which is what most HSBC staff I encounter are akin to.|
More time passes and I go back to the MQ branch again in August and meet another guy who's actually helpful, he is the first person to point out to me that my Visa gold card that I had cancelled a year before, was actually still active. He also stated I had no salary transfer letter or Employment Visa details on file. We fill in another form to cancel the Visa account and I go and get copies of my passport and a salary letter whipped up - I finally feel like I'm getting somewhere.
Another week passes and I go back to the branch to find out whats going on. My application is being held because I already have a Mastercard Gold card and I can't have more than 1 credit card - WTF?! I explain I had 2 Gold cards, one Visa and one Mastercard for the last 7 years. Impossible he tells me. I demand to see someone else, hoping that they'll have a bit more knowledge than the man in front of me who appears to make up rules on the fly.
I have to go back later in the day and meet the helpful man again, the one who pointed out the Visa wasn't shut down properly & the employment paperwork was missing. He tells me that my DBR is absolutely fine and I can have another credit card no problem. Leave it with him, he'll get it sorted.
September comes, and I get an emailed letter from HSBC, telling me that in their continuous efforts to
I get a SMS message from HSBC 21st September informing me that my Credit Card has been issued and I can collect if from the customer collection office in Khuwair in 5 business days' time. SUCCESS! Wooo hoo! I felt like I had finally won in my battle to get the bloody lounge access no-fee credit card. I even gave HSBC 3 full weeks (eid happened) before heading down to the collection point, just to be sure.
Nope, the cards not there yet, come back tomorrow they said. I came back 2 days later (16th October) and am handed an envelope. I'm excited, so excited to finally get the card, I rip it open and what do I find? A replacement Visa Gold card, and another letter explaining my Mastercard Gold card is to be deactivated within a month.
What. The. Fuck?!
Let's recap shall we? In 14 months, I've cancelled the same credit card twice (and been charged an annual fee for it too), had my active credit card cancelled and been issued the same card I had already cancelled twice, applied for the same new credit card 3 times and been consistently given the run around by various HSBC staff members. Why don't I quit HSBC and go to another bank? Because my salary is paid in, I know the ATM card works in the UK & Canada, I have monthly transfers, and I am quite frankly afraid to face the same nonsense with another bank.
Really, how hard is it to just issue a credit card?
And I never did get my bloody Al Fair vouchers either!
Have you had any crazy experiences with HSBC Oman lately?