Thursday, November 21, 2013

HSBC Bank Mexico warning!

On Tuesday the 19th of November 2013, we had the misfortune of having our bank card 'swallowed' by an ATM from the HSBC in La Paz, Baja, Mexico. Accidents do happen and machines can malfunction, so no complaints there. What happened then however is beyond belief. Before you read any further, remember this: 1. The card in question belongs to us, not the HSBC bank. 2. The card worked fine as the ATM machine did give us the requested money. 3. The ATM machine went on error after the transaction when it couldn't give the card back, indicating itself that it malfunctioned. 4. We contacted the number given on the ATM machine and told them what happened, the reply was that they were already aware of it...

We were told it would be a day or two before they could open the machine, not really customer friendly but as we would be back around that time anyway we didn't complain. 
The HSBC ATM in Walmart at La Paz, out of action for 9 days when I took this photo as our card is stuck in it. The red Importante label reads: 
If this machine retains your card or malfunctions
then call the number below... Don't hold your
breath though.
Two days later the machine still wasn't opened and no indication was given when it would be done. We were told however that we would not get our card back anyway... if they would find it then it would be destroyed...
'Hang on a minute' I said 'That the machine malfunctions is already bad enough. But instead of saying sorry and get this solved you are now deliberately going to destroy this card?' 'Yes' was the reply.
So we went to the HSBC for clarification. They simply confirmed what we had already heard and said I should contact my bank in Australia, which I did. The reply from my bank was quite simple: the HSBC had no right to do this and instead should give us 7 days to present ourselves with ID to claim the card, after the 7 days they were allowed to destroy the card. So back to the HSBC who told us that it didn't matter what our bank had told us, they would still destroy the card. The HSBC claimed that was necessary for security reasons. What security reasons? Their machine made a simple mistake, it malfunctioned, and didn't give me the card back. It gave me the requested money so the card obviously worked fine. It's my card, which I can prove with every ID possible, it's not theirs so what gives them the right to destroy it? 
I tried for two hours, explained the predicament we were in and what the consequences of their inappropriate action would be; they simply didn't care and told me so straight in my face. 
If that wasn't bad enough, things got even worse... We had contacted our bank to see if we could put that particular card on hold, for safety reasons. What they did was put our other card on hold... so we were stuck in La Paz without money and couldn't cross with the ferry as we couldn't pay the vehicle deposit needed in Mexico to be able to cross to mainland Mexico.

The HSBC bank has proved to be without any customer service. They tell you to contact your bank. When your bank says the HSBC is not allowed to destroy the card, they simply don't care and do it anyway. They lie straight in your face and tell you they don't have the key to open the ATM, while an employee told us they do but will only open the ATM for one of their own customers not a foreigner... how's that for discrimination? Their machine made an error, it even says so on the screen, we were in a predicament because of it. We explained we would miss our ferry as we needed the card for the vehicle permits, but they simply told us they didn't care.
At this moment we have no idea what is going to happen the next couple of days but it looks like we have to get new cards out of Australia, which will take a long time to get here, and have no money pay the campground or food. We have told the HSBC but since we aren't with their bank they want us to live on the streets like rats.

November 23rd: the National Australia Bank have sorted more in 6 hrs than the HSBC has done in 4 days. As of 2.30 last night my card is working again! At least we can eat and pay the campground. We also just visited the Walmart, where the ATM is situated. Walmart is really unhappy about the whole situation too as it's inside their shop yet they can't do anything to solve it. The manager from Walmart has been absolutely great. He has done all he could and tries very hard to get this problem fixed. He has offered to be personally available when the people from HSBC Mexico finally open the machine. I've contacted HSBC headoffice in the UK who have contacted HSBC Mexico. Hopefully it will all help. Problem now is that although the problem has been reported, nothing has been done about it for 4 days by HSBC Mexico...

November 26rd: The ATM machine still has not been opened yet. The HSBC knows about it, a report has been made complete with a report number, the machine itself has reported the error as well but no-one has been to fix the machine. We are now into day 7... HSBC Mexico does not respond to requests send to them from us, NAB Australia or even HSBC Head office in London. It's unbelievable how arrogant these people are. HSBC La Paz can help by contacting the right person to open the machine, but can't be bothered to do so.
Meanwhile we have also found that the fastest way to get a new credit card will still take 21 days... So in effect if you are on a 3 weeks holiday overseas and loose your card; you won't be able to get a new one... I thought this was the modern world. A world where everything is so much easier and faster. Seems I was misinformed. 

November 27th: Finally the HSBC replies... one week later and the first reply from HSBC Mexico, only to tell us that we need to contact our bank as the card is probably faulty. As I have explained already, we have contacted our bank, the card is fine, the transaction went through and we received the cash. Somehow I don't think the ATM would have given us the cash if the card was faulty...

November 28th: Another call to the number given on the ATM. The man we spoke to was very sympathetic... but despite us explaining we were having some serious troubles here because it all took so long, he couldn't give any information on if and when the card would be returned. So we are going into day 9 and still no card...

November 29th: We have just heard from the HSBC that even though we can identify ourselves with passports and drivers licenses, we will not get the card back. The card functions fine, as has been confirmed by our bank. The HSBC doesn't even dispute that. But the HSBC bank will deliberately destroy a perfectly good functioning card when they finally open the machine, knowing they will put us in a very difficult situation. They call it security, which is ironic as we will loose the security of a having a second card...
I will never use any HSBC ATM anywhere in the world again. It is without a shadow of a doubt the most arrogant and unfriendly bank I've seen anywhere.