HSBC won’t stop hound­ing me

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE -

I have power of at­tor­ney for my twin sis­ter, who lives in a care home for de­men­tia suf­fer­ers. Eight months ago HSBC wrote re­quest­ing in­for­ma­tion needed to com­ply with the For­eign Ac­count Tax Com­pli­ance Act, (Fatca), which re­lates to the United States.

My sis­ter has never had hold­ings in Amer­ica and is Bri­tish born and bred.

After try­ing un­suc­cess­fully to tele­phone the num­ber given for ad­vice, I vis­ited a lo­cal branch to ex­plain we would ig­nore the let­ter. The branch as­sured me that this was cor­rect.

Two months later we re­ceived a reminder from HSBC re­peat­ing the re­quest.

A week later I vis­ited the HSBC branch with the let­ters and the power of at­tor­ney for my sis­ter. I was told the bank would need to see my sis­ter.

On ex­plain­ing this was not pos­si­ble and again show­ing the power of at­tor­ney plus a pass­port, I was told that this was not good enough. JACQUE­LINE DUDLEY, BERKS

You vis­ited the branch again where you duly pre­sented a signed doc­u­ment from your fi­nan­cial ad­viser stat­ing that the pho­to­graph on the pass­port was of your sis­ter.

The as­sis­tant en­tered all the doc­u­men­tary proof that you had pro­vided.

Your hopes that this was suf­fi­cient were dashed when you re­ceived an­other let­ter re­quir­ing the same in­for­ma­tion again. You wrote again with a cer­ti­fied copy of your sis­ter’s pass­port. At one stage you wrote men­tion­ing that you would be in­volv­ing me if this was not sorted out. It made no dif­fer­ence and an­other let­ter then ar­rived say­ing the doc­u­ments must be filed by a given date.

Fur­ther to my in­volve­ment, the process was com­pleted. Con­sid­er­ing the cir­cum­stances, HSBC of­fered a £500 ges­ture of good­will.

HSBC apol­o­gised for the stress and in­con­ve­nience caused. It said it would be mak­ing changes to its power of at­tor­ney pro­cesses in light of this.

A month or so after the sup­posed res­o­lu­tion, you heard from HSBC’s fraud depart­ment ask­ing for the same doc­u­ments.

You ex­plained that, bar her fin­ger­prints, the bank had ev­ery­thing with which to iden­tify your sis­ter. HSBC said it was “ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing” that you were asked for the same in­for­ma­tion again and has of­fered an extra £50 good­will.

It said it was ur­gently look­ing at ways to im­prove data shar­ing be­tween teams to en­sure this did not hap­pen again. was a prob­lem with the earth­ing.

The di­ver­sion did not re­store the ser­vice and it turned out that TalkTalk had put a bar on your line.

The fun­da­men­tal fault had been re­solved but your phone still did not work be­cause of the bar.

The com­pen­sa­tion you were after was £3,500 in all for loss of business. In­cluded in this was £370 for lost sales, £86 for staff wages, £30 for dis­carded dough balls and £57 for wasted meat and veg­eta­bles.

Fur­ther to my in­volve­ment, TalkTalk said it was pre­pared to credit one month’s ser­vice as a good­will ges­ture.

Your monthly bill, you say, was just under £30. This was, TalkTalk said, a ba­sic business broad­band and tele­phone ser­vice.

TalkTalk pointed out that it doesn’t of­fer a ser­vice guar­an­tee for a stan­dard business line. It said that it ob­vi­ously aims to re­pair faults as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Some­times though this can take longer than it would like, of­ten for rea­sons be­yond its con­trol.

I don’t see this case as en­tirely com­ing into this cat­e­gory. It said that cus­tomers look­ing for more re­as­sur­ance would need to take a more ex­pen­sive Eth­er­net ( business-grade fi­bre op­tic) ser­vice.

I have sug­gested you look at any business in­sur­ance that you may have.

You could also con­sider hav­ing a mo­bile business num­ber as a fall­back if you can find one with re­li­able net­work cov­er­age.

You were go­ing to take this to the rel­e­vant dis­pute res­o­lu­tion scheme but are work­ing so hard and the business is so busy you haven’t had time.

So things are not as bad as they might have been.

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