Where we left off, I had found out that £9637.12 had been removed from my bank account to ‘somewhere’, and HSBC had told me that I needed to go to a branch again with my identification.
At this point, I was really worried. Where had this strange amount sent to? Did Hitachi have their loan money back yet?
So. The bank. A more local to home one, this time. I went in for my appointment, and got chatting to an absolutely awesome lady (I mean that in all seriousness, no sarcasm here!) who had me go through everything – the bank needed to follow their process, so they wanted the full story off me. Fair enough.
She then explained to me that the £9637.12 had been moved to one of HSBC’s internal transfer accounts to send back to Hitachi by the HSBC Account Review team. She didn’t know why it wasn’t the full £10,000. She then dropped a bombshell on me.
My account had been locked, pending the review by the Account Review team.
This could have been really bad news. I kept calm, figured that I have my credit card for any immediate purchases, and this should hopefully be cleared up soon, right? After all, I’d done nothing wrong here – HSBC had stopped the fraudulent activity as it was happening, I’d been fully transparent in everything that had gone down, I’d updated all my security and was able to prove my identity. Right?
The lady at the bank couldn’t give me any details on how long this review process should take. She didn’t know why this action was appropriate, given that as far as I was concerned, HSBC had up to now done everything perfectly – they had stopped a fraudster getting into my account! She tried to phone the Account Review team, and they wouldn’t tell her anything either.
I asked her to look into why the full amount was not taken, and I went home feeling rather annoyed with the situation, but trying to be understanding that in this day and age, all those little check boxes need to be ticked off just so that we can all say that ‘due process was followed’.
When I got home, I called Hitachi Capital Finance to confirm that they had received the £10,000 back. The answer to this was ‘yes’. Which was great! But then they let me know that due to something wonky in their system, a new £10,000 loan had been opened against the same original loan, and the thing had somehow fallen outside of their fraud reporting – so they’d sent me some letters, which I should get in the next couple of days.
Fabulous. It’s worth noting that this resulted in an account for the loan being added to my credit report. Which I promptly got removed by Experian.
I then settled in to wait for things to get sorted out. Life mostly returned to normal for a few days – then I had a letter from HSBC saying that I had to go to the bank with my identification again. I phoned the bank, went through all the same security things, and was verbally told the same. My question was ‘Has something else happened?!?’ and the response was ‘Sorry’.
So, off I toddled. I made an appointment with the same lady I had spoken to previously. It turns out that HSBC just send letters late, apparently. There wasn’t actually a need for me to come in with my ID again (thanks, dude on the phone!). I did query when my accounts would be getting unlocked, as we were getting close to month end. No money could enter or leave my account in its frozen state, and I have things arranged to have my direct debits going out on the first of the month for my bills. Most I could pay off my credit card if it came down to it, but one of those payments is pretty important – my mortgage payment, which cannot be paid from a credit card. In addition, payday is on the last working day of the month.
The nice lady could not get any answers for me. The Accounts Review team are apparently akin to Gods at HSBC. They never have to answer directly to customers. They apparently don’t even have to answer to the poor sods working in their branches and give them any information either. They certainly don’t have to bother phoning their colleagues back, it would seem!
She left me with the reassurance (though little hope) that she would do what she could to try and chase up the status of my frozen accounts before the end of the month, and also that she would see what she could do to at least make sure my mortgage got paid out on time.
‘Ragey’ is once again applicable to describe how I felt about this. I felt like I was being treated like some kind of criminal. The police had already declared that what had happened was not a crime. I had proven my identity to the bank to get things locked down. The £10,000 was in the hands of Hitachi Capital Finance, even if the amounts in my account were still off. No fraudster had gotten hold of any cash. HSBC had prevented it happening – why did they need to lock my personal finances down?
I’ve never been late on a payment in my life, and with no communication about why, the powers in the HSBC Account Review team had decided it was the sensible thing to not take the full £10,000 from my account for Hitachi, but to also freeze all my account with HSBC while they looked into things. Spending was racking up on my credit card, and there was still no end in sight.
I’ll leave it here for now. The next post should be the last in this whole saga. Thanks for following along!