From where we left off – the mystery of why only £9637.12 had been transferred to a mysterious holding account by HSBC had not yet been solved. My bank account was frozen. And here we are at Pay Day, that one day of the month that many look forward to! I was racking up payments on my credit card, and getting more and more concerned.
So, payday arrives and… nothing, when I get back home from work and logged in to my online banking to check. I had bills that were supposed to go out in 3 days time. This is a Friday, roughly over 2 weeks after this whole debacle began because there is a scumbag out there with my personal information. Which, according to the police, is just fine.
I phone HSBC in a panic. They tell me that while they don’t know anything/cannot tell me anything, I can get my pay released if I go into a bank tomorrow with a payslip and some identification. Which of course, I hadn’t printed off at work, because I did not have my brain in gear. I phoned work, and thankfully my boss was still in – he was able to get my payslip for me, and I dashed back to the office to get it. I then had an appointment arranged with a bank for the next day (a Saturday). Note that the bank I had been to the previous two times was closed on Saturdays, meaning that I had to go to another branch instead.
So, I go into the bank, where I get to sit down with awesome bank manager. (Again, no sarcasm here – the people I met in person at HSBC were hands down awesome). I go through everything that has gone on up to this point. Turns out that he is the one who trained awesome lady at the other branch! Anyways, with my payslip in hand, and a statement of fury on my behalf, he toddles off to phone the ALL POWERFUL ACCOUNT REVIEW TEAM and hopefully tear them a new one.
A couple of minutes later, he comes back, furious – wouldn’t you know, the accounts review team don’t work at weekends? My account is in a state where even the actual branch manager of the bank cannot see what is going on with my account. Because the Account Review team says so.
Sucks to be me, I guess.
I had to go home and stew in my own rage. There’s nothing else to do, but I now have direct contact information for the Branch Manager and awesome lady who was helping me out at the other branch.
The first day of a new month comes. None of my payments have gone out. I phone the mortgage company, to ask what I can do. They say that there are 3 days leeway on direct debits, so as long as the payment turns up within that 3 day window, my interest rates on my mortgage won’t be affected.
The Branch Manager keeps me updated via email – he thinks he has figured out the discrepancy in the money that was taken from my account – the left over £362.88 is apparently the difference in transactions that occurred in my account between the £10,000 landing in it, and money I’d spent before I got in touch with HSBC to ask them to send the £10,000 back. The Accounts Review Team for some strange reason opted to deduct these payments from the £10,000 owed. Sadly, while he has solved the mystery, he’s still heard nothing from the Accounts Review team.
Almost to the end of this tale. My account has been locked for almost 3 weeks at this point. I log in, and see that my accounts are all updated! Direct debits have gone out for my bills and mortgage! Rejoice! Right at the deadline to. My pay had been moved into my second account (as a result of my going in previously and asking it to be moved there, as I’d hoped to be able to access it that way). Except the additional £362.88 is still there, messing up my spreadsheets and making me feel sad. I ask the Branch Manager to see if he can chase up the Account Review team to get that removed, as it’s not my money, and if I can get the account number and sort code on my account changed.
Turns out I would have to close the account and open a new one. Which is ultimately what I opted to do – though I had to keep the old account open for an additional 1 and a half months, while the Account Review team had a word with themselves and decided to finally take the £362.88 that they hadn’t take before. I even opted to stay with HSBC even after the ineptitude displayed by the Account Review team – because let’s face it – their process stopped me getting access to my own cash, but it also stopped an imposter getting it to. Double edged sword, I guess.
For what it’s worth, I did raise a complaint with HSBC about their Account Review teams handling of this. I was offered £100 in compensation (which I turned down, as all I wanted was to pay my flipping bills on time), and the ultimate response I got was ‘We followed our processes’. I saw little point in pursuing it further. Their Account Review team have no accountability to the general public, which I kind of understand. The actual staff who do deal directly with customers face to face have in my experience been amazing.
So, this did all eventually get resolved. It took almost 3 months to have all my credit reports sorted out (as the loan did end up there due to the mistake at Hitachi Capital), bank accounts all sorted out, and for Hitachi to stop mistakenly sending me angry letters about not paying their direct debit. The thing that still disappoints and angers me in all this is that the person who decided to try and rip me off will never have to face justice for this. It took a good few months to sort out my finances from having to pay 2 months worth of expenses in one go (thanks to my credit card), time off work to deal with banks and credit agencies, and all the stress that not knowing what is going on with your finances can bring. That scumbag is still out there with all my personal details that I can’t change. And that really upsets me.
This has gotten long, though. Thanks for reading! I’ll detail in my next post things that you can do if you find yourself in a similar situation, or to try and prevent something similar happening to yourself.