Ranty Friday: How HSBC Left Me and My Son Out in the Cold

Today I am upset.

REALLY upset.

You can perhaps feel the fury from there.  Those little vapours of warm, red mist emanating from your laptop screen…that would be the anger.

Why am I upset?

HSBC and their telephone banking would be why.

W and I headed out at 9am this morning in order to get a few essentials from Tescos and some groceries from Aldi for his lunch.

For those of you who also may have ventured out this morning in Bristol you will know that today just happens to be freezing cold.  Bone-chillingly cold infact.  Just to add to the delight my two year old son also already has a streaming cold and a propensity to throw his gloves away every third step.

Still, needs must so we begin our trek up the hill to the shops.

On eventually reaching Tescos we struggle around the aisles, trying not to bump into too many people with the buggy, and I do my best to prevent W randomly pulling stuff off the shelves and sneaking it into unsuspecting baskets.  Anyone’s basket will do it seems.  We finally head for the till.

After ringing everything through and stacking up the pram, whilst trying to stop said 2 year old from escaping the store, the very nice lady informs me that my debit card has been declined.

What?  It is only about £15 and I am pretty sure my account still has THAT much left in it.  I ask her to try again.


So now I am embarrassed.

I can feel the stares from the waiting queue behind me willing me to just hurry up and get out of their way.

I simply do not have the energy, or the will, to unpack all our stuff, make more of a scene, and try and control the boy whilst doing so I relunctantly pay with my credit card and we leave.

We still have the Aldi shop to go so on the way I decide to ring my bank, HSBC, and see what the problem is.  I am always reluctant to ring 0800 numbers from my moblle due to the enormous costs per minute but I really have no choice as Aldi won’t accept credit cards and I can’t get any cash out as my debit card apparently won’t work.

And he does need some lunch.


After a few minutes I get through to a girl who, after making me repeat myself several times, finally says there is a fraud issue with my card and she will put me through to the appropriate department. At this point I ask her if it will take long and she ASSURES me that it won’t.

We arrive at Aldi still on hold.

We hover outside and wait.

We wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And we are freezing.

After almost twenty minutes, conscious of the escalating costs of the call, my poor little boy’s streaming cold, and the increasing numbness in my fingers I call it a day, hang up and head home, minus the necessary shopping for his lunch.

On arriving home after warming the boy and myself up a bit I grab the landline.

Now I am cross.

I call HSBC again, explain the situation AGAIN, and once again I am put on hold while the new lady tries to get through to the fraud department.

She does however have the decency to come back to me every few minutes and explain that she is still trying to get through.

After 14 minutes of waiting I finally get to speak to the fraud department, for about ten seconds. The battery on the handset of the landline has run out whilst we were kept waiting.


I resort to the mobile again. Back at the beginning I explain AGAIN to yet another new lady the situation and that I would be grateful if the fraud department could call me back.

And I hang up.

To be fair, they do ring me back ten minutes later.

Apparently the £30 I tried to spend upgrading on PicMonkey was suspicious. At least I think thats what she said.

She has also promised to refund the cost of the mobile calls.

So, that just leaves me with a hungry two year old with a streaming cold and another trip out in the cold to get through.

Oh joy.



UPDATE: I have just received a call from Dan at HSBC customer services. As well as apologising for the inconvenience caused this morning he has offered to place £25 in my affected account to cover the cost of all my calls and, on discovering that I am pregnant, is also sending out a baby hamper by way of congratulations. Just brilliant.

So here, rather happily, endeth the rant.


  1. says

    The company that upsets me the most is my bank! Because I’m not rich, they seem to treat me in the worst possible way and have little regard for the extreme anxiety it causes. They are all bad in my opinion!

  2. ghostwritermummy says

    Oh my! Terrible customer service! They should have rung you back in the first place! And why not let you know straight away that they had detected fraud?!

  3. plus2point4 says

    I’ve had this before if I use my card online a lot.I’ve gone into the bank to sort out the problem directly and it’s always been resolved quickly.I know it’s a hassle, but they are trying to protect their customers.My bank would always ring to ask what my last 3 purchases were and confirm a direct debit to make sure my card wasn’t been used fraudulently. I hope you can talk to them and ask for some kind of warning system to put in place before declining your card as that’s just not on.By the way what were you buying on Picmonkey that was £30?

  4. says

    That is awful. Would it have been too much for the fraud trigger to have prompted them to call you rather than just waiting for you to have a trolley load of shopping?


  5. says

    I had my card stopped by my bank because they thought me trying to top up my mobile phone from my mobile phone was dodgy. Problem was that they cancelled it 10 minutes before I got on a ferry to France, leaving me in France without a credit card (thank goodness for having a husband who also has cards) you can’t call an 0800 number from abroad and thats the only way they would re-instate my card!

  6. Helen says

    My HSBC debit card was declined in different shops quite frequently without any reason. I did complain, but I did not receive any explanation. The last time (a few days ago) it was declined in Boots and I lost my patience. Every time after it had happened I was able to withdraw cash from the bank machine outside the shops and later I walked into other shop and it worked there. I am going to switch my bank in two weeks. I had enough. I also ‘googled’ to see if anybody else had the same problem and somebody said that HSBC is notorious for debit cards problems. I have never been in debt and I have never had credit cards, so I am at a loss to understand why it happens once in a while.

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