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TONY HETHERINGTON: HSBC’s ban is way from a safeguard

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Tony Hetherington is Monetary Mail on Sunday’s ace investigator, combating readers corners, revealing the reality that lies behind closed doorways and successful victories for many who have been left out-of-pocket. Learn the way to contact him under.

Mystery: HSBC shut reader's flats account

Thriller: HSBC shut reader’s flats account

P.H. writes: I’m the signatory to an account with HSBC, established many years in the past to cowl bills within the upkeep of 4 flats within the property the place I stay. I acquired a letter from HSBC saying it wanted to substantiate a few of our ‘enterprise particulars’ in a process referred to as ‘Safeguard’. 

I submitted the small print on-line and was thanked, however then acquired an extra letter which appeared to duplicate the primary one. 

Nonetheless, I accomplished the small print once more however the financial institution then informed me our account can be closed as a result of, HSBC mentioned, I had failed to present the data it required.

Tony Hetherington replies: HSBC claims its Safeguarding overview is meant to guard prospects from fraud, however time after time, readers have informed me that irrespective of how exhausting they attempt to cooperate with the lengthy record of questions requested and proof demanded, HSBC finally ends up dumping them and shutting their account. Small accounts belonging to golf equipment and neighborhood teams appear notably susceptible, with prospects claiming HSBC merely does not need their enterprise.

The outcomes might be unlucky. You informed me that you just rang HSBC in a bid to maintain your account open, and have been informed you’ll be despatched a six-digit code by publish, however nothing arrived. You then paid two payments by cheque, one to a contractor for £94 and the opposite to the constructing’s insurer for £1,440. Each bounced, as a result of HSBC had closed the account. This left you and different flat homeowners uninsured, and brought about some embarrassment to you personally as you’re a native solicitor.

You opened a brand new account with NatWest, however HSBC refused to switch the £5,000-plus left frozen within the closed account. Armed together with your signed authority, I requested HSBC to remark, to substantiate the small print of your name asking to maintain the account, and to let me have a duplicate of the Safeguarding document so I might see no matter it was you didn’t reply.

That was in Might. That is proper – Might final yr. Since then, there was a digital wrestling match between me and HSBC. A minor victory was that HSBC launched the account stability and even supplied £200 ‘by means of saying sorry’. It claimed to have despatched you the code to maintain the account, however HSBC refused level clean to let me see the Safeguarding questions, for ‘safety causes’. Nonetheless, the financial institution did reveal there had been an issue involving an organization at your handle.

I needed to threaten HSBC with authorized motion to acquire its data about you, earlier than it lastly despatched a duplicate of its Safeguarding questionnaire on to you however to not me. You then handed the 11-page doc to me and I scanned it to seek out out why the financial institution rejected your solutions. And there it wasn’t: an enormous area headed ‘HSBC Cause for rejection’ – utterly clean.

This left the thriller of the corporate primarily based at your handle. What was this firm? And did HSBC imply your property handle or the handle of your legislation agency? HSBC informed me that ‘a separate non-related firm was discovered to have the same handle’. However what did this should do together with your flat homeowners’ account?

Whereas I used to be bashing on with inquiries to HSBC, the Monetary Ombudsman Service was additionally investigating and has informed HSBC to extend its apology fee to £300, which it has performed. However I’ve to take a look at what you informed me nearly a yr in the past: ‘I’ve the impression HSBC’s sole focus was to shut the account.’ It’s exhausting to disagree.

Will is taking years

Ms M.R. writes: My uncle left roughly £1.2 million in his will, and I’m one of many beneficiaries. 

He died in February 2020 and W. Davies Solicitors, of Woking, took on the administration of the property in April that yr. 

Later, they requested for some info which I provided, and so they mentioned it must be cleared up by December 2020, however they nonetheless say the property is ‘work in progress’.

By the end of 2021, the solicitors had identified 28 beneficiaries, with more to be confirmed

By the top of 2021, the solicitors had recognized 28 beneficiaries, with extra to be confirmed

Tony Hetherington replies: I obtained a duplicate of your uncle’s will from the Probate Registry, and truly ended up sympathising with the solicitors as a lot as with you. The need made a number of particular bequests, after which all the things else – the residue – was left to his spouse, your aunt. 

Nonetheless, she died a yr earlier than your uncle, together with his will saying that on this case, the residue must be shared between your aunt’s brothers and sisters, and in the event that they have been lifeless then their shares ought to go to their kids. 

Your aunt had ten brothers and sisters, however your uncle’s will didn’t give the small print of any of them, which landed the solicitors with the duty of acquiring a lot of delivery, marriage and loss of life certificates, and tracing everybody concerned.

By the top of 2021, the solicitors had recognized 28 beneficiaries, with extra to be confirmed. Since I first contacted them a number of months in the past, they’ve agreed to pay out half of all the expected quantities, and you’ve got acquired over £22,000. Irritating, sure, however executors can be reckless to empty the property, solely to face a declare from a beforehand unknown beneficiary.

Delay in tragic payout

Ms R.M. writes: My daughter died all of a sudden final April. Having discovered a Solar Life Monetary of Canada private pension assertion in her papers, I notified the corporate final June and provided an interim loss of life certificates as her loss of life had been referred to the Coroner. 

In August, the corporate mentioned it had a claims backlog. In October, it requested for the ultimate loss of life certificates, which I despatched. 

In November, I complained and was informed I might be contacted in 5 days, however this didn’t occur.

The transfer of 470,000 records was not completely successful, meaning some values had to be calculated manually

The switch of 470,000 data was not utterly profitable, which means some values needed to be calculated manually

Tony Hetherington replies: You contacted me after discovering I reported the same downside final October. Then, the corporate admitted it was responsible, saying in 2021 it had transferred its coverage administration providers to a brand new system.   

This switch of 470,000 data was not utterly profitable, which means some values needed to be calculated manually, which led to a backlog. Nonetheless, this could not have blocked your fee. 

It informed me: ‘The instance of Ms M is especially unlucky as we should always have paid this declare in July 2022.’ It has now paid you the £31,571, plus £748 curiosity, with an extra £700 as an apology. You might be investing this on your daughter’s teenage son.

Should you imagine you’re the sufferer of economic wrongdoing, write to Tony Hetherington at Monetary Mail, 9 Derry Road, London W8 5HY or electronic mail tony.hetherington@mailonsunday.co.uk. Due to the excessive quantity of enquiries, private replies can’t be given. Please ship solely copies of authentic paperwork, which we remorse can’t be returned. 

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