We don’t know exactly how many people are affected; We’re guessing it’s 100,000 as we’ve had so much feedback on it. But HSBC doesn’t tell us so we could be wrong and HSBC doesn’t tell us is a topic you will see in this article. However, sometimes silence can be as meaningful as answers.
In December 2020, we first announced that some people who were in arrears on a variety of financial products, including mortgages, overdrafts, credit cards and loans, between 2010 and May 2019 had received checks between £ 25 and £ 100 out of the blue. some of which almost thought it was a scam and some have received withdrawals of up to £ 7,000 since then.
Details of why people receive payments and how they were calculated have been sparse as both HSBC and the Financial Regulator – which has told us they know about the appeals system – hold their lips. But without those details, concerns were raised by a former whistleblower, Nicholas Wilsonthat people might be missing out. HSBC denies this and says it is contacting all concerned.
For years, Mr. Wilson has been tenaciously committed to the clients of HFC Bank and John Lewis Financial Services Ltd. some of which charged a “collection fee” of 16.4% between 2003 and 2009. (Both HFC Bank and John Lewis Financial Services Ltd are now owned by HSBC.)
In 2010, the Office of Fair Trading decided that these fees were inadequate and did not reflect the actual cost of collecting the claim. In 2017, HSBC made £ 4million available to repay affected customers and conducted another review in 2019 following Mr Wilson’s campaign to contact customers newly identified as affected. HSBC has specifically denied that their current redress system is linked to that system or to the 16.4% collection fee.
We asked HSBC a number of questions, some of which were kindly suggested by Mr Wilson to find out more. Here are the answers (in some cases where we had to ask, we put the answers to each question into one and also provided a context that was helpful) …