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HSBC criticised over missing money

Cleon Scotland

A bank that has allegedly lost more than $4,000 of a customer’s money has told him it will take six to eight weeks to investigate where it went.

Cleon Scotland, the former St George’s Cup Match and Bermuda cricketer, said he was still without his funds more than two weeks after a wire transfer from his HSBC Bermuda account to his British HSBC account went awry.

Mr Scotland described the bank’s customer service as “unbelievable” after it initially told him it would charge him $50 to recall the funds or launch an inquiry into the missing money.

The fee was eventually waived after a call to him from an HSBC representative in Toronto, but he is still without his $4,175 and in the dark about where his money has gone.

HSBC Bermuda refused to comment on the case yesterday because of customer confidentiality. It would not be drawn on why Mr Scotland was initially asked to pay the $50 fee or why the inquiry was expected to take so long.

Mr Scotland told The Royal Gazette: “It’s like a joke. The incompetence of HSBC is mind-blowing. It has been 17 days now and I am still without my money. It’s just morally wrong.”

The former cricket commentator, who moved to Britain with his family four years ago and lives in South London, initiated the wire transfer online on March 5.

He regularly transfers money between his HSBC account in Bermuda and his account in the UK, using a saved transfer template and simply changing the amounts each time.

The transfer was accepted and a confirmation advice appeared on the screen, showing his name and his British account number in the beneficiary fields. Mr Scotland shared a screen grab of the confirmation, including the transaction reference number.

His money never appeared in his British account, so he complained via the online HSBC Bermuda mail platform. He said he received two responses explaining that if he wanted the bank to look into where the funds had gone, he would have to pay a $50 fee.

The call from HSBC in Toronto came after he complained about the fee.

“The lack of customer service is unbelievable,” he said. “I received one call and that originated from Canada on Friday. That’s when she [the representative] told me she would waive the $50.

“I wasn’t even told how long it would take. It was only when I asked that I was told six to eight weeks. She got an earful from me. The transfer was on March 5 and I have got to wait six to eight weeks? It’s going to be May.

On Sunday, an HSBC customer service representative told Mr Scotland via e-mail: “We are sorry you have yet to receive a response. We have escalated this further to advise to treat this enquiry in urgency. We appreciate your patient (sic) and understanding.”

Yesterday afternoon, Mr Scotland said there was still no sign of the missing money and no further word from the bank on its inquiry. Further messages from him on the bank’s online platform and tweets to @HSBC_BDA had failed to prompt a response.

An HSBC spokeswoman said: “HSBC takes the issue of customer confidentiality very seriously and as such is not able to discuss any matters with respect to customers or purported customers.

“With respect to investigations relating to wire transfers, from time to time fees will apply where additional work is required.

“If in the course of an investigation we determine there was bank error, we would not charge a customer for the research.”