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Written by Aaron Brigatti  
Monday, 18 July 2011

Well my remortgage was pending, and I noticed that there was a great offer from HSBC supporting a 2.29% mortgage rate, which is very competitive - and there was plenty of tempting features. No remortgage fees, no valuation fees, no early redemption fees - wow it sounded too good to be true, but I think it is this good!

Anyway, the remortgage was completed quite effectively - and during this process I requested £9k more than my current mortgage redemption figure amount, as I wanted to use this funds to cover the new ISA savings for 2011/2012. All seemed fine, and I was expecting the full amount to be released - £xk for the redemption with Nationwide, and the ~£9k to me as a cash advance.

This is where things started to be realised as an issue. The redemption with Nationwide was effective, but the £9k was not released to me. Apparently, HSBC only honour a redemption amount to the existing mortgage provider and does not link the remortgage application as an additional advance funds release (equity release). So the £9k was not going to be provided.

I questioned this as I stated that surely it was strange that I was asking such a high 'difference' between the mortgage balance and my requested mortgage advance. It materialised that what I had needed was to apply for a second loan (which HSBC call a "home owner loan" and there was no other way to receive this. I explained that this was not crystalied to me and that I would have requested this at the time of my application - which the Mortgage Manager dealing with my application commented that it would "match" my existing mortgage set-up (rate, duration, conditions etc). Anyway, I duly agreed to this home owner loan request, but it then materialised that the rate was 0.1% higher than my initial advance.

I had had enough, so filed this as a complaint to HSBC Complaints department. The Area Manager reviewed my case and admitted that there were a number of "learnings" noted, and things that they could have done better. The agreed to expedite my Home Owner loan application, and as I was about to go on holiday in April, he agreed to process the application so I had to he offer on my door-mat ready for signing upon my return. Finally, I said to myself.

Upon my return, I sifted through my amil, and no letter from HSBC. I visited the branch, and received a phone call from the Area Manager. He advised that due to compliance requirements, he had to receive 3 more recent payslips. I explained that this was not what he explained to me before my holiday, which he accepted - we discussed compensation and he agreed to offer me £100. I emailed him the payslips and he duly processed the Loan Application promptly thereafter. He actually advised me that they had suspended the Mortgage Manager dealing with my original mortgage application, whilst my complaint was investigated.

I received a letter from the area manager, which confirmed what he had told me verbally - but one thing he omitted was the reference to the £100 compensation. I simply had had enough (again!).

So in late-June, I decided to send a more formal letter of complaint to the Head Office outlining the catalogue of failings and requested £250 in compensation - non negotiatoable. Today, I received a far more apologetic response, accepting the shortcomings, during my previous communications and more recently - and provided me the cheque for £250 without question. They accepted that there were significant learnings with the communication and accepted that what been offered verbally had not been confirmed in writing - which was a further mistake (re the £100 compensation offer).

At least companies do put their hands up when they do wrong once in a while!


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