HSBC refunds three years of monthly charges to customers

HSBC has given a refund to its advance customers for service fees charged to their accounts.

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DUBAI // Confused but delighted customers were thousands of dirhams better off after their bank refunded charges it says it imposed for more than three years.

HSBC said that in 2010 it had abolished the Dh100 monthly fee charged to its Advance customers, but some customers had continued to be charged the fee.

The affected account holders were advised by text message, and invited to visit an HSBC customer service centre, where they could obtain a refund, which the bank described as a goodwill gesture.

One customer, who received Dh3,600 in refunded charges, said he was told by a customer-service assistant that the fee had initially been imposed because of “missing customer information”, such as a valid residence visa copy or a salary certificate.

And even though the fee had been charged since he opened his account in 2007, only a maximum of three years of back fees would be refunded.

“I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth,” he said, “but I can’t get over the feeling something’s amiss. The explanation didn’t make much sense to me.

“In my experience, banks don’t voluntarily give money back to customers.

“And even if there has been a change in policy and the fee no longer applies, then why would they retrospectively give the fee back?”

Another customer said she was unhappy that only three years of fees were being returned.

“If the bank believes the fee was wrong, then why not return all of it, from the past seven years? I feel like they’re trying to get away with paying as little as possible.

“But why pay anything at all? The explanations don’t make sense.”

* This story has been amended since it was first published.