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HSBC to refund customers for undisclosed fees

Media Release

Issued 18 December 2002-03/087

HSBC to refund customers for undisclosed transaction fees

In a settlement with the Commerce Commission, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) has admitted breaching the Fair Trading Act and agreed to refund customers for undisclosed transaction fees overcharged since 1996.

A Commission investigation revealed that errors in HSBC’s computer system resulted in the bank charging customers an additional and undisclosed transaction fee of 35 cents for a range of services including auto-payment services and manual transactions.

The investigation prompted HSBC to take a more in-depth look at its systems, which revealed that the problem was more widespread than originally thought. HSBC subsequently reported to the Commission that a wider range of transactions was affected and that the problems had existed since approximately 1996.

Commission Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said that the estimated total amount of overcharging related to these undisclosed transaction fees was over $23,000.

“This is a clear example to businesses that they are accountable for mistakes that disadvantage their customers”, she said.

“HSBC has acted responsibly and co-operatively throughout the investigation, and has worked quickly to rectify the situation”, Ms Battell added.


Commission media releases can be viewed on its web site www.comcom.govt.nz

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