FCA to investigate HSBC over credit card charges

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The FCA is to investigate HSBC over claims of “improper practices” relating to credit card customers being overcharged.

The action follows a ruling from the Complaints Commissioner, which investigates complaints against the regulator, which says the FCA’s original work had “serious failings”, the Guardian reports.

Commissioner Antony Townsend was responding to a complaint made by former lawyer Nicholas Wilson who has spent 12 years battling the bank.

Customers of HFC Bank, which was acquired by HSBC in 2003, were found to have been charged “improperly”. This is not disputed and the bank scrapped the charging structure in 2010.

However, the Commissioner found the FCA’s process for dealing with complaints was “unacceptable”, adding the regulator’s “defensiveness is wholly unsatisfactory”.

In his response to Wilson he says: “It is essential that the reconsideration includes a full analysis of the harm which was caused by the improper practices, including the number of customers affected and whether, as you allege, there is continuing overcharging – further inquiries may need to be made to establish this.”

The FCA says: “Following the complaints commissioner decision, the FCA can confirm that it will reconsider its decision not to look into allegations made in relation to the debt collection practices of HFC Bank Limited. The FCA will be issuing an apology to the complainant shortly.”

HSBC says: “We will cooperate fully with any requests from the FCA on this matter.”