06 September, 2010

Autopay Anger

(Monday, September 06, 2010 in Standard)

These days big businesses in Hong Kong are anything but ethical in dealing with customers.
I recently tried to terminate my broadband service with PCCW after the contract had expired. But the company continued to charge against my credit card by autopay.

When I instructed my bank, the reputable HSBC, to stop further payment while I was taking up the case with OFTA, my bank replied that it had no authority to do so.

It could only pass on my request to the payee bank of PCCW, the logic being that autopay is an electronic transaction that once commenced, cannot be stopped manually unless with the agreement of the payee.

That's really funny. HSBC's logic would have meant that if somebody misused your card without authorization, they would still duly honor the payment at your peril. And a transaction cannot be stopped because it is electronic? I wonder who has the authority to commence an electronic transaction in the first place, if not a human? Surely HSBC does not operate our accounts by some unknown artificial intelligence?

I am sure my bank, in its defense, can refer me to some fine print on the credit card contract or something like that. But this is really running against common sense.

I am saddened that this is a bank that is such a household name in Hong Kong and we have so long trusted, but now seems to have degenerated into the same kind of standards as those telecom operators.