TONY HETHERINGTON: HSBC bank reference error cost £7,600

Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday’s ace investigator, fighting readers corners, revealing the truth that lies behind closed doors and winning victories for those who have been left out-of-pocket. Find out how to contact him below. 

M.H. writes: I asked HSBC to transfer €200,000 (about £178,000) from my account to currency broker Moneycorp’s account at Barclays. 

HSBC made the transfer but omitted a necessary reference and the funds are still missing. 

Tony Hetherington replies: Even before I stepped in, HSBC was frank with you and admitted responsibility. You gave me a copy of the bank’s debit advice showing the transfer, and the space for a reference is simply blank. This meant that Barclays did not know what to do with the money when it arrived. 

Two days after I contacted HSBC, it traced the missing euros and Barclays reversed the transfer. But by then the exchange rate had shifted against you and you had also lost the chance to invest in the bond you had chosen. All in all, your savings were on the missing list for 54 days due to HSBC’s error. During this time, the exchange rate swung between about €1.12 and €1.17 to the pound, which made a huge difference to the sterling value. 

HSBC told me: ‘Due to human error, the required reference was not included in the transaction that left Mr H’s HSBC UK account, which meant that it was not received as it should have been by Barclays.’ HSBC assured me that it would ‘absolutely make sure’ you were not out of pocket because of exchange rate movements, and would also compensate you and make up for potential lost interest. 

The bank has been as good as its word. HSBC has paid £8,786 into your account. This includes more than £6,000 to make up for exchange rate losses, more than £1,600 for lost interest, and a further £1,000 as a goodwill payment by way of apologising for its original mistake. 

You have confirmed that the payment has arrived – as well as the original missing euros, of course.

Source of data and images: dailymail

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