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Mon 22 Feb 2010 10:45 AM

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HSBC apologises for weekend ATM shutdown

System upgrade left customers unable to withdraw cash, use online services.

HSBC apologises for weekend ATM shutdown

HSBC has apologised to UAE customers after a system shutdown left them unable to withdraw cash or use online banking services last weekend, and said that future shutdowns would be adequately flagged up beforehand.

“I can assure you that there has been a conversation subsequently and this won’t happen again, this lack of notification. It won’t happen again,” Tim Harrison, a spokesman for the bank, told Arabian Business.

“There was a sign on the website and there were signs in the branches, but obviously with a lot of remote ATMs we were unable to put signs up everywhere,” he added.

HSBC is believed to have in the region of half a million customers in the UAE. The shutdown was the result of a systems upgrade carried out in coordination with London branches, Harrison said.

“We had a systems issue on Friday and ATMs and internet banking were not working for about eight hours on Friday morning and early afternoon. It was all up and running by mid-afternoon. It was just the UAE,” he said.

HSBC customer Kathryn Smith, an expatriate living in Dubai, said: “My weekend plans were completely ruined by not being able to get money out of the ATM on Friday morning. It is astonishing that HSBC cannot even send me a text to tell me I can’t get access to my money when they are so good at contacting me every time they want me to give them money.”

In the first six months of 2009, HSBC’s operations in the Middle East turned a profit of some $643m. In January the bank delayed for the second time plans to give UAE customers debit cards.

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Nuts 9 years ago

If a customer, delays the payment of money to the bank by a day (actually, beyond the counter time which is not even a full day) the bank is authorised to charge interest at normal or exhorbitant rates. So what happens when the bank delays payment of money to the customer which is placed on "Demand" basis. Should there not be a financial penalty? If a verbal or public apology is sufficient, should'nt the same be acceptable from the customer's for delayed payments? Just thinking out loud.

Jose De Souza 9 years ago

So how much money did HSBC make by forcing customers to use other ATMs. If we knew how many transactions there were we'd just have to multiply it by the AED2 fee they levy on every transaction!

Mad Murdoch 9 years ago

Typical reaction of every bank. You make a mistake - we charge you. We make a mistake - tough luck.

UAE Doug 9 years ago

Interesting - apologies all round and after the event - but not so when duplicate charges are posted to one's credit card - if the customer is wrong HSBC charge 100AED - if the customer is right - no apology and compensation for the time visiting the bank - signing forms and waiting - just a curt note (after resolution) that the money has been put back onto the card account - if you ask me pretty typical of the bank service incountry!! And notwithstanding all of that, large ticket item disagreements, which are promised to be resolved in just 4 days, remain outstanding after 55 days thus far!! and require the customer to chase regularly!! What happened to my money please?

charles 9 years ago

Agree Kevin. HSBC is probably the least worst bank in UAE. However they clearly do not care. they keep trying to excel themselves in anti-customer service activities. I am sure there is a competition amongst their staff as to who can upset customers the most. Sadly, being the least worst bank, means there is not much else out there as an alternative. If only we customers had a choice....

Stuart 9 years ago

The outage didn't just affect HSBC ATM's during the weekend - I now know the reason for repeatedly getting a "issuer unavailable" message whenever I tried any ATM's from any bank when using my HSBC card. Also, the online banking was down for a little while on sunday morning too with a simple "system error" message when logging on. Later that day it was back, with an apology message from HSBC, which I assumed was for that outage, but maybe was in relation to the weekend outage? I could go on about the 2 dhms charge for using other bank ATM's, or for even checking your balance on an ATM machine but it's nothing new, and is in their terms & conditions, whether you agree with it or not (I don't by the way, but it's an easy revenue generator I guess for the banks).

Robert 9 years ago

"HSBC the worlds local bank" - Not if you are living in Dubai as all online customer service and phone banking is outsourced to Delhi India!!

stuart 9 years ago

Its interesting to see HSBC described as the least worst bank, They should advise there customers on the charges and exchange rate losses incurred by the account holders when send TT to home countries, which im sure that many of us do regularly to cover mortgages etc. These can only be described as highway robbery. Just proves i pays to shop around, Raptus regaliter

GWhiz 9 years ago

Banks run the world, full stop.

Raed Sami 9 years ago

HSBC : Actually a motto that bank employees live by, Happy, Satisfied & Before Costumers I agree, HSBC is not a customer service oriented but recently I noticed that even valid complains, with requested to talk to a manager to resolve pending matters are not even looked at but ignored. A simple case, over 45 days now, 2 requested were submitted to renew a credit card and a debit card. Just recently, I got my debit card but no pin code yet .. I spoke a very friendly person, he advised me to wait as it might take 4 more days .. that was 10 days again. I can never talk to the same person twice, they all sound the same but as if instructed to change names for two reasons, one they can lie to you without accountability and the second reason is to show that they actually hire so many, in fact there are maybe five only .. On another incident, a standing order for a certain defined amount that takes place every month for the last 15 months, just recently dropped in amount slightly but enough for the receiving part to reject 3 payments .. Now, we are still trying to locate the 3 missing payments, MIA Can’t complain more .. Enough for one day as my blood pressure has been on the upper side for 45 days now ..