HSBC Informative - Deceptive Business Practices / HSBC Mortgage
BUFFALO, NEW YORK -- Do not use HSBC for mortgages or refinancing unless you love to go through hell and lose money. I have investigations ongoing from state and federal agencies along with the better business bureau into the business practices of HSBC Bank, Mortgage Division. The complaint concerns two issues:
1.) Deceptively assuring customers that loans were pre-approved to collect non-refundable application fees
2.) Performing fraudulent appraisals.
On February 5, 2008 I inquired online to HSBC Bank on the refinancing of my manufactured home. HSBC Bank is the current lender for my mortgage for over 15 months which I have had no prior issues with or had any late payments on, so I thought it was in my best interest to continue my business relationship with them. I received a call of pre-approval from [snip] of HSBC at 1-800-622-7759 ext. 6393 and she brought up my account and asked me for more personal information and brought up my credit report. At this time we locked in a rate at 5.6% and I was told that I would have to pre-pay a non-refundable application fee of $525.00. At the time she brought up my credit report, which is a credit score of 678 and said that with all of the information she had that the refinancing should go smoothly and quickly. Knowing that they manage my mortgage and have for over 15 months, I paid the $525.00 after being assured that the refinancing would be done. After several days I contacted Denise to see how the loan was progressing, and was told that HSBC does not refinance manufactured homes and that they would not able to refund the application fee of $525.00. Being that they have managed my account for over 15 months I was puzzled why they did not tell me that they could not refinance my home before they took my “non-refundable” application fee.
At this point I submitted a formal complaint and received a call from Denise’s supervisor. I explained my frustration that I was assured and pre-approved for a loan which they ultimately would not provide and that they would not refund my money. I would not have given them the application fee of $525.00 if I would have known they would not refinance my manufactured home. She told my that I had given Denise false information concerning the property type, for which I stated that not only did I not give any false information, but that they have all of my information from the current mortgage which would made it impossible to falsify my information. At this point she told me that HSBC buys mortgages in bundles and has no idea of what those mortgages are, but she would investigate.
She called the next day to inform me that HSBC would not refund my application fee of $525.00. I the told her that I could not believe that after 15 months of making thousands of dollars from me that this business relationship was going to go sour over $525.00. She then apologized and said that the $525.00 could not be refunded because it was used for an appraisal of my house. I told her that there was not an appraisal done of my house and she checked on her computer and said that one had been done. At this point I told her that I am a certified Appraiser II for the Property Tax division of the Arizona Department of Revenue and that a drive by picture of a house may justify as an appraisal in New York, but not in the State of Arizona. She then checked the computer again and said that a full appraisal had been done of my home. I told her that in order for a full appraisal to be done, the appraiser would have to enter my home and therefore I would have to be present or someone representing me would have to be there. She insisted that a full appraisal was done.
I then asked her how did someone get into my house and why would HSBC perform an appraisal on a house that they would not finance. She did not know. I then asked for the name and license number of the appraiser. She said that I would have to talk with underwriter [snip] at 1-800-432-5632 ext. 5173, but quickly said that she was not in that day.
I have left messages with Judy Harway, but she refuses to return my calls. At this point I felt that there was some kind of fraudulent or criminal business behavior going on and I wrote in another formal complaint to HSBC stating that I was going to file a complaint to the Comptroller of the Currency, the New York Attorney General’s office, the New York division of the Better Business Bureau and the United States Justice department asking for a full investigation into the mortgage practices and possible fraudulent appraisals performed by HSBC Bank. Since issuing complaints to state and federal agencies and multiple complaints to HSBC I have heard no response from HSBC and have not had any money refunded to me at this date.
The moral of this story is stay as far away from HSBC bank as possible. They will find a way, legally or not to take your money.