Reversing Bank Fees

So I screwed up big time. What was supposed to be transferring money from my Fidelity account to my HSBC account ended up being reversed. What was worse was the fact that the amount of money being transferred to my HSBC account was a bit over what my balance there was. I didn’t notice this problem until Quicken told me I had $4,000 more in my Fidelity account.

So I went to Fidelity and indeed it noted that I had made a transfer from HSBC to Fidelity. I was like oh shit. I call Fidelity and they were pretty awesome. They told me since I didn’t have enough balance in my HSBC account to cover the transfer, I should wait a day or 2 and my transfer would bounce and at which point everything should be back to normal. I asked if there were any associated fees due to this mistake and he said Fidelity doesn’t charge these types of fees. Wow! I couldn’t believe what I heard.

So I log onto my HSBC account and I noticed a $33 “NSF FEE FOR UNPOSTED DEBIT …” had already been charged to my account. NSF stands for “Non Sufficient Funds”. I was like oh crap. There goes half my interest I accrued this year. I actually started thinking if this would be tax deductible as it was a direct hit to my interest.

Anyway, I gave HSBC a call, not really hoping for much. After going through their automated answering machine, I finally got to an operator (took about 2 minutes). I told him my situation and pointed out the fee and asked if there was anything I could do to reverse it. He said since this was an online account, he would have to transfer me to the online department. Due to high call volumes, he would also not be able to introduce me to the other service rep. I said that was okay.

About 30 seconds later, the online department rep answers and I tell him the same story. He said the fee was due to insufficient funds. I asked if there was any way to reverse it and he said it was non-negotiable. I explained to him my situation about how it was a mistake and I’ve already called Fidelity and they’ve already fixed the mistake on their end and will be depositing the correct amount to HSBC in the next day or 2. I also pointed out that the $33 fee seemed a bit extreme.

He paused for moment and then mentioned as a “one-time courtesy”, he’ll reverse the fee and advised me to be careful of what my balance is next time I make a payment. I thanked him over and over and then we parted ways.

Another aspect I think that helps when I negotiate with customer service representatives is that about 90% of those who I speak to always call me maam. I’m guessing their system doesn’t tell them what gender I am. I never bother correcting them because I think customer service reps tend to be nicer to women, but that could just be me.

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