Issued 18 December 2002-03/087
HSBC to refund customers for undisclosed transaction fees
In a settlement with the Commerce Commission, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) has admitted
breaching the Fair Trading Act and agreed to refund customers for undisclosed transaction fees overcharged since 1996.
A Commission investigation revealed that errors in HSBC’s computer system resulted in the bank charging customers an
additional and undisclosed transaction fee of 35 cents for a range of services including auto-payment services and
The investigation prompted HSBC to take a more in-depth look at its systems, which revealed that the problem was more
widespread than originally thought. HSBC subsequently reported to the Commission that a wider range of transactions was
affected and that the problems had existed since approximately 1996.
Commission Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said that the estimated total amount of overcharging related to
these undisclosed transaction fees was over $23,000.
“This is a clear example to businesses that they are accountable for mistakes that disadvantage their customers”, she
“HSBC has acted responsibly and co-operatively throughout the investigation, and has worked quickly to rectify the
situation”, Ms Battell added.
Commission media releases can be viewed on its web site www.comcom.govt.nz