August 22, 2008

HSBC discriminates against 18 year olds who have not passed their driving test.

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My son, John, visited HSBC, Coventry, Cathedral Lanes, for the 3rd time recently to change to a Student account. The first time they told him that all he needed was his University place confirmation letter from UCAS. He returned with the UCAS letter, and other ID because he had just organised a large Building Society cheque, to be asked for photoID.

Photocard for Drivers LicenceJohn produced his Photocard Provisional Drivers Licence which they rejected because he was over 18 and it was a provisional licence.
Some photocard benefits from the site include;
  • A secure format reduces the chance for misrepresentation
  • Makes certain that the person getting a provisional licence, taking the test and getting a full driving licence is one and the same
  • Makes certain that the person obtaining the licence is the right age to do so.
    The main road-safety reason the DVLA insists on the full Photocard for learners was to eliminate impersonation at driving tests.

So I was dragged out to fetch his 5 year old passport, with photo of a child 4” shorter, and letters from Building Society, Student Finance and his University. These are all rejected because these were not on their list of letters HSBC will accept to prove residence. They asked him for utility bills or a bank statement from another bank! Even at 18, John just suggested that if he needed to open another bank account he would close his HSBC one. Then they finally conceded to upgrade his account – already an over 18, full account.

Complaints have finally extracted a promise to send a letter of apology to John as the branch conceeds they should not have demanded evidence of residence as he had banked with them for 7 years from the same address. They still stand by their policy on the photocard; which is not only wrong but discrimination on age and the ability to drive! Other banks and mutuals accept the Photocard.

My older son went through the same problems 2 years ago before switching out to the Warwick campus branch. It turns out that Coventry University has their own branch these days too and I am convinced that the Cathedral Lanes branch just don’t want students.

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