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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50145
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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HSBC in UK have suspended my account pending investigation

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HSBC in UK have suspended my account pending investigation into my company this despite me giving all information they asked for in NOvember last year.
How should I proceed

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

How far have you gone with the bank's own internal complaints procedure?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did send the information they requested on the 18th November by UPS Courrier. Since then I have answered more questions via telephone and was advised that everything was in ordder and thet the process of unblocking the account would proceed, this was FRiday 7th April, since then I have called every day. Today I called the complaints dept and they advised that the legal team were finalising the case
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
meanwhile my creditors are taking legal action against me and I am being charged interest of the outstanding payment. HSBC are sitting on around Euro 150,000 of my money which I cannot touch
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
hello are you there

Yes still here, are you able to take out any loans to cover these payments in the meantime?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I dont need to take a loan as I am still trading
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thats not ther issue, I need to release the money thats blocked
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
this is taking too long
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry but you are very slow and non responsive, I need quicker answers otherwise I will ask for a refund

I am a lawyer, not a typist I'm afraid, so typing answers will take some time especially when I have to look at things in relation to this whilst composing my answer

No I understand I was just finding out more about your position. OK, the issue is that there is no easy way to force the release of the money and for the bank to promptly resolve this. There are likely to be complex investigations or deliberations going on in the background to determine the position and whether there are sufficient reasons to justify its release. That is why I was asking how far you had gone along with the complaints process because before you can engage a third party you would have to have been through the bank’s full complaints process and received a final decision from them. Therefore at the start you are very much limited to only communicating with the bank directly and raising a formal complaint over this to try and get it resolved internally. Of course they may not necessarily be as helpful as you may want them to be or deal with this as efficiently as you may expect them but it is still a requirement to try and resolve this directly with them fist before you take this any further. Hence why I wanted to check if you can potentially take out a loan to cover these payments to take the pressure off and then either pay these off when the matter is resolved or pursue the bank for it in due course if they unreasonably withhold the money over a prolonged period of time.

Once you have reached the stage where a final decision has been communicated by the bank, you can consider taking this to a third party, namely the Financial Ombudsman. They will have the opportunity to look into this from an independent perspective and can communicate with the bank over what has happened so far in the process. They can then make an independent decision which can be binding on the bank, i.e. they can force the bank to do something like unfreeze your account and return some or all of the funds.

Finally, you can consider going to court but this is the most expensive and risky option so ideally you need to go through the above two first before you consider that. But a court would not automatically rule in your favour if the bank had reasonable grounds to do what they have done so it would all depend on why they had frozen the account in the first place and their reasons, therefore it all depends on what evidence they provide. I would hope it does not get that far though and you would also get a good feel of your position once the Ombudsman has made a decision and this would allow you to determine if court is a wise option.

In any event, the main point I wish to make is that there is no quick fix to this. That is the unfortunate reality but as long as you are aware and adjust your expectations based on that you can proceed with a more structured approach using the above options. Does this clarify things a bit for you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not really, I have already contacted the Ombudsman and they advised they cannot help because my company employing 7 people with a turnover of Euro 5 million is too small

Was the Financial Ombudsman in the UK?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have already asked HSBC if they could pay directly my creditors and they refused

looks like your turnover is too big as it is up to 2m euros turnover that would be covered. So you either have to continue directly with HSBC or go to court. Dealing directly with them means that you are relying on their own efficiency and pace of dealing with this, which of course is no guarantee of a prompt resolution

Which leaves you with court action but you would need specialist lawyers for this type of claim to make sure you get it right

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK thanks for your reply, I do not wish to proceed with you any further

No problem and all the best

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