Ethics and service go out the window at: AutoTrader, Three, HSBC and Lloyd’s TSB

In last few months I’ve noticed big companies (many of them still profitable) behaving quite badly to me as a customer.

I’m assuming their service has gone out the window due to the recession.

So much for ‘corporate values’ eh?

Here’s a few examples:

AutoTrader ‘automatically’ renewed my friend’s car insurance, and without asking my permission, billed my credit card (I paid for it, my friend paid me back). When I have had car insurance in the past, this has never happened to me before. AutoTrader informed me it was all my fault and have been extremely rude. I am reporting them for fraud to my bank. I had not given them permission to take the money, after all.

HSBC refused to extend my overdraft, trying to force me to take a loan instead, over 12 months, at high interest, rather than give me £500 for two weeks (my previous estate agent is hanging on to my rental deposit after I moved for a few weeks while the person responsible for giving my money is on holiday). This is despite the fact I have banked with them since about 1986 and have an excellent credit score.

LLoyd’s TSB are demanding that our holding company (firmly in profit, never in debt, with millions in cash in their bank) delivers monthly management accounts to them, or they may withdraw banking services.

(Update 18/05/09) I contacted Lloyd’s CSR team about this, and they acted promptly by contacting our ‘relationship’ manager. Our ‘relationship’ manager at Lloyd’s denied they’ve done this, but then admitted today that the credit department may have. We’re still waiting for this to be resolved. Perhaps time to link up customer databases at Lloyd’s?)

Three The mobile phone company with zero interest in CSR, sold me a mobile broadband dongle that doesn’t work properly. They have failed to respond to letters of complaint about their service. When I went into one of their stores they told me I would have to get a lawyer to help me get out of the contract, even though they breached it, rather than me, by not providing the service promised.

This is disgraceful behaviour by these companies, at least two of which have “CSR” committments and ethical “policies”.

Ethics means a lot less in a recession for some firms. They should be ashamed of themselves.

We’ll be writing to their CEOs to detail the above. I will post any replies I get.

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