This is my experience with HSBC. I hold an HSBC Gold credit card. I made the payment towards the last statement balance by dropping a Canara bank cheque in their drop-box in Technopark (which is removed since then – may be due to cost cutting!) in the first week of March 2009. I got to know from HSBC that it would take up to 21 days for the clearance process, since it was an outstation cheque. Immediately afterwards, I found that a temporary purchase restraint was loaded on my card since the one I dropped was a high value cheque! The restraint effectively made my card inactive and useless. They told me that the restraint would be removed automatically once the cheque is cleared. I waited for them to debit the amount by clearing the cheque, but nothing happened. I was informed by Canara bank that the cheque was cleared on 23-Mar-2009! It has been more than 5 weeks since I had dropped the cheque, and still the card is inactive. During this time, I contacted the customer care through online and phone modes at least 15 times. They just don’t know what to advise! They ask me to do this and do that, but nothing seems to work. In general, it was a hopeless affair with them.
Frustrated with the customer care, I contacted people in the top brass and kind of threatened that I would contact Banking Ombudsman. The very next day, the restraint was unloaded and my card became active again!