A mother-of-three was mortified when her bank account was suddenly frozen without warning – and with no way to buy food for her children.
Demi Wellings, from Northfield, Birmingham, has no money to buy food or heat her house just as her three children have split up for half the semester.
The 35-year-old said her son was in tears when she called HSBC on Wednesday afternoon to ask why her card had been mysteriously denied over a bottle of milk.
However, the account manager was unable to explain why she was banned from making any payments or using online banking.
Demi has been using a standard HSBC bank account to receive her benefits and pay her bills for over a year.
But now the family only has enough for the next few days and cannot afford the heating.
The mother even had to take her young son to the doctor on Thursday morning for a fever she believes was the result of a “freezing cold” night’s sleep.
She said: “I have no family to turn to. It’s literally about me and my kids and I’m going to be absolutely screwed with my finances.
“I don’t know how to get food, I couldn’t even get milk yesterday.
“I’m just so stressed I don’t know who to turn to if I’m being honest.
“I have to feed my kids somehow, but I don’t know how to do it.”
After the shocking discovery and unhelpful first call to HSBC, Demi made eight calls over the next 48 hours to a customer service team who she described as “disgusting”.
She claimed when she called the bank they repeatedly addressed her rudely and hung up on three separate occasions because they couldn’t answer her questions.
Demi added: “They locked me out completely, I’ve called 8 times now, been spoken to very rudely, hung up and told they can’t put me through to anyone.
“Basically, I explained that last night – I need access to my money, I have two young children under the age of 10, I didn’t have any milk last night, I didn’t get any petrol so we absolutely froze.
“Her words from HSBC were, ‘Well, it’s a shame about the kids’, which was absolutely disgusting.”
Demi said an HSBC representative told her she could still access her money by making a cash withdrawal at her local branch.
But after declaring she couldn’t leave the house due to her mental health, she was reportedly told that wasn’t HSBC’s problem.
She added: “I have explained my extenuating circumstances to my mental health – I am in no position to do so.
“And once again their response was, ‘It has nothing to do with us. It’s unfortunate that there’s nothing we can do.’
“It’s her favorite word – unhappy.”
Demi usually uses her card to order groceries online and pay for gas to heat the house, but she’s going without both for now.
She said: “I have a little bit [of food]obviously it won’t hold me for long.
“We were frozen through and then my son woke up badly this morning and he had to go to the doctor.
I’m still disgusted
“He had a high fever, which probably has something to do with how cold it was.”
Demi was furious with her treatment from HSBC’s customer service team.
She said: “They refused to give us the call reference numbers, they said they didn’t have them.
“They refused to give us their names, anything. I had pen and paper handy.
“I’m still disgusted, I got physically nauseous from the stress this morning and I’m suffering from depression.
“And my partner is disabled and he had to try and run across Birmingham last night to borrow money from his mum to try and get us a bottle of milk.”
A spokesman for HSBC said: “We take customer service very seriously and regret that Ms Wellings has not had a good experience.
“We are urgently looking into her complaint and the allegations she has made, but her account is currently under review and suspended while we comply with our legal requirements.
“We apologize as we know this may cause some uncertainty and inconvenience and we aim to complete our review as soon as possible.”