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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bad Customer Service Experience From the HSBC Credit Card

I have been in dilemma on whether to post my bad experience with the customer service from HSBC but in the end I decided to post my story here so that more people are aware of some of the bad services by certain banks, and this is not limited to HSBC. If I have bad experience with other credit card issuers in the future, I might post it here as well.

I know that not all customer service are perfect, but at least what they should do is to provide the best customer service that can satisfy their customer.

Being the HSBC credit card user for about four years, I feel that HSBC has been doing alright to retain and to satisfy their customer. Why? Because there was once that my dad has lost his wallet and we called to block the card, and immediately the CS offered to send a replacement card and he received his card within three days. However, my experience with the replacement card is totally contrast with what my dad has experienced.

Ok, the following is what I have been experiencing and I am actually still waiting for my replacement card when I am posting this. The whole fiasco actually began somewhere in mid of August, think it was 19th of the month if I can recall properly.

First of all, there was a fraud transaction which HSBC manage to catch, which is good and leads to my credit card blocked with the promise of delivering me a new credit card within few working days (three working days was what I heard on the phone conversation). Granted, it did not happened and so I called the CS and was told by another CS rep that my card was not issued and will issue it and deliver to me in about another few working days.

Few days past, I called again as I have yet to received my replacement card, and the CS told me that I have to wait for another few more days and if I still have yet to received the replacement card, call back to the CS to check on the status. This loop goes on for like few weeks, I keep calling and getting the same reply over and over again and in the end one month past, and guess where is my card - answer is still in hyperspace.

I know that there is a holiday season during the Hari Raya and the Malaysia Day. But the holiday season is just one week, and it has been a month since this thing started. If I got my replacement card a week later than expected, then it is understandable, but now it is a month and best of all, I still don't have the replacement card.

I am really curious on what are the actions taken on Pos since the CS are talking that the Pos people are responsible for it? Is it the correct way to ask the customer to keep waiting and calling and there is no action taken?

I'm not saying that I am a big user of the HSBC credit card, and that I am desperate for the card, but, I am most worry that someone has took it and start charging it without my knowledge. Does it really make sense for the credit card issuer to use a normal mail that is without tracking to send out credit cards to their customers? Is this one of the cost cutting measure by HSBC? If the card was sent via courier services, the CS would have know where the credit card is, now, all of them are not sure.

Ok, let me do a comparison here. I am also credit card user from another bank, say the bank is XXXX, and what I like about XXXX is that the credit card was sent via a courier service. What I like best is not just that, when the card actually sent out from XXXX, I got a message that the card was sent and I should be expecting the card anytime.

Now people, we know that credit card is an important stuff that should not be sent using a normal postal service that the issuer or the customer cannot track on the status of the delivery. What if the card actually landed to the wrong hand and people starting to charge the card? Who is going to pay for it? The CS told me that we have to call the CS to activate the card, but what if the "hijacker" is very good in social engineering and manage to crack out the activation process?

In my opinion, credit card should be delivered via courier services no matter how costly it is to do so. It is just plain stupid to use normal postal service and just plain dumb reason saying that most customer prefer to get their credit card via the normal postal service instead of courier service. I'm saying this because when I asked about why it is not delivered using courier service like last time when I first have my card, the CS reply me with the dumbest reason that anyone could have think off.

So, after reading my story, one might asked, why not just terminate the card? Well, that is because I am waiting refund from another merchant which is why I cannot terminate it at will and in fact this is also the reason why I do not want to have the replacement card re-issue as what the CS just told me recently. In the meantime, I have no choice but to wait for weeks after weeks for my card that is still in hyperspace, until the merchant has refund me.

Anyway, this has really prompted me to think twice in renewing the credit card service in near future and in fact prompted me to start blacklisting the credit card issuer, although it used to have the the best service among all the credit cards that I have been using.

With other banks' services and privileges are slowly catching up and higher credit limit, given a choice now, I definitely have no qualm in terminating the HSBC credit card.

I seriously hope those customers that are facing the same issue as me will do the same, though I will educate potential credit cards user not to select HSBC as their choice through my blog and word of mouth to all new hires in my company.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Forbes 400: The Richest People in America

So, do you know who are the richest people in the United States of America? Well, the top two people in the America seems to remain in their position. They are Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Both of them are still on top despite being generous.

Read below for full story that I get from the Forbes 400: The Richest People in America from Yahoo Finance. Since the article is too long, I'll share it in this blog by separating the articles into few parts.

It has been a year of reclamation for America's richest. The total worth of the Forbes 400 was up 8% to $1.37 trillion, well out-earning the 1% rise in the S&P over the same period of time. More than half (217) are richer than they were a year ago.

The headline number tells a partial story. Just over one-third of the 400 failed to add to their fortunes or lost ground. Still far above us is the record of $1.57 trillion in total net worth set in 2008.

But the very top of the list gained, as good friends Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were up $4 billion and $5 billion, respectively. They, too, are short of their personal highs. Gates, who in March lost his title of world's richest person to Mexico's Carlos Slim, is still America's richest person — for the 17th year in a row.

Las Vegas gaming tycoon Sheldon Adelson was the kid, or "comeback adolescent," as he calls himself. "I'm too old to be a kid," he told Forbes. The largest shareholder of Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS - News) is the year's biggest dollar gainer. His casino's shares are up 1,500% since their 2009 low. Adelson is now the 13th richest American, worth $14.7 billion, up $5.7 billion from last year — though nowhere close to his $28 billion net worth in 2007, when he ranked third among Americans.

The biggest gainer in percentage terms is Mark Zuckerberg, who more than tripled his fortune to $6.9 billion. The more conservative private valuation of Facebook is now around $23 billion; illiquid shares in the secondary markets point to an even richer valuation. Two of his cofounders are in the ranks for the first time: Eduardo Saverin and Dustin Moskovitz, both classmates of Zuckerberg's at Harvard. Moskovitz, who is eight days younger than Zuckerberg, now has bragging rights as the world's youngest billionaire. The Facebook cofounders are among 16 newcomers on this year's list. Other notables include Dean Metropoulos, whose private equity firm recently bought Pabst Brewing; Terrence Pegula, who sold his Pennsylvania mining outfit to Royal Dutch Shell (Nasdaq: RDSA - News) for $4.7 billion in May; and Elaine Wynn, whose divorce from casino magnate Steve Wynn was finalized in January.

The price of admission to the 400 is back up to the $1 billion mark. Last year it was $950 million, the first time since 2005 it had fallen below 10 figures. The most notable of the 18 returnees is Ford Motor (NYSE: F - News) scion William Ford Sr., who made the cut after a four-year absence as the automobile company's stock hit five-year highs.

Thirty-four people fell from the ranks, a number of whom just barely missed the cut. At least two saw their fortunes unravel. Tamir Sapir, a former taxi driver who built a real estate fortune, owes at least $340 million for nonpayment of loans, his creditors say. He may be suffering from deteriorating mental condition. Hedge fund chief Raj Rajaratnam faces insider trading charges.

Nine of the drop-offs fell off the list permanently. John Kluge passed away this summer. He was America's richest man from 1989 to 1991, before losing the title to Bill Gates. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died in July just after his 80th birthday.

Our estimates of public fortunes are a snapshot of wealth on Aug. 25, 2010, the date we locked in net worths and rankings. We have not included dispersed fortunes (as in those of the Du Ponts) when individual net worths are below our minimum. But we do include wealth belonging to a member's immediate relatives if the wealth can ultimately be traced to one living individual; in that case, "& family" indicates that the number shown includes money belonging to more than one person.

1. Bill Gates
Net Worth: $54 billion
Source: Microsoft
Residence: Medina, Wash.
Age: 54

The software king is not the world's richest man but that's because he is the most generous person on the planet: To date he has cut checks totaling $28 billion. (Even so, Gates is still America's richest person, topping The Forbes 400 for the 17th straight year.) Most of his donations have passed through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which now has a $33 billion endowment, including contributions from his buddy and bridge partner Warren Buffett. The foundation has given money for the prevention of 5 million deaths from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis; now it's undertaking the eradication of polio. It is also fighting hunger by helping 400,000 farmers in Asia and Africa with rice varieties that resist cold, flooding and drought, and by giving 100,000 farmers on those two continents access to small-scale and cheap irrigation systems. As the foundation accelerates, Microsoft is stuck in neutral. Gates' stake in the company he cofounded is now worth $16 billion; its stock is flat over the last year, despite the release of a new Windows operating system and heavy investments in online advertising and games. Gates regularly sells shares in the software giant, pouring proceeds into investment outfit Cascade, which accounts for 70% of his wealth. Other investments include trash-collector Republic Services, investment firm Gamco, AutoNation and an inflation-hedging fund.

2. Warren Buffett
Net Worth: $45 billion
Source: Berkshire Hathaway
Residence: Omaha, Neb.
Age: 80

Along with bridge partner Bill Gates, the Oracle of Omaha is coaxing America's richest to pledge half their fortunes to charity. "You keep making the list, I'll keep milking it." Buffett plans to give away 99% of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Buffett children, and it all has to be spent 10 years after he's gone. "Too often a vast collection of possessions ends up possessing its owner. The asset I most value, aside from health, is interesting, diverse and long-standing friends." Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway continues its capital stewardship excellence, beating the S&P by 15 percentage points over the past 12 months. Secret to success: emotional stability. "When you come to a conclusion, you have to really not care what other people say." Buffett faked breathing problems when he was 12 so he could move back to Omaha from Washington, D.C., where his father was a freshman congressman. He had read every book about investing in stocks in the Omaha Public Library by the time he was 12. He met value investor Benjamin Graham at Columbia; bought textile firm Berkshire Hathaway 1965, and transformed it into massive holding company: food, insurance, utilities, industrials. Buffett acquired railroad giant Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $26 billion in 2009.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How The Global Competitiveness Index Is Calculated?

I posted something on The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 last week and get a comment from a reader named Aaron asking on how the Global Competitiveness Index is calculated by the World Economic Forum. The following is his comment

aaron said...

So how is the Global Competitiveness Index calculated and what does this say about the economy, as I see that Canada has slipped down one place too?

As we all know, all these reports and indexes are just number that the World Economic Forum put in based on their perception using some of the guidelines from the forum.

To me, the drop of a country in the Global Competitiveness Index means one and only thing - too many red tapes which makes it difficult to do a business with the nation. Well, that is just my opinion. Anyway after getting the comment from Aaron, I feel that it is also good for me to learn new stuff by learning how the Global Competitiveness Index is calculated by the World Economic Forum, thus I do a search from the World Economic Forum website.

The following is what I get from the World Economic Forum FAQ regarding how the Global Competitiveness Index is calculated:-

The Global Competitiveness Index or in short GCI is made up of over 113 variables, of which approximately one two thirds come from the Executive Opinion Survey, and one third comes from publicly available sources. The variables are organized into 12 pillars, with each pillar representing an area considered as an important determinant of competitiveness:

* Institutions
* Infrastructure
* Macroeconomic stability
* Health and primary education
* Higher education and training
* Goods market efficiency
* Labor market efficiency
* Financial market sophistication
* Technological readiness
* Market size
* Business sophistication
* Innovation

The impact of each pillar on competitiveness varies across countries, in function of their stages of economic development. In order to take this reality into account in the calculation of the GCI, pillars are given different weights.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011

The US which has just lost the pole position to Switzerland in the Global Competitiveness Report not long ago slips another two places in the latest report by the World Economic Forum, overtaken by Sweden and Singapore. Malaysia also slipped 2 places while the United Kingdom which has recently slipped move back up by one place to 12th position.

Click on Read More to get the full list of The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 by World Economic Forum.

Country/Economy GCI 2010 GCI 2009 Change 2009-2010
Rank Score Rank
Switzerland 1 5.63 1 0
Sweden 2 5.56 4 2
Singapore 3 5.48 3 0
United States 4 5.43 2 -2
Germany 5 5.39 7 2
Japan 6 5.37 8 2
Finland 7 5.37 6 -1
Netherlands 8 5.33 10 2
Denmark 9 5.32 5 -4
Canada 10 5.30 9 -1
Hong Kong SAR 11 5.27 11 0
United Kingdom 12 5.25 13 1
Taiwan, China 13 5.21 12 -1
Norway 14 5.14 14 0
France 15 5.13 16 1
Australia 16 5.11 15 -1
Qatar 17 5.10 22 5
Austria 18 5.09 17 -1
Belgium 19 5.07 18 -1
Luxembourg 20 5.05 21 1
Saudi Arabia 21 4.95 28 7
Korea, Rep. 22 4.93 19 -3
New Zealand 23 4.92 20 -3
Israel 24 4.91 27 3
United Arab Emirates 25 4.89 23 -2
Malaysia 26 4.88 24 -2
China 27 4.84 29 2
Brunei Darussalam 28 4.75 32 4
Ireland 29 4.74 25 -4
Chile 30 4.69 30 0
Iceland 31 4.68 26 -5
Tunisia 32 4.65 40 8
Estonia 33 4.61 35 2
Oman 34 4.61 41 7
Kuwait 35 4.59 39 4
Czech Republic 36 4.57 31 -5
Bahrain 37 4.54 38 1
Thailand 38 4.51 36 -2
Poland 39 4.51 46 7
Cyprus 40 4.50 34 -6
Puerto Rico 41 4.49 42 1
Spain 42 4.49 33 -9
Barbados 43 4.45 44 1
Indonesia 44 4.43 54 10
Slovenia 45 4.42 37 -8
Portugal 46 4.38 43 -3
Lithuania 47 4.38 53 6
Italy 48 4.37 48 0
Montenegro 49 4.36 62 13
Malta 50 4.34 52 2
India 51 4.33 49 -2
Hungary 52 4.33 58 6
Panama 53 4.33 59 6
South Africa 54 4.32 45 -9
Mauritius 55 4.32 57 2
Costa Rica 56 4.31 55 -1
Azerbaijan 57 4.29 51 -6
Brazil 58 4.28 56 -2
Vietnam 59 4.27 75 16
Slovak Republic 60 4.25 47 -13
Turkey 61 4.25 61 0
Sri Lanka 62 4.25 79 17
Russian Federation 63 4.24 63 0
Uruguay 64 4.23 65 1
Jordan 65 4.21 50 -15
Mexico 66 4.19 60 -6
Romania 67 4.16 64 -3
Colombia 68 4.14 69 1
Iran 69 4.14 n/a n/a
Latvia 70 4.14 68 -2
Bulgaria 71 4.13 76 5
Kazakhstan 72 4.12 67 -5
Peru 73 4.11 78 5
Namibia 74 4.09 74 0
Morocco 75 4.08 73 -2
Botswana 76 4.05 66 -10
Croatia 77 4.04 72 -5
Guatemala 78 4.04 80 2
Macedonia, FYR 79 4.02 84 5
Rwanda 80 4.00 n/a n/a
Egypt 81 4.00 70 -11
El Salvador 82 3.99 77 -5
Greece 83 3.99 71 -12
Trinidad and Tobago 84 3.97 86 2
Philippines 85 3.96 87 2
Algeria 86 3.96 83 -3
Argentina 87 3.95 85 -2
Albania 88 3.94 96 8
Ukraine 89 3.90 82 -7
Gambia, The 90 3.90 81 -9
Honduras 91 3.89 89 -2
Lebanon 92 3.89 n/a n/a
Georgia 93 3.86 90 -3
Moldova 94 3.86 n/a n/a
Jamaica 95 3.85 91 -4
Serbia 96 3.84 93 -3
Syria 97 3.79 94 -3
Armenia 98 3.76 97 -1
Mongolia 99 3.75 117 18
Libya 100 3.74 88 -12
Dominican Republic 101 3.72 95 -6
Bosnia and Herzegovina 102 3.70 109 7
Benin 103 3.69 103 0
Senegal 104 3.67 92 -12
Ecuador 105 3.65 105 0
Kenya 106 3.65 98 -8
Bangladesh 107 3.64 106 -1
Bolivia 108 3.64 120 12
Cambodia 109 3.63 110 1
Guyana 110 3.62 104 -6
Cameroon 111 3.58 111 0
Nicaragua 112 3.57 115 3
Tanzania 113 3.56 100 -13
Ghana 114 3.56 114 0
Zambia 115 3.55 112 -3
Tajikistan 116 3.53 122 6
Cape Verde 117 3.51 n/a n/a
Uganda 118 3.51 108 -10
Ethiopia 119 3.51 118 -1
Paraguay 120 3.49 124 4
Kyrgyz Republic 121 3.49 123 2
Venezuela 122 3.48 113 -9
Pakistan 123 3.48 101 -22
Madagascar 124 3.46 121 -3
Malawi 125 3.45 119 -6
Swaziland 126 3.40 n/a n/a
Nigeria 127 3.38 99 -28
Lesotho 128 3.36 107 -21
Côte d'Ivoire 129 3.35 116 -13
Nepal 130 3.34 125 -5
Mozambique 131 3.32 129 -2
Mali 132 3.28 130 -2
Timor-Leste 133 3.23 126 -7
Burkina Faso 134 3.20 128 -6
Mauritania 135 3.14 127 -8
Zimbabwe 136 3.03 132 -4
Burundi 137 2.96 133 -4
Angola 138 2.93 n/a n/a
Chad 139 2.73 131 -8