LOS ANGELES (CN) – HSBC Bank failed to deliver on promises of gifts to customers who deposited $50,000 or more in “Premier Relationship” accounts, but the bank reported the nonexistent gifts to the IRS, so depositors had to pay taxes on stuff they never got, according to a class action in Superior Court.
The class claims HSBC and its co-defendant marketing company TLC Americas promised plane tickets to customers who kept their $50,000 Premier account open for 6 months, kept at least $100,000 in combined personal deposit and investment balances, or $500,000 in combined personal deposit, investment or credit-mortgage balances.
But some class members say they never received their vouchers for international plane tickets – one of four gifts they could choose – and others received vouchers but never could get in contact with a TLC representative to confirm their flight.
To add injury to insult, HSBC sent tax forms to the IRS reflecting the cash value of the tickets as taxable income, the complaint states.
The class claims TLC has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has had 1,089 complaints filed against it in the past 3 years.
Lead plaintiffs Hiu Win Wong and Ying Liu Guo, both of Los Angeles, allege unfair and fraudulent business practices, false advertising, and violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. They are represented by Jan Yoss.