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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Bank 'left rude message'
Mobile phone
Mr Carnevali said he was annoyed and upset by the message
A bank has been forced to apologise after an employee left an insulting message on a customer's answerphone - believing she had hung up.

Chris Carnevali, of Wye, near Ashford, Kent, was trying to sort out a graduate loan but missed the call from HSBC in Ashford.

The message left on his mobile phone started with a polite request for him to call back to discuss restructuring a 14,000 loan so he could return to university.

But the recording continued - after the female member of staff thought she had put the phone down.

She can be heard joking with colleagues, saying: "Get a load of this...customer is going back to university and would like to discuss restructuring his graduate personal loan.

'Upset and embarrassed'

"It's only for 14,000 which he took out in September to buy a car...and now he thinks he might go back to university.

"They take the bloody piss, don't they? And how would he like to repay that?"

Mr Carnevali said he was angry members of staff had been discussing his financial matters.

He said: "I've calmed down a little bit now but I was really annoyed and quite upset and embarrassed."

'Isolated incident'

Mr Carnevali said the branch and area managers had apologised and he had been offered 100 to go for a meal - but he felt they ought to look at the attitudes of all their employees.

A statement released by HSBC said: "We regret that this has happened and have apologised to Mr Carnevali.

"Our customers are very important to us and this was an isolated incident.

"We expect our staff to act in a professional manner at all times and have taken it up as an important matter with the member of staff concerned."

The message from HSBC
"Get a load of this..."

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