HSBC will not give you their credit card agreement until after you apply for the card

I called HSBC Bank this evening because I wanted to see a copy of their credit card agreement. I said I was interested in applying for a credit card, but I would like to see a copy of the credit card agreement before I applied. They told me I could not have a copy of the agreement, but that it would be sent to me along with my credit card if my application for a credit card was accepted. I went back and forth with the customer service representative several times, being as polite as I could. Here is what I asked and the response I got:

“Are you unwilling to give me a copy of the agreement before I apply”

“I apologize sir, but we do not do things that way. We require that you apply for a card first . . . you can always cancel your card after you see the agreement.”

Kind of undermines the Wall Street Journal’s assertion that credit card agreements are “all voluntarily accepted by consenting adults.” HSBC seems to consider their agreement a “take or leave it” agreement at best. Really more of a take it, then back out later, if you think about it.

I would not buy a car, a house, or open a bank account without seeing the terms of the relevant agreement. Why must I blindly accept whatever terms HSBC decides to place on my credit card?