Western Union

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Western Union abuses its monopoly position
Posted by Sultan Khan on 08/13/2009
We used Western Union to send money to a student in Uganda. After completing the whole questionnaire online, I spent two days speaking to various WU reps to complete the transaction.
Most of them had no clue and I was bounced from department to department. I had to answer to way more security questions than any other bank would ask. And ultimately they REFUSED to complete the transfer. In essence, CUSTOMERS are treated as potential CRIMINALS. It seems for WU management any African country is suspicious.
It is an abuse of their dominant positon that they:
- Charge a very high fee for simple electronic transfer
- Apply off market fees and exchanges rates on currencies
-Arbitreraly decide whether to complete or not a valid transaction
Let s hope this injust and abusive monopoly breaks down and the poor people that have to transfer remitances get a fair service one day!
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Posted by MSCANTBEWRONG on 2009-08-13:
With all of the scams out there I can see where they may be leery but if you satisfied their security questions I don't see why they wouldn't complete the transaction.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-08-13:
It could be that they got a match when they ran the transaction through OFAC. That will stop it dead in its tracks. They don't necessarily know why the name is flagged, but if it is they will not send any money. No exceptions.
Posted by MSCANTBEWRONG on 2009-08-13:
Good info Ken. I didn't know that.
Posted by bargod on 2009-08-13:
It must have been all those money orders that you sent to the former Nigerian finance minister.
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-08-13:
you said "A student"

was this student someone you actually knew? The way you wrote it, there's no indication you actually knew this person.

And yes, sending money - even to someone you know in the US - requires a LOT of security questions. And you have to answer them accurately.

To be honest, at least 3/4 of the work you went through... is standard for EVERYONE. The rest of it is probably because of the country you're sending money to.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-08-13:
Did you try "Moneygram?"
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Western Union Asked Me to Solve Their Own Problems in China
Posted by Chewonit on 01/14/2009
I used Western Union to transfer USD500 to a friend on vacation in GuangDong Province in China who was in dire need for some cash. I tried their online payment transfer using my credit card but was declined for some reason (which they would never tell me despite asking them over the phone and emailing them).

OK, so I went to the nearest Western Union physical location near my home to pay in cash. I got their so-called Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) and they told me all that is needed by my friend halfway around the world would be to quote this number and prove his identity, then she could collect the cash within the next 30 minutes.

DON'T ANYONE EVER BELIEVE WHAT WESTERN UNION TOLD YOU!!! I did and it was miserable! My friend tried collecting the money from a designated Western Union location in China, a branch of China Agricultural Bank, and was given a few pages of forms to fill. The forms?? They are to apply for a local bank card. The reason?? The bank there said that she will have to apply for a local bank card in order to claim any Western Union money from the bank. How in the world can a visitor to a small town fill up a local bank card with a valid local address I wondered... Next after those forms being filled, on the next day she returned to the bank, she was told that the MTCN number did not show any fund availability. She tried another location there, the China Post Office and again was told that the MTCN number showed empty!


The customer service officer repeated again and again that the money was available in their system. I said that the China system did not show that to be the case at two separate locations. He replied that if there was a problem, the recipient could call an international help line - some 732 area code number which is clearly a USA number. Asking someone in dire need of fund stranded in an international location to call back to USA on a paying phone? And this is an "international help line"?? This is baffling! And to add, this number is voice prompted in English. My recipient did not know a word of English... I then asked if anything could be done for Western Union in USA to prompt the disbursing locations in China to quickly release the funds. Nothing! Nothing could be done. We are at the mercy of the Western Union's "world-class" network and their screwed up partnerships with the locations there! The customer service person even asked me to tell my friend that she should tell the bank that the money was there! How naive of any customer service representative to even say this when the foreign bank did not see it in their system.

Apparently Western Union customer service officer can only think that anyone can just walk into a bank or anywhere and claim that his or her money is available and should be withdrawn then and there without valid proof! Such is the stupidity of Western Union customer service! I was furious and demanded that they should solve their own problems, and not expect customers to do so. This was when the customer service guy hanged up abruptly refusing to help any further.... I paid Western Union a service fee plus money they make from foreign currency exchange - and this is all I got! Screw them! I am not going to use Western Union anymore!
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-14:
If you can retrieve your funds from Western Union, take them to your bank and ask them to do an international wire transfer. It's a whole lot more reliable.
Posted by saj80 on 2009-01-14:
Ken, in order to retrieve an international wire transfer, the person on the receiving end needs an account, also; don't think this would work for a visitor in China.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-14:
Saj, point taken. I was blinded to the 'vacation' part, by the 'friend doesn't speak english' part. While not impossible, it is markedly more difficult if you don't have an account there to wire it in to.
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Western Union Sucks
Posted by Outrider21 on 02/07/2014
Western Union uses every trick in the book not make a payout on money that has been paid and supposed to be wore transferred. I will cut up my Gold Card and never use them again. They just plain are a pain to deal with.
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Western Union Holding My Money Hostage
Posted by Glojol on 06/27/2013
GEORGIA -- I sent $200.00 to my sister in Jamaica electronically using the WU pay system. The first phone call inquiry about the money I sent since my sister said it did not arrive place the blame on my bank. Of course the bank released the money to western union the very day I authorized it so it was not the bank. It was western union. One day later they emailed me to tell me that the money was available in Jamaica for pick up. I confirmed this by telephone with western union representative. The next day my sister returned to pick up the money, the western union agent in Jamaica told her I have to call western union to answer some more questions before they can release the money. By now I was so upset I was steaming because just yesterday everything was ok and the money was there and now I am hearing that it is on hold. I called western union to find out what was the hold up. A representative for the 10th time ask me for all security information Then she tells me system is down, call back in 5 min. I called back and the western union representative want to know what ID my sister would use to pick up the money and what her date of birth was before the money could be released. I told her to cancel the transaction because I cannot give someone else's security information to a western union representative whether it is my sister or not. I cancelled the transaction. I will be looking at my account in the next 24 hours to make sure they refunded my money. Guys do not use this WU pay system. It is full of headaches. My sister had to call me about 3 times from Jamaica about this transaction. I had to call her four times. I had to call western union about 5 times. Western union e-mailed me about 6 times and I am sure this is not the end of it.
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Posted by AnnaMolly on 2013-06-28:
Unfortunately, there is a lot of fraud involving WU. I understand their concept of "better safe than sorry", but it happens. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If you can find some other, safer, way to send her money, I would go that route. I hope this gets resolved for you.
Posted by Jack on 2013-07-21:
Did your issue finally get resolved? You are right that why you should give security details to WU, I am having similar issue as they are asking me to send scanned copy of id of the recipient, when I said cancel it and I will send through someone else they said I can't do that unless I provide DOB and Place of birth of the recipient... WTH they are ripoff
Posted by ali on 2013-11-19:
I have the same issue ....
if solved please send me how is it solved ..
Posted by Armando on 2014-01-12:
I am having a similar issue, western union claims that there is a "legal problem" with my name and there is no possible way that I can get my money unless I give my ID and personal info. And I have heard of many fraud stories, there is nothing I can do at this point but give my personal info. I know that this is in some way violating my rights. If anyone can tell me of something that I can do, perhaps a law suit, I will gladly listen. Please get back to me ASAP if y'all know anything.
Thank y'all.
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Worst Customer Service
Posted by Aaa2772 on 06/18/2013
HAWAII -- I was attempting to pay with a credit card on the western union website and have the money transferred to a bank account. It kept giving me an Error message so I called. First person I talked to said she doesn't know why it's not working, no explanation at all, all she knows is that it's not a problem on their end. She tells me I can go into any location and bring my credit card to make a payment, she will even give me a discount code to get 50% off. So I agreed, wrote the code down and headed to a store. Took off of work to go and get this transaction completed only to find out that the lady at the western union counter had no idea how to assist me with what I needed, even went and called a manager who was also just as clueless. At this point I'm pissed already. I get home and call the customer service number again, now to be told that the only way I can make a payment with my credit card is if The location has a black phone, I am literally fuming now because the first lady never mentioned that. So I tell her that I am not about to waste my time and go back to a location, if she can just help me over the phone, she agrees but then tells me that its going to cost me $108. I told her to apply the discount code I was given to that but really my fee should be waived for all the trouble it is taking me just to make a simple transaction when I thought western union was suppose to be easy. She tells me that code is only if I go in the store. I ask for a manager and get the same run around that they are not sure why or what information is giving me an error but I'm sorry for your trouble but we cannot give you a discount over the phone, only at a location BUT you cannot pay with credit card. All I know is PayPal is cheaper to send money and a lot easier. Will Never Use Western Union again. For one not even the supervisor could show any time of customer service and compensate me for the terrible customer service I received. Second, all every question I asked no one knew the solution too...what is a call center if you have to tell me to check the website or that you are not sure and then proceed to tell me that no one else would know the answer. Third, I decided to use PayPal and took me one input and I got the money transferred with 30 minutes.
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Waiting Over an Hour With a 5 Year Old in a Gas Station
Posted by Rabeccawright on 10/19/2012
I went to a local gas station to receive a Western Union for 75 dollars. The store clerks had to deal with 6 operators, each telling us something different is wrong. While I'm waiting, I had to explain to my 5 year he couldn't go to his dad's this weekend because we now don't have enough time to make it there, which was a 2 hour drive. We sat an 145 just waiting. I love holding my 5 year old while he sits and cries, not to mention I told a manager I am taking my business elsewhere and he said that was fine. It's sad because I receive money from there quite a bit. I won't be using Western Union any more and I don't recommend it to anyone else either.
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Posted by BigAl on 2012-10-20:
I am sure that after you had your child crying in this place of business for over an hour the manager did not care if you took your business elsewhere.
Posted by trmn8r on 2012-10-20:
The 5 year old is immaterial to Western Union, much as he would be if this took place at a bank.

Western Union and its clients have been the target of fraud on a large scale, so their procedures can seem onerous when things don't go smoothly. Have you had trouble like this previously? It may be a rare glitch.
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Posted by Ko_1_mm5ni9ck1 on 07/19/2012

Western Union refuses to fulfill the minimum transfer requirements given by Court (FTC) http://www.scribd.com/doc/21413451/MoneyGram-FTC-Complaint
and with this, the Money Transfer has to be closed. Here the continuing conversation:

Response Via Email (Aldwin A) 07/18/2012 02:03 PM
Dear Gerhard Kommnick,

Thank you for your recent email.

We appreciate your attention on this matter. If you could provide the MTCNs of these transfers, it would help us with our internal investigation. Please be advised the we strongly advise our consumers against fraud, most especially on sending money to individuals that they do not know, or whose identity they cannot verify. We offer money transfer services, and is not responsible for knowing the receiver not their identity.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused. Should you require further assistance, please let us know. Thank you.


Al [snip]
Western Union Customer Advocate

ATTN: Al [snip]

I never have heard more stupidness than in your last E-Mail. Western Union had, in absolutely no way, fulfill the Court Decisions that are necessary to handle Money Transfers at all, what means: in that way Western Union is not allowed to handle the Money Transfers by law, and you try to pose the faults to the clients that are paying you !!! Further on, as I have shown, Western Union is directly involved in the crime (10% to the Western Union Office) and then Western Union paid the transfer. Besides that who told you that I did not know the persons. I know them but the real ones and all payments had not been done on base of scam or so. So each point you are telling here, only fakes. Western Union has to fulfill the Court points and then nothing had happened. But as Western Union is going on that way, ignoring apparently the Court decision, it shows that you still further on want to work on that way accepting and very well knowing that thousands of crimes also will be continued with that. Also this is direct involvement in to the crimes and punishable by law. And if Western Union does not follow up Court's decisions and the principals that are given there for handling Money Transfers, Western Union must be closed immediately and brought to Court;. and you on top with such irrelevant argues. You offer a service that is called Money Transfer and that is for all and not only for fraudsters. And the Court decision also says that it is your responsability if the Money is frauded. And in the same way is arguing the Attorney General of Arizona: all fraud has to be compensated although I said in the beginning, that two valid passports are needed (sender, recipient). And what you have told me there that one only should send money to well known persons is also a fake when Western Union Employers do not realize forgery passports the principal of the transfer conditions. So, even this what you were telling here would not be a solution as Western Union is frauding.
I, further on, am still waiting for the informations in which country, office of Western Union and when the fraud was realized. I am still missing that. And when you also are too stupid to understand that this request concerning the Transfer conditions and that for this no police is necessary as I never asked who has taken the money, then I cannot help you. The only thing I can tell you, if my case now is not solved within this week it will cost Western Union Billions of USD. The informations from my side will continue.
Awaiting your swift reply
Best Regards
Gerhard Kommnick
and with this, the Money Transfer has to be closed.
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Posted by jktshff1 on 2012-07-19:
So, simply put, you wired some money and the wrong person got it?
Posted by onlooker on 2012-07-20:
It appears that some how western union is responsible for some one with the correct code number/correct ID or 'secret' answer, picking up funds meant for some else. And unhappy sender wants them closed down for their fraud.

Frustrating unfortunate and probably expensive. But I am afraid that the OP will not get anywhere with the scam/fraud suit idea.
Posted by Whiteduck on 2012-07-20:
I assume there are indeed instances where money has to reach someone far away immediately, but in well over 50 years of life, it's never happened to me. I would think in this day and age that anyone wanting Western Union payment is probably a scammer. Not sure what WU does to verify the receiver's ID, and this could be a legitimate gripe, but with the scammy bad reputation that transferring money this way has acquired, I'm not sure why anyone would do this.
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Western Union transfer money to Netspend Prepaid card
Posted by Rmguerra on 04/26/2012
EAST PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA -- Both companies have a big problem in their processing of mistakes on their part. I deposited 20.00 and paid the fees of 3.95 for Western Union to load my Netspend card. I had confirmation of the transactions from both companies. This occurred on 4/11/2011. On the 4/23/2012, my account was blocked from my Netspend account. I called and waited hold for 9 hours and talked to Netspend repres for maybe 15-20 minutes total. BOTH companies told me that they had no idea why it Western Union requested a block on my account. Netspend blocked my account merely because Western Union requested them to do so! Neither company can answer why the account was blocked! Netspend told me, I counted this statement, " Western Union requested the block and only Western Union can remove it". Western Union says I own them $20.00. The question is why??

I paid for a service in cash to Western Union that they provide. Why do I owe them an additional $20.00? If someone wants to check it out, here are the MTCN 724-313-2663, sender's confirmation number 2824021. Both indicate that the transaction was complete. Since then I have contacted Western Union and they no idea why my account is blocked. These two companies have a partnership forming a conglomerate. When it comes time to communicate with each other they have problems not just in general but when trying to resolves any issues. I am being charged by Western Union an addtional $20.00 for a successful transaction that I paid them to do.

Now my normal deposits for my retirement are on hold! The Netspend company loves putting you on hold! I have used 9hours of talk time to resolve this issue. At the Partner Sevice department, they people who work there love using the hold button and love to play games on, who's gonna be the supervisor. Yesterday it is Matt, today it is Tiffany. Each of course claim to have the power to remove the block. That is of course, when Western Union finds the time to send an email. An email!!! I was told that,"they should have an email today, I mean hopefully this morning".. It is all tatctics with them. When I ask for, Chuck Harris, the guys who runs Customer Service and Operations, clamer and than forward me to another office person who plays the role and still tells me, that they talked to the Reprs from Western Union who said that they will send them an email to clear this matter up. I was a happy customer with them. Now, I am looking at the benefits of Bank of America for the needs etc... Stay away from Netspend and Western union when it comes to transfering moneies that you pay them to load into the pre-paid car like Netspend.

Best regards
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WU sat on a part s' payment to Hobby King In HongKong
Posted by on 03/23/2012
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- For the past month a $154 payment has been sitting in the Hongkong WU Office for 30 days, no feedback from the Idiots at WU. it should have been immediately sent to Hobby King Warehouse in HongKong, WU alleged Fraud, there is no FRAUID: /////heads, this was FBI Instagard Bull///// mandated by the Western Union Instagard Police///// in Canada. Western Union refuses to contact Mr. and the agent for Hobby King warehouse in HK alledging "fraud"; boycott Western Union, send your commercial payments by carrier pigeon, they will be there sooner!!!!
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Posted by Alain on 2012-03-25:
This is confusing.
Posted by trmn8r on 2012-03-25:
I don't understand exactly what conversations or communications have taken place, but I do know that WU has very strict policies concerning fraud. Therefore, if fraud is suspected, it would definitely bring things to a halt until the proper evidence is presented to satisfy them.

What details have been provided to you regarding an alleged fraud (fraud on your part, Hobby King's part, etc...), and what if any action has been suggested by WU to resolve the issue?

I had one issue with a WU transaction, and it took a few phone calls to resolve.
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Western Union paid my transfer to someone else
Posted by Pelbeaini32 on 09/21/2011
My aunt sent me $200 as a wedding gift. When I went to collect it, I was told that it was already picked up. When we called western union, they said that it was collected in a different city and they gave me a receipt with a signature that doesn't match my signature or handwriting. And they are saying that they followed procedure and they are not resposible for it.
What can I do to collect my money?
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Posted by bob93 on 2011-09-21:
Small claims court.
Posted by MRM on 2011-09-21:
Whoa Nelly! Somebody had thought they won the lotto or had thought that a generous stranger gave them money.
Posted by MRM on 2011-09-21:
Did you look at the receipt to verify that the information is correct?
Posted by Skye on 2011-09-21:
That's something they need to resolve for you, but you could start with contacting corporate and explain what happened.

Somewhere something went wrong obviously. I wonder how many other's this has happened to.

Posted by trmn8r on 2011-09-21:
Western Union's procedure is to be extremely careful about checking identity to prevent fraudulent transactions, for good reason. If they state that someone with your identity picked it up, I don't know what you can do.

Is it possible your aunt told someone she was transferring this money to you, and that person acted to impersonate you?
Posted by Imenja on 2011-09-21:
From my experience, all that is needed to pick up a wire transfer is the transaction number and the answer to the security question if there was one. These jokers only ask for your id just for their records, but they do not check it to make sure you're the person named on the receipt.
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