I am a host mother for students who come to the US to study. On March first, 2011 the brother of one student sent him $1985.00 by Western union. He went to the Meijer store #121 to collect his money. They told him they couldn't give it all to him in cash. They gave him $985 in cash and a check for the remaining money $1000.00. He took the check to Bank of America in South Bend and deposited it into his account. They told him the money should be available in his account the next day. With the $985 he paid school fees, etc. thinking he would have more money the next day.
It wasn't available the next day, nor the next, nor the next. He was being sent back and forth between the Meijer store and the Bank of America for the next week and still had no money. I finally said I would call Western Union for him and see what was going on. On March 10th, 2011 I called Western Union. The agent pulled up the file and told me they were aware of the problem. He said they had talked numerous times with the Bank of America branch manager and the manager at the Meijer store where the check was issued. He told me there was a computer error and the check was logged as "cashed out", when it wasn't.
He said the case had been "expedited" (they don't use that word) on March 8th and a case should be resolved within 24 to 48 hours of the "expedite" so by morning he should have his money. He still doesn't have his money four weeks after it arrived! I have talked to the bank manager, the Meijer manager and numerous agents, supervisors and managers at Western Union. Meijer says the mistake was Western Union's and the check is being shown as paid out when it was not paid out.
Whether the mistake was made at Meijer or a Western Union office, all agree that the student didn't get his money. I have called and called and called Western Union, been on the phone for over an hour numerous times and I get nowhere. Where is his money and why won't they give it to him.
My son is in a detention center in the U.S. for something very stupid he did. I have sent him money several times through Western Union's Quick Collect Program, which "works" either via telephone, the Internet, or any of their public locations.
The problem here is, and Western Union takes FULL advantage of this, that you cannot call the recipient to verify receipt of the money. Western Union gives you a "confirmation" that they allegedly sent the money, but in half of the cases this is false. If by chance my son calls me and I ask him whether he received a particular transfer, half of the time the answer is "No." Yes, the money is always debited from by Visa account... but like I said above, delivered only half of the time.
Yes, I have fought with Western Union's call centers to get the money delivered after hearing their lame excuses as to why they didn't send the money, but this is a ripoff, a fraud, anyway you look at it. If Western Union has a valid reason NOT to deliver money to an inmate at a prison, well then don't take the money from the sender!
Imagine, just try to imagine the huge dollar amounts Western Union steals from the public like this, day in and day out. I am very meticulous when it comes to money, so I check and make sure that my son gets his money when I send him some. But I am not the only person sending him funds; he has other relatives and friends that use Western Union to send him cash; they have no way of letting him know, and he has no way of knowing they did... when Western Union steals his money. Thumbs down for Western Union. They are a huge ripoff!
ENGLEWOOD COLORADO, COLORADO -- 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 position that they: - Charge a very high fee for simple electronic transfer. - Apply off market fees and exchanges rates on currencies. - Arbitrarily decide whether to complete or not a valid transaction.
Lets hope this unjust and abusive monopoly breaks down and the poor people that have to transfer remittances get a fair service one day!
TYLER, TEXAS -- My friend was visiting his family in Henderson, TX for the weekend. His sister-in-law was critically injured in a car accident & life-flighted to Tyler, TX. His visit was extended several days while she fought for her life, which placed him in critical need of cash. I transmitted $100 to tide him over Saturday evening, paying $20 for their "Money in Minutes" service. I received an email confirmation that the 'money transfer' went through, however, when my friend arrived at the local agent late Saturday evening to pick up his cash the agent told him he would only issue a money order. What??
My friend said that he was specifically told he would receive cash (I ordered this online and it was confirmed in a phone call at the time of the transaction). The local agent said something on the order of too bad, so sad. My friend, in shock over his sister-in-law, took the money order and left.
Being out of town without a local bank branch, the money order was a piece worthless paper. During the day Sunday my friend and his brother went to Western Union agents in Henderson and Tyler. One Western Union branch in a WalMart told them that IF they cashed the check they would charge him an additional $20 - (on a $100 money order drawn on a Western Union account). They ultimately chose not to cash out the money order anyway.
I called Western Union Customer Service Sunday evening and the representative and her supervisor told me that, since he accepted the money order, he was out of luck. There was nothing they would do to help him cash the money order. No manager was available but I was told he'd come to the same conclusion on Monday. Finally the supervisor told me to have a nice day and hung up on me. I've used eMoneygram several times to transmit currency to places as remote as Africa without a bit of a problem. I will never use Western Union again and they haven't heard the end of me.
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 FRAUD: /////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 alleging "fraud"; boycott Western Union, send your commercial payments by carrier pigeon, they will be there sooner!!!!
I attempted to send money ONLINE to Texas from California, which I had successfully accomplished several times before. This time, however, the transfer was DECLINED because my telephone number is UNLISTED. They emailed that the transfer was DECLINED and said to go to an office which I did (with their 50% fee discount). Thank goodness I had registered with my bank for notices of Unusual Activity. Western Union debited my bank account TWICE--once for the online transaction that they had DECLINED in writing and on the phone... and for the one at the office.
They tell me that the BANK, not Western Union, is holding the funds. I just know at this early stage that they have been taken from my account TWICE. And what is REALLY interesting is that when I called the bank's 800 number and described the transaction to the bank's service rep, she said, "The same thing happened to me--Western Union declined the transfer because my phone is unlisted so I went to an office, and they charged me twice. They even gave me the discount on the second transfer. And it took MONTHS to get my money back." They are either INCOMPETENT, NEGLIGENT, or this is CRIMINAL and systematic. Definitely a CAUTION here.
COLORADO -- I called Western Union to wire money to my sister who was stranded with a broken down car. I live in AZ & I believe because of Arizona's new immigration law (which I, by the way, am not responsible for) that I was given a hard time for. My call was answered by a Hispanic male that I gave my credit card information to. I was then told that because Arizona had such strict laws another form of identification was needed. I gave my driver's license number, & was AGAIN told AZ was a state with very "strict laws" and he would need ANOTHER form of I. D.
He then asked for my social security number! I reluctantly gave it to him. I was then transferred to his supervisor - another Hispanic male- who told me that my transfer had been denied because they could not verity my identity. Because Arizona was a state with very strict laws, I was told once again, maybe if I gave him another form of I. D. - perhaps an alien I. D. card. I now am in great fear that my identity has been stolen!! And I am unable to get in contact with someone in charge of these two men!
I attempted a Western Union Quick Collect Payment using my debit card in the amount of $1418.79. The funds were immediately deducted from my account immediately, and I was able to see this by viewing my bank account online. My bank posts transactions made against my debit card immediately. For reasons untold to me by the customer service representative, and her manager, the Quick Collect payment was not processed. I asked Western Union to release the funds so I may make my payment another way. They agreed and I got off the phone.
24 hours later I call my bank and they say that Western Union still has a hold on the funds, and they have received no notification from Western Union that they will not collect on the funds. I called Western Union back, and they say they sent my bank a fax saying they will not collect on the funds. I respond that my bank has received no notification from Western Union, and could the fax be resent. I was told no, it's against Western Union policy to resend the fax. This is ridiculous. It's a FAX. It takes two minutes to send.
I asked to speak to a manager, and was told by the manager that they would not resend the fax to my bank. I then asked to speak to a supervisor, and was told yet again that they will not resend the fax. I have been with my bank for 11 years, and I have never had an issue with them. This is my first time using Western Union, and I will never do so again. At this time, Western Union still has a hold on my funds. I know that after 5 days, if not collected, my bank will automatically release the hold on my funds.
However, that defeats the purpose of me wanting to make the payment immediately, thus the reason for me using Western Union in the first place. I don't suggest that anyone utilize Western Union if they can help it. If there is a problem you will not get assistance.
CALIFORNIA -- My mission for the month of October is to make sure that every person I come into contact with knows that Western Union is the worst company I've done business within the last year. They have won my personal Total Lack of Customer Service Award for September 2002. Two days ago, I returned from a three week vacation in Europe. I was extremely tired, especially after going to work the morning after my 9:45 pm flight came in.
This morning I was awoken by a close friend who is trying to get back to the U.S. from eastern Europe. His request was simple - a short term loan that would enable him to fly back here, where he would be receiving money and would be able to pay me back. The dilemma: time. He had about 90 minutes until the travel agency was supposed to close. No problem! I'm all about last minute. I've tackled much more complex problems - especially while in Europe.
So I tried the Western Union website, which seemed easy enough. Well, the webpage wouldn't even load. I knew it was their issue because my DSL was working on many other pages and this was the first problem I've had in days. After several attempts, I turned to Yahoo! Yellow Pages to find Western Union locations. I found a few in my county, but only one in my city. I called it only to find that although they're open, they don't begin any WU transactions until after 10 am. So I decided to give the website another shot.
I mistakenly thought that just because I could talk to a tech support person "live" online, that their servers were working again. Boy was I wrong. Their chat support person even admitted that the site was just not working well, stating that "not all of our servers are down". (Yeah, just MOST of them!) At last it began to work, so I feverishly entered my information and got all ready to send the money. After another waste of time - this time about 10 minutes - I found that my transaction, including all of my sensitive personal and financial info, was stuck. The next page would not load.
I waited for about 15 minutes, during which time I talked to a tech support person "online" again. They were courteous, but also used a lot of sentences which sounded completely generic and prewritten. This particular support person told me that they were surprised I hadn't gotten an error message yet, implying that all of the other customers she had dealt with were experiencing error messages. In the end (about 20 more wasted minutes later) there was nothing they would offer me to encourage me to use their services. I even spoke with a customer care rep and a SUPERVISOR, who both told me that there was nothing they could do.
I proposed a discount in the astronomical amount they were going to charge me to send the $500. They did not comply, insisting that there was no way for them to process such a request. In the end, a northern California bank won - Bank of the West. I had to drive down there, but they completed a transfer of funds to my friend's Bank of the West account in less than 5 minutes. They were courteous and efficient, and a major contrast to the nightmare I had been through the previous two hours with Western Union.
However, my friend had to POSTPONE HIS RETURN by ONE FULL DAY because it had taken so long to get this all figured out. So, thanks to Western Union, he's stuck in Europe for another full day. How much money is an entire day worth to you?
A complete and total lack of concern, no sense of urgency, and a virtually worthless website (which I had previously heard from friends has been riddled with issues) are what was offered me this morning. But no offer of solution or campaign for my business was put forth by Western Union. I guess they figure that they're big enough and they charge enough money for every transaction they perform that they can afford to lose a few people like me. Well, if I have my way, they'll be losing multitudes of potential future customers. I will be encouraging PayPal or CitiBank's money transfer system, and completely slam on Western Union.
People deserve to hear horror stories like mine so that they can realize what some companies and corporations actually put the average consumer through. It should be noted that after this 2.5 hour international incident, I was not even able to go back to bed before having to get ready for work. Luckily, the Bank of the West branch was close to my home. However, time is - and always will be - MONEY. And they wasted my precious reserves of both this morning when they managed to convince me that I'd sooner stick money in the pouch of a carrier pigeon than send money to the next town using Western Union services.
I hope that you will consider my terrible experience and also consider NOT giving them your business. Find another way. They will waste your time and not offer you anything for it. Besides, they charge fees which should be classified as extortion. Hell, my credit card company charges less for a $500 cash advance than WU charges to send $500 to a regular person. So what exactly can YOU afford when it comes time to send money to a friend or loved one who's in a pinch?