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How Western Union ruined my day...and left my friend stranded in eastern Europe!
Posted on
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 9:45pm 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 (http://www.westernunion.com/), 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 10am. 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?
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Anonymous on 10/03/2002:
So they had problems with the website. It happens. Deal with it and stop your whinning. And next time tell your friend not to go to Europe if he can't afford to get back on his own.
Anonymous on 10/08/2002:
what was your friend running away from that he only had 90 minutes? could he not wait until the next day? I think your complaint is ridiculous!
i hate you wester union on 02/05/2008:
I really want to XXXX the people who discrimate us who was using the westenr union. the people get must be work for the Western Union. this garbages never understand our paint when we transfer the money for our business. we lost the money when we use the Western Union as I post before. XXXXXX you
i hate you wester union on 02/05/2008:
Anonymous, I xxxxx you, )-X, ....>>>>000000 >>>>>>X
chow on 02/07/2008:
I can understand your "paint", actually it spells like this "pain". Every American know w.u. is a pricey company in USA,don't use their services if you can,I want you "hate you w.u." to remember.
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Don't Go To Western Union For International Money Transfer
Posted by on
This is very strength that when I found the different amount of money in different agents of Western Unions. I sent the money money to China and I found the amount is not match to the transfer rate today. Ever thought the rate changes very second, how there is almost 250rmb different when I only sent 1300 Canadian dollars to China. I did 3 call to find out the problem. I went to the agent put 1300 dollars and the agent provide me 10,102.86 Rmb. I call the Western Union customer service and they tell me is 10,039.86 Rmb. I call the other agent which I found online provide me a 10,286,35rmb. I check the online from the bank is 10,261.04 Rmb. Customer service tell me they don't follow the bank rate, they have their own rate. I think they said they have their own rate is the rate under the fair rate they should provide for their customers. I heard from my friend said wester union make money with some special skill, now, I understand how they make the money from the customers.

So, if you are going to sent money by Western Union, you should better check the rate first and ask them follow the rate. One more thing is if they just write down the money amount on the paper for you, be careful, I found last time the agent print the money amount on the paper, but this time she just write down on the paper. I guess there are some other thing she was doing to me. I don't know how much money I loss because I sent money quite often.
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User Replies:
Anonymous on 11/09/2007:
I think I got it, why didn't you just wire Canadian dollars and let the person in China deal with the conversion. Why were you trying to do their work for them? Whatever you bought sounds like $1,300 Canadian. If you are trying to buy knock off Chinese products the conversion issues will be the least of your problems when Canadian Customs knocks on your door.
Skye on 11/09/2007:
Op, you hate Western Union, and I hate China.

I wouldn't send one penny to China, nor will I ever buy another product from China.

killerklown on 11/09/2007:
You guys could figure out what the hell he said?
Skye on 11/09/2007:
Killer, I have a confession. I didn't read the review. I just couldn't get past the first sentence.
FoggyOne on 11/10/2007:
Each company has their own conversion rates - that is one of the ways they make a little extra money. Exchanging money from one currency into another is always cost laden - you'll seldom get the official rate.
i hate you wester union on 11/20/2007:
westen uninon is really terrible company, they did wrote the money amount on the paper, actually, my brother in China when he receive the Chinese yans, the money is 90 yans different from the my paper, what a terrible company. I would never go to Western Union again
Anonymous on 11/20/2007:
I hate you wester union; Western Union is the highest priced company to send money with even here in America. I stopped using them many years ago because they only cheat people and the service is no good.

It is better if you just use a bank transfer from your bank to your brother’s bank in China. The exchange rate will be what it is with a much smaller fee, good luck to you and you are a good person to send family money.
i hate you wester union on 11/21/2007:
yes, they cheat to people almost every time, we make the money and they take our money away, this stupid American company, they can make money and they steal money.

the stupid guys said they would not spend money for Chinese products, I promise you cheat to yourself now, how can you not use the products from China. without the cheap things, you already died, how can you afford the high living cost.
chow on 12/02/2007:
I do understand what he is saying, basically is about different rate of exchange used by Western Union agents,
it is true that if you call different places or financial company to inquire about the actual amount in your destination country, it will always be different because there are different profit margin and charges on top of the rate of exchange charge by the company.

Don't get too heat up over it, go somewhere else for your next money transfer oversea if you can.
chow on 12/21/2007:
How much Western Union overcharge you? no point getting all upset over few dollars,American need to make money too just like Chinese company.
i hate you wester union on 02/14/2008:
last time I did it for about $2,000 dollars and they over charger me about $50 dollars. I sent a lot of money to China to my brother and my brother use it to make the payment. ( I purchase goods from Chinese company). so, you can guess how much money I loss in my business. I didn't know that before.
i hate you wester union on 02/14/2008:
last time my friend in U.S sent me 2,000 U.S dollars money order. my friend bought them from the Western Union. when I went to the terrible place, I feel down already, when they tell me I can't cash it because no reason to me, I really want to kick Western Union CEO‘s ash. I will post all my experience in Chinese website let the people know what Western Union doing to people, I will tell all my business friends don't use the Western Union, forever,
i hate you wester union on 02/14/2008:
finally, I cash the money order from the bank. the bank only charge me $33 but I ask Western Union, they said they will charge me $63 dollars. I suggest people go to the bank to cash your money order. and if the bank tell you they are going to hope the money for 3 week, you can try to talk to them, they will cash it for you if you have a client card in that bank, that will be better for you.
jktshff1 on 02/14/2008:
Sorry, but I really don't care. Spend the money in Canada or the US.
chow on 02/14/2008:
Hate w.u! Tell every body you know in China n USA, stop using that company that steal your money by playing on exchange rate, that is other more honest money transfer co. here, just don't use their service anymore,they cheat every Chinese and foreigners, and they are very prejudice too, I only used once , but I do not like their altitude and too expensive rate.
i hate you wester union on 03/05/2008:
I call the west union customer service before I bring the money order to west union. they tell me I can directly cash it if the money order is from them. one of people post online said they upgrade the exchange rate every 15 minutes, but when I call the customer service, they said the agent have the right to choose what kind of rate they want which means they can use the lowest rate within one month even half year. about the exchange rate, they use a pen to write the after exchanged amount on the paper not by typing the amount. so, that is why other company can give us other amount of money. the people also tell me why they service is terrible because a lot of customer are black people, and the W.U spots are just part of some stores or markets, they don't need to require customer service. I suggest all the people refuse to use the West Union, so, other company such as banks can improve their international money transfer business. we don't have capability to bargain with these dishonest company, but we need this kind of service because we do the international business, we have to transfer the money all the time. we can support good companies help up.
i hate you wester union on 03/05/2008:
I found some people here said they hate China. I think this is really terrible mind. I was talking bout the business, an international company. W.U also have agents in China and the agents there also cheat to people. if you unhappy with why China going to rich than before, but people come from developed countries make much more money than Chinese. Chinese companies only make about 5% of profit. but one good from China will be time 4 and sell in the developed countries. this is the basic knowledges. people come from developed countries are more money than we.
i hate you wester union on 03/05/2008:
What is the global mind? we need the money transfer service because we all the business people need to keep business going. we have to complaint and they may improve the service. if they don't, we have to change an company to make the business. this is business staff. this is stupid put individual feeling and business into a national level. if we have a war, who will believe China today will lose, we have capability to fight with other countries. we never said want to fight with someone expect Japan because we have very terrible history for thousand years, they never get satisfy with the resources. you guy never know what happen past. if Japan close to Canada,your guys already die for 10 times and I personall believe the population is not enough for they to kill. they will have killing race every day in your country. Chinese and Korea have history in this. that is why we have to protect ourself from their invasion. if today China today become a litter rich and your guys unhappy, you can try make friend with Japaneses, maybe one day late they will kill all of you just like the war II they kill we people.
MSCANTBEWRONG on 03/05/2008:
What???? Where did this come from????
Anonymous on 03/05/2008:
It came from a long time ago.
i hate you wester union on 03/05/2008:
people here please read the history and know what happen yest day.after that, you will know what will happen tomorrow. Don't believe the what your government say today, they are just serve for the rich people and big companies. we Chinese made some mistakes in manufacturing, but we already shut down all of these problem factories. please look at the market today, how many products are come from China. how many people there are working for you there. why they are still poor, because they did not make money from your guys, only 5% of finished good cost. the rest of money is made by big companies in your countries. we got complaints all the time why America fight in IRAQ but looks still a small things, how many people died every day. please think about who are leading you attentions.
MSCANTBEWRONG on 03/05/2008:
OK, but I still got nothing...
Principissa on 03/05/2008:
Tell that to all the people who became ill and the families of the 19 people who died from tainted Chinese heparin (a blood thinner), I honestly couldn't care less how many factories the Chinese have shut down, innocent people die and become ill from the products made in those factories.
i hate you wester union on 03/05/2008:
I believe that you did not read all the story, the factory is owed by America companies, all the process are under the control of America company. and the product is create in America, not Chinese product. they are just made in China, not own by Chinese companies. This is the investment of foreign company. please read every think carefully.
MSCANTBEWRONG on 03/05/2008:
Princi, I tried to make sense of this poster but it was really confusing...but to your point I for one do not purchase products made in China anymore due to the contamination factors that have recently come to light. Maybe if more of these factories were shut down, China would get the picture and produce safe quality vs "cut corners" cheap mass quantity products.
Principissa on 03/05/2008:
The Chinese are making the products, not the American companies. End of story. If it was an American company doing this, I would be just as outraged. Innocent people are dying and becoming ill from these products and Nobody is doing a dam thing to stop it.
i hate you wester union on 03/05/2008:
and I can tell you last time CNN make joke said Chinese fish was poisoned. I can tell you I come from the city where was feeding the fish. the people there are just farmers,some of there are my uncle, they have no idea about the chemical think. they even did went to school, their skill color is litter black because they alway work under the sunshine. they are very honest people, I eat the fish and I also went to the place for twice, every think there mostly are nature.in my city close to Taiwan, we don't have chemical factories because the my city was not really discover in economy for year. and now chemical factories are move into inside of China not the borders. CNN was really misleading people. sometime I don't know how to describe them, People trust this company in north America but when they talk about the China, they always said China is bad to others, why???
i hate you wester union on 03/05/2008:
what do you think if I make the medicine and let you produce it for people here. who will responsible for that, that will be me not you. you are under my order to make. that product is new product just created by America. some times, my business friends and me design the products by ourself and manufacture in China because of low cost. if the product have problem, definitely people will said this is make in China, Chinese people have to responsible for that. Because there is a tap said make in China. most of products today are design by the companies in developed countries and make in China. you have to understand the procedure. if you go to China, you will find most of products here you will not found in China because we don't use them, different culture and habit let Chinese people does not like these products. most of products are design by ourself because we know the culture and the market who can afford the cost to consume these products.
i hate you wester union on 03/05/2008:
All Chinese government can do is shutdown the factories because they can do that. they alway try to do best. last time, my friend's factory product 3 containers' toys, because that time all the people was talking about the toys containing the position. All of his toys was destroyed by government and the factory under the watching all the time. now, his business is very slow. A small problem cause a such big change. I was considering put my factory in other county such as Africa because more cheap and government control is low today. not only me but also a lot of other people are try to do that are just because cheap. this is the trend. maybe in the future all the problems will said come from other countries.
chow on 06/07/2008:
It is true that those poison paint toys and tainted pet food are manufactured by American's owned business operating in China. Because in USA, regulation n government monitor system is much stricter and less corrupt, so it is easier to produce them in China than USA, apart from lower labor n production cost, but American consumers are ignorent about the fact, so they blamed all these sub-standard product on Chinese here.
UndercoverBnYagent on 08/07/2012:
The agent doing the transaction was supposed to say this: "western Union makes money whenever we exchange your dollars to foreign currency" if they didn't tell you that, you can actually send a letter to WU and get that agent fired to punished or at least soolded. Most of the time you have the option of sending it dollar o dollar.
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