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Western Union Fincl Svcs Inc / canceled money transfer without notification

1 United States

On December 27th one of my friends was in an emergency situation where he wanted to borrow $200 from me, it was a busy day for me so i did not have the luxury to go to a bank to deposit money to his account. At times like this you would depend on a service like western union. I've used there service before and apart from having to call in to verify your identity each time (even though they should be able to clearly see that i been a customer for a while) never had any major issues with them.

I used the online service and i got the usual email to call into confirm.

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Dear xxxx xxxxx
Thank you for using the Western Union Money Transfer® - Money in Minutes service.
We need additional information in order to provide final approval for your transaction. Please call [protected] to speak with a customer service representative and complete your order.

If we do not hear from you within 24 hours, we will cancel your money transfer and you will not be billed.
Your Money Transfer Control Number [MTCN] is: [protected]
Please use this number for any inquiries.
If you have any questions, please visit us at www.westernunion.com.

Thank you for using Western Union!
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So i called in and then the customer service personal quickly managed to verify my identity and then said the funds were available. and i received this email.

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Dear xxx xxxxI,

Thank you for using the Western Union Money Transfer® - Money in Minutes service

Your money transfer has been authorized and is now available for pick up by the receiver.

Transfers to certain destinations may be subject to further delay or additional restrictions.

________________________________________
TRANSACTION DETAILS:
________________________________________

Your Money Transfer Control Number [MTCN] is : [protected]

Please use this number for any inquiries.

Date of Order: 12/27/2008
Amount Sent: $200.00
Money Transfer Fee: $27.00
Total Amount: $227.00

Exchange rate* 1 USD = 1.1730719 CAD
Local currency pay out = 234.61 CAD

IN ADDITION TO THE TRANSFER FEE, WESTERN UNION ALSO MAKES MONEY WHEN IT CHANGES YOUR DOLLARS INTO FOREIGN CURRENCY. PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENCY EXCHANGE. ...
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So i called up my friend and said his matter is taken care of under 10 minutes and was very happy have helped. He was happy and thanked me and i thought all is well.

An hour later i received a call from him telling me that they are not able to find the transfer in the system at the payout location.

I was puzzled and quickly called Western Union customer service and the conversation was something like this.

me: Hi i am calling to find out why the receiver of [protected] is not able to take the money from the location.
operator: (checking) I am sorry sir this transfer is canceled.
me: what who canceled it, i was told everything is ok.
operator: (in a high tone of voice) i am sorry i can't tell you anything else, we canceled it so you need to go to a location and do the transfer.
(further more questioning from me simply got very rude response back)

So bottom line is, Western Union online transfer isn't the right choice if your in an emergency, because this could happened to anyone. it's true there is risk in online business, but there should be better ways of implementing it. When the system is broken having rude operators repeat the same thing at your isn't solving problems. Especially they should be able to verify an existing customer who had sent and received money through them.

The people who works their verification department has no world knowledge, i am saying this because on March 8th 2008 when i sent my brother $300 to get a new cell phone the operator who was verifying my identity asked me (after explaining why i am sending money to my brother in Thailand to get cell) Her response was

"Oh, they have cell phones their" <-- Priceless. Dear western union please educate your employees, last thing i want is some ignorant person trying to verify my identity and asking me to go to the location because they have no idea of whats out there.

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