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Wednesday, November 14

Wednesday Whinge (or my Western Union disaster)

Well Loyal Readers, this saga began on Friday last week. I am paying someone in an overseas country for 'certain services' (completely legal!) and I needed to transfer some money to them. 'Easy' they say. 'Just use Western Union'. So I, who had never even thought of this organisation (aside from that ad where the Chinese guy orders the pizza, realises he doesn't have enough money so dear 'ol dad wires it to him via W.U and it's there before the pizza) naively attempts to find an agent in my tiny town which is open on the weekend. No luck. So, I wait until Monday, and go to the Post Office to attempt to transfer said funds, which were requested to go to the un-named country in US dollars. 'Sorry' say the Post Office, 'but we cannot send USD to that particular country, it has to be transferred in the local currency'. So I tote my screamy and bored baby home, and email my friend, who says that the local currency will be fine, and asked if I had tried to do the transfer on-line - far more convenient I thought than trekking into town again. So yesterday I attempted to transfer said funds via the W.U site on the Internet. Oh. My. Gosh. What I thought would be a simple exercise turned into a complete debacle. I completed all the guff I needed to do, then, because I was a new customer, I had to call a 1800 number to confirm my details, for security reasons. To cut a long story short, apparently, according to W.U., I do not have enough 'security clearance' to transfer funds on-line. My driver's licence, home phone number, address and credit card details were obviously not good enough for them, so I decided to get my DH to try when he came home from work with HIS credit card. Wrong again - he too is apparently a great security risk (a lawyer with his own practice) and the transfer was not accepted. By this stage, I was about to commit murder, so I not-so-calmly checked my bank account details, just to make sure that the two failed transactions had not been debited from my credit card. Yep Dear Readers, you guessed it- THEY HAD!!!! So not only had I failed to send the money to the person who needed it, nearly $1000 was missing from my account. At this point I had a huge tantrum and rang my bank, who said I needed to ring W.U. Fortunately you cannot kill people over the phone, so I rang W.U again who reassured me that they would email my bank and cancel the transactions. They then very helpfully suggested that I go to my local Post Office the next day (today) and if I used cash for the payment, there would be no problems. Guess what - THERE WERE!!!!!! My payment failed twice, Alice was screeching from sheer boredom (and I suspect from sensing my complete and utter frustration) and the transaction, at this stage STILL has not gone through. The very nice man at the post office suggested that perhaps the fault was with Australia Post, not my transfer, and has just called me to confirm that it is a 'system error' and the transfer should go through later on this morning. But I tell you what - no more Western Union for me. I have, as us Aussies would very colloquially say, had a gutfull!!!!


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear your story - but NOT SURPRISED unfortunately .... eBay's site for one WARN VERY STRONGLY against payments through Western Union for security reasons, way too easy to be ripped off apparently, I'd be super careful if I was you. I recently had a friend from overseas transfer money from her bank account into mine, a very simple procedure, secure, but did cost a small fee, worth it for peace of mind! As the saying goes 'we live and learn' hopefully your mishap will alert others. There are other ways that are easier and far more secure in these uncertain times of "rip offs".

Anonymous said...

Oh dear beware of fraud! Western Union is only okay if you know and absolutely trust the person to whom you are sending money, not for use with strangers or casual acquaintances. Intrigued by your description of the service for which you are paying?! Do tell!

Anonymous said...

Identity theft is out there alive and well, I think we forget these things don't only happen to other people, but us, scary but true, so keep a close watch on your financial accounts just in case, not wanting to be doomy and gloomy, hope it will not go to those extents.