Do not send you money via Western Union online service - it does not work! Read details below:
Western Union (WU) provides online services to transfer money, including international transfers. You provide your bank account and you can send a $1000 to any country for only $12 fee, sounds like a good deal. I created an account and initiated a 3-day international transfer to a relative. A correct amount was withdrawn from my bank account in a day or two - all looked good, I was just waiting for an email from WU confirming that the money is ready for pick-up at the recipient's location.
Instead I got an email that the money will be refunded back to my account. I spent hours calling customer service, was transferred from agent to agent several times, but could not get a clear answer what's going on. All agents I talked with barely spoke English; one told me that my money is sent to some company called "Credit Issue" (???) the other one told me that there was a decision made to decline this transfer. I asked the agent to connect me with his supervisor, but I was put on hold for a long time, after 15 min or so I had to hang up.
Then I decided to talk to a live English-speaking Western Union agent at a US Bank office nearby. The agent said that she does not have a more direct connection to WU than I have (via the same customer service phone number), but gladly agreed to try to help me. She called and got pretty much the same answer - there was a decision made to not proceed with this transfer and just refund the money back to me in 3 days.
I also tried Western Union's online customer support (chat), thinking that if their agents can't speak very well, maybe they can type and explain the situation that way. The first chat agent disconnected from me while I was typing, after approximately 1 minute. I started the chat again with a different agent and this time hit Enter key often to keep it alive. It worked, and here is the best explanation I got from WU so far:
Katherine Anne: Our records show that the money transfer was declined and it was a business decision. Many factors can ultimately determine whether or not the transaction will be approved however, we can not share detailed information as it would jeopardize the process.
I asked if this particular transaction failed and I should try again, or if the country I am sending to is denied, or if I am denied for whatever reason, and what shall I do? The answer was:
Katherine Anne: I cannot assure that it will go through as it will still be subjected for verification and approval.
I: Shall I not use WU in the future?
Katherine Anne: I do not have a direct answer to that
Katherine Anne: Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Katherine Anne: Thank you for contacting Western Union. Have a wonderful day.
Katherine Anne has disconnected.
I read in some other Ripoff Reports that this is how Western Union borrow the money from you for their business: they hold your money for several days then return them to you. In the mean time thousands of other people try to send their money, so WU return you the money received from the other people. Based on my experience it certainly smells this way - as the agent stated "it was a business decision".
Bottom line is - do not use Western Union's online service, it is no good to you as they will not send your money. The best result will be if you get your money back, I yet have to see if I get my money back in 3 days. You will waste your time talking to their customer service, as I just did, but all you get is frustration. I relied on this business to perform a time-sensitive job and they failed to do it. They also failed to provide a clear explanation of the reasons - that's a ripoff! I'll appreciate if anyone suggests a reliable service to send money from US to a different country. Certainly not WU or Moneygram (similar experience).