Business

Western Union customers irate

Closure of money transfer service used by scammers causes turmoil

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, August 08, 2012    

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HOPEWELL, Hanover — The temporary closure of Western Union remittance service locations in St James yesterday resulted in overcrowding at other venues in the neighbouring parishes of Hanover and Trelawny.

During a check of the Hopewell location, one fuming customer complained that it was unfair that she had to travel from Montego Bay and wait in the long queue for hours for the service, adding that she had a similart experience in Lucea.

She told the Business Observer that she did not get through at either locations yesterday because she got impatient and left.

" This remind me of the days when you they did not have appointments at the US embassy and you had to get up early and stand in long lines for hours," an irate female Montego Bay customer complained.

"Why we the legitimate customers have to be suffering because of scammers," whined a man in the long line at Hopewell.

Meanwhile, the female customer who spoke to the Observer bemoaned that she intended to collect US500 to pay bills on behalf of a client, but she now has to return to either the location in Hopewell or Lucea, in Hanover; or Falmouth in Trelawny, today.

" This is too much expense to collect just US$500. Who is going to reimburse me. It is not fair," she rued.

Meanwhile, yesterday President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), Davon Crump said he was supportive of any move to eliminate the lotto scam, however, he expressed that customers who travelled outside of Montego Bay to other locations are at a disadvantage.

" I think this inconvenience to the citizens, who are required to go to other Western Unions, pales in comparison to the damage that the scamming is doing to the city of Montego Bay," Crump argued, adding that probably the lotto scammers may also travel to the other Western Union locations outside of Montego Bay.

"As a Chamber we support the Western Union or any entity for that matter that takes a public stand to help to eradicate the lotto scamming".

" In fact if closing all fourteen locations in St James is what it takes to improve the security measures in order to prevent scamming then so be it," Crump argued.

However he underscored that the temporary closure of the Montego Bay locations is only putting a band aid on the problem and in so doing, legitimate users of western Union in the parish of St. James, some of whom are elderly folks that rely solely on remittances from their family in order to survive, will be made to travel outside of the parish to use the western union services.

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