For about 3 weeks now I have been trying to send an international wire to pay real estate taxes in Honduras. First off I went down to my local branch on a Friday afternoon. I waited in the wrong line for 15 minutes to be told I needed to sign in on the other side of the building. Then I signed in and waited about 45 minutes. I was one of the last customers left in the bank lobby. As I was sitting a man came out of his office where he had 2 customers from Honduras. I quickly inform him that I am wiring to Honduras and he tells me he is from there and so are the customers in his office.
He said he will personally take care of me because the other lady, he said with a grin, was much slower than he was. The lady, other bank officer, did finish first but because I had spoke to Jeovany. Since he was from Honduras I thought he would be a better banking contact to make. So i waited an extra 15 minutes for him to wrap things up with his customers.
When I walk in we make small talk about Honduras and talk a little politics. I gave him the page with all my agent in Honduras’ wire instructions. Its a standard form page everyone has for their own info. After looking confused a couple of minutes he tells me there is too much information on the page and he doesnt know what to do. So I asked him if he had ever done one before and he said about 4 a day. He then looked to the other agent for advice who looked at me and said sharply that if they wire to the wrong place it will cost me an extra $45. I then told him that I expected him to be able to read this standard sheet and make the right call as to what he needed, afterall he is the professional, right?
So ok, I went back to my house and emailed my agent in Honduras and gave her Jeovanny’s email address. Since they were both Honduran I thought it would be a good connection. She wrote him he wrote her a snippy response and she forwarded it to me. He would not communicate with her on my behalf. I wrote him an email to which he replys 3 days later saying that I needed to come back in and redo the paperwork. The wire info I signed was good for only that day.
Next day I went, I signed in and waited a good 30 minutes. Neither Jeovanny or the other lady would even make eye contact with me as if they were avoiding me. I end up with the manager of these two people. She tells me that they no longer do wire transfers in the bank. We the customers must do our own online. I told her I am on the site almost daily and had never seen that link and could she show it to me on her computer. She looks to the one lady on her left and verifies that yes the link is there. It was hard for me to believe. I said is this a safe thing to do and she said that the bank has had numerous problems doing wire transfers and will no longer be responsible for them.
Ok I said and went back to the house and got online. I couldnt find the link anywhere. So the following Monday I called the bank back trying to get ahold of Jeovanny and no one would answer the phones at that branch. So I said WTH!!! Two days later I went to a branch further down the road thinking that maybe it was just this branch. I walked right in the door and immediately Joann came to me and asked me in her office. I was thinking wow this place is much nicer and the service is much faster.
We talk a little about the situation and she tells me that only the employees of the bank make their own international wire transfers, not the customers. She says there are talks of making a new system for customers to do themselves online. I asked if we will still incurr the $45 wire transfer and her reply was yes. I told her thats another shining example of how the bank does less and still makes money. She politely agreed and sent the transfer out for me right then. I was feeling so relieved, thinking wow thats how easy it should have been the first time.
Wishful thinking. Four days later I get a photocopy of the amount received by the bank in Honduras and it is only $374 instead of the $419 I wired. Online banking shows both the $419 and the $45 wire transfer came out. This is still not settled as I write. The bank says that they did everything correct, yet the amount missing is the $45 wire transfer fee, that my statement clearly shows was debited from my account.
Just now as I am writing the bank calls and puts the blame on the Honduran bank for taking the extra money. So run around again here I go…