Western Union, the fastest way to NOT get money

So last summer I got a sweetheart deal on a bunch of scuba gear so I bought some for a buddy of mine who was short of cash at the time. He’s been paying me back over the months but most recently, he sent me a money order from Western Union. You know, “Western Union, the fastest way to send money,” those guys.
I was in Chicago for ChiDope and right up the street from Nymysys, who was kind enough to let me crash at her place, was a Western Union. Figuring this to be an easy exchange, we swung by Saturday before heading out to take Evil Bitch pictures in front of The Reader. I walk up and this is what happened:

So now I’m back in Kentucky (mind you, my home and bank are in Ohio), so I figured I’d try to cash it at a local bank, located inside a Piggly Wiggly here. No dice. They helpfully point out the Western Union front a few yards away. Gee, hadn’t seen that, you know, since it’s only right in front of the doors. :rolleyes:
Anyway, hoping it was just a Shy-town thing, maybe they don’t like folks that say “y’all” and “ma’am,” I wander over to the counter. While waiting in line I make sure to check the list of “Types of check we can not cash:”
[ul] [li]Any check for more than $400:mine’s for $100, check []Checks made out to a third party: the line is actually blank, so roger that, too []Other fairly obvious and reasonable things, to which I noted:** check, check and alrighty** [/ul][/li]Stepping to the front of the line, I again present the check and politely ask to have it cashed.

So I’ve got a check for $100 that apparently isn’t even good to the people that wrote it. Wonderful.
FTR: alternate thread titles included:
Western Union, the fastest way to piss you right the fuck off.
Western Union, the fastest way to…oh, I’m sorry, we can’t cash our own checks.
Western Union can choke on a fat cock.

{Edited to fix coding. Lynn}

[Edited by Lynn Bodoni on 03-13-2001 at 12:20 AM]

so wait… they can only cash a check they wrote in the place it was written? Dosnt that entirely defeat the purpose…?

That’s rather… idiotic…

Oh, and FTR, I gotta vote for the last title choice. :smiley:

And how. Some of the stupidest shit I’ve heard has been involved with this check. For starters, the people working at these counters are…not bright…in the least. I don’t know what the fuck Western Union is doing when they won’t even cash their own checks!
We’ll take your money, but, uh, you can’t actually give it to anyone. Not conveniently, anyway.

Next step: Very politely, ask them to put their reason for failing to cash the check in writing.

If they ask why, say something to the effect that your lawyer recommended that whenever a business or its agents fails to honor its own bank drafts, getting their refusal in writing makes the case much easier. Don’t mention lawsuit, just “the case.”

Odds are a manager shows up with the money and grovelous apologies within 45 seconds of your request. :slight_smile:

Hmmm, I’ve only used WU once on a personal basis. In that instance, I went there, picked up what amounts to a money order and deposited in my account. The counter clerk did ask me if I wanted to cash it there. Not needing the cash that second, I said no, and deposited the funds into my checking account.

At the bank where I work, we have what’s called WU Quick Collect which allows our collectors to send some dead beat to the local Piggly Wiggly to send certified funds to us immediately. Never heard of them having a problem with “cashability” either. (Of course, I’ve seen the bank cash checks made out to “Sears” with no problem without problem too, so there ya go…)

This is odd. I have a couple of contacts at WU, if you’d like, I can probably find out the problem with the check you have and, if need be, throw some minor weight around so you can get it cashed. Let me know.

Polycarp, while I like your idea, the WU item is not certainly drawn from an account that WU controls. If that’s the case, what they should be offering to do is to reissue the check. Kinda like if I write you a check and the bank its drawn from refuses to cash it because the routing number on the bottom is wrong. What I’m trying to say is that there is more to this check than the info we have.

The check says, across the top:

Well, nevermind the formatting, it says:

Below the “pay to the order” area, it reads:

Now, if this means I have to travel to Grand Junction to cash this mother, I’m gonna be hella-pissed. Isn’t the point of money orders that they are essentially certified checks?

I’m baffled. Have you tried calling the Western Union customer service line?

Funny you should ask.
Short answer: No
Long answer: No, because there is no number shown on the check ad the woman at the counter, did I mention she’s none too bright, was not able to find any number which I might call to get further assistance. The incompetence and strangeness of corporate policy that I’ve witnessed since getting this check is mind-boggling.

Did you get this line of BS from a teller or a manager?

Demand to speak to the manager. Take Polycarp’s advice. If the manager refuses to honor it, get the reason in writing.

Then come back to WU at the busiest hour of the day, and announce to all the customers that WU is issuing money orders that their friends, relatives and creditors will not ba able to redeem and that they should reconsider using WU. Offer the managers letter as proof of your assertion. Make copies.

I’ve had a few dealings with Western Union, and I’ve never had any problems with them.

I’ve had money wired to me, and when I pick it up they issue it in a form of a check. They have always cashed said check right there for me.

I can’t begin to fathom why they wouldn’t do the same for you, unless (as has been said) the teller was a complete doofus.

By the way, it’s been my impression that banks can cash those as easily as anyone else - you just need ID to prove you’re you, don’t you?

What a crock! Well, don’t blame all of WU - blame this one dipshit and that one branch…

Check this out. There’s several e-mail addresses and 800 numbers you can call for Customer Service Reps.

Hope this helps.

From Western Union’s home page.

The site also gives toll free customer service numbers.

Just wanted to add that we used Western Union to send money to my son in Zanzibar and it went without a hitch. So if you can’t get to Colorado to cash your check, you might try Tanzania.

Seriously, the Western Union office we used for this transaction was just a corner of the local grocery store. They had a clerk who had been, I guess, trained and authorized to act as a Western Union agent. My guess is they would have been reluctant to cash a money order just because they would have had to use the store cash to do so. But I didn’t actually ask them.

As for the intelligence of the clerks – we sent money to my son twice (the spendthrift!). The first time the clerk was geographically impaired. Couldn’t find Africa and certainly didn’t know that there were countries IN Africa. The second time the clerk was very sharp.

I should also note that when I was wired money in Orlando, Florida, the clerk refused to pay the cash to me at first (it was a gas station) because the money order was for “Dan” and my driver’s license says “Daniel.”

Talk about your nitpicking! I had to go outside, make a collect pay call back home, have my dad cancel the original order, then make a new order that said “Daniel.” All because some clerk was rigid…

I don’t know why I neevr thought to look online for these guys…

Anyhow, I’ve been informed by Customer Service Representative #26348 that “Western Union Money Orders are designed to be deposit only items.”

Basically, I have to either sign it and send it to my bank in Ohio (or wait until I return home) or keep trying to find a check-cashing place here in Kentucky. Western Union, by official practice, does not cash Money Orders that were created anywhere other than the place you are attempting to cash them at.

Thanks for all the input, folks. I still think it’s a huge load of shit, though. Fast and easy, my hairy ass.

Yeah, based on their ads, you’d think that any WU office would allow you to walk out with cash. I guess I can understand the reasoning, to some extent, but if the office is in a fairly safe environment, why not require “authorized agents” to have a given amount of jing on hand (in a safe) to cash WU wires? The amount could easily be based on the average amount that tranacts in in a given ofice per week.