Fri | Apr 26, 2019

Letter of the Day | Not all Jamaicans are scammers

Published:Thursday | August 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM


Recently, I became a casualty of the same fate that customers complain about due to irrelevant red tape at MoneyGram.

It was my first time receiving money through MoneyGram from a friend who is currently in the United States on the calendar work and travel summer programme for international students. He sent me US$2,000 and went as far as to call MoneyGram International, requesting that they release the fund. At first, I went to two MoneyGram locations which said that they did not have the cash amount. I then went to a third location, which said that they had the amount but needed clearance from the MoneyGram head office. Up to this point, I had all the required documents needed to collect the money based on Jamaica's regulations (two forms of ID and proof of address). A representative then called my mobile number from the head office and asked me some questions about the sender. She then asked what the purpose of collecting the funds was, to which I replied. The conversation got very eerie of me when the representative said that I needed to show proof of the purpose for collecting the funds!




The representative then went as far as calling the sender twice who explained to her why he was sending me the money. I understand that cautious measures have to be taken in releasing the specific amount of cash because of Jamaica's status being listed as a lottery scamming location. However, I don't think it is right for me to go out of my way to prove the purpose of collecting the money when I had already met all guidelines previously set out. I don't believe a few bad apples should spoil the transactions of genuine customers. I felt so humiliated and next to a thief after the whole ordeal. I then found out that the representative had placed a block on the transaction.

My experience was the total opposite of FAST, EASY, RELIABLE, and I am not the only customer in dismay from the experience.

There needs to be a more reliable system in place to identify genuine customers from fraudulent ones. Not all Jamaicans who use MoneyGram are scammers. The customer service that represents MoneyGram is tacky and tardy. Agents are unable to use their discretion and make customers feel welcome. If the experience I had represents what MoneyGram is, then I will wield my power of choice and use other money-sending agencies.

Andre Arboine