WARNING! THIS IS A LONG POST. Please read with an open heart and mind. Thank you!
Yes, you read this post’s title right: If you’re a Filipino outside the country, SENDING MONEY TO PHILIPPINES NEED NOT BE DIFFICULT, and it really isn’t! BUT, XOOM MADE IT SO FOR US! And worse: DESPITE US HAVING BEEN CUSTOMERS FOR OVER 5 YEARS! Shame on you, Xoom! Last Thursday night, the husband and I both agreed to STOP using their service because it’s not worth it! I shall try to elaborate in detail what transpired from our last (two) transactions that caused so much disappointment and heartache on our part as Xoom customers. As you take a look at my side, please be objective and feel free to tell me what you think or feel if you’re in our shoes.
My husband and I have been Xoom customers for over 5 years now and we have a total of four Xoom accounts (each account should have a different bank account/debit/credit card linked). Our main account, one that we most often us is under the husband’s name. Being customers for over 5 years, this main account has had a total of 112 Transactions to more or less 30 recipients. With our other 3 accounts, you can guess how many more Xoom transactions we have done or how many more recipients have benefited from us.
Transaction history of our main account reached 12 pages with a total of 112 Transactions
With such record, can’t Xoom, as a company, value us or at least give us importance as their customers?
This was what happened to our last transactions that made us decide to cut our connection with Xoom:
Last Wednesday, April 2 at 1:44 pm, I sent an amount of $1,500.00 to a trusted friend and a sister-in-Christ in Ormoc City, Leyte. This wasn’t the first time to send her funds as big as this because this was already the third time. The purpose of the funds is for the rebuilding of the church that was walloped by Super Typhoon Haiyan locally known as Yolanda. Normally, just within a minute or two, the money is already available or ready for pickup by the recipient. I say ‘normally’ because that’s what happened in all of the transactions we have made in the past. So with this one, I was kind of surprise why it took a bit longer. I was expecting that the money’s availability to be picked up at a Xoom pickup agent in Ormoc City was automatic and so I already sent the transaction number to the recipient and informed her of the funds. Ten hours later, I received a SMS from the recipient that the money is not available yet. It was around 12 midnight at my end and I had to wake my husband up to inform him that the money wasn’t picked up yet. I worried big time because I know how needed the funds to be there to continue the rebuilding work for this week. I logged in to our Xoom account and found out that indeed, the transaction was still ‘Processing’. I checked our email to see if there is any notice from Xoom about the delay but there was none. I wanted to call them right then and there but it was 12 midnight, so I ended sending an email instead to their customer service. I was replied with my inquiry about the delay of our money transfer at around 3 AM telling us that the transaction is being reviewed by the Compliance Team. With such reply, the husband and I wondered if we have violated any terms or policies. We don’t think we did, but we submitted to the review of our transaction. We figured maybe we were suspected of sending funds in support to an illegal activities overseas because of the last two transactions we did to the same person we’re sending money for the third time which was over a thousand dollars per transaction. Which is not the case of course, so we reckoned it wouldn’t be a problem if we will be asked about it during the review since we can readily give them the reason of the said money transfers we have been doing. All along, we thought that our mission to help out the victims of Typhoon Yolanda was a good one, unfortunately, it doesn’t pass the standard of Xoom’s terms and policies.
Around 9 AM on April 3, the husband, while at his office, called Xoom to initiate a review on our transaction that was currently put on hold. While speaking with Xoom’s customer service and Compliance Team, he was told that he was sent an email asking him to send copies of important documents needed for him and he was able to fulfill it that time. He was given reasons that he couldn’t do the transaction this time because of some violations to the policies namely limit on the amount that he could transfer in the last 6 months and so on and so forth. After all of his reasoning and needed justification, he was okayed on the documents and the questions asked on him until he then was inquired who the recipient was and if he was related to the recipient and what the money is for. With all honesty, the husband, who remained calm and relaxed, as he always is, told the other line that personally, he doesn’t know the recipient because it is only his wife who communicates with the recipient and it was his wife who did the transaction. He clarified that the recipient is a member of the church that we are helping and supporting and the money that we are sending is for the rebuilding of the church that got damaged by the typhoon. Boooom! He was then told that such reason was unacceptable to the Xoom policies and the transaction therefore is bound to be cancelled. First, that he shouldn’t send money to someone he doesn’t know. If his wife was the one that sent the money, she should use use her own Xoom account and not his. And lastly, that Xoom doesn’t support money transfer for commercial purposes or for charity donations, only to family and friends.” That very moment, that transaction done about 20 hours ago was cancelled.
Cancelled after the Compliance Review
About 2 PM that same day, the husband got home from work and let me know what transpired during the compliance review via a telephone call. The outcome of the review definitely made me angry and I decided to call Xoom myself to air my side. Technicalities were even so out-of-sense to me because I was told that I couldn’t inquire about the transaction without my husband’s permission because it was his account and not mine. They had to hear from my husband his permission to let me deal with the transaction before I could ask them my questions. Which was not a problem, because my husband can permit me anytime, and so I told them that this account maybe under my husband’s name but all of the transactions done under this account are both ours and majority are even my doings with his knowledge and permission. Whatever happened to conjugal property in marriage? It looks like Xoom doesn’t honor such code! I clarified to them that it is true that my husband doesn’t personally know the recipient because I was the one that has the communication with her. We are not blood-related but we are personal friends and are even family members of the same church we attend and I trust the recipient and the money is to help out with their church rebuilding. Still, I was told that if I am the one that knew the recipient, I should have used my own Xoom account and not my husband’s. What a lame violation that was that I committed, eh? It surely made my blood pressure elevate to the highest level! Did I defend myself on why I did it? Sure I did! And here’s what I told the Xoom team
(and take note, they were Filipinos!) that I talked to:
“Ma’am, you can’t order me to use my own Xoom account and not my husband’s when I have to send money to recipients that my husband don’t personally know. First of all, this is not the first time that I did this to the recipient because this is already my third time and the last two transactions I made to this same person went through. Why do you question us about this just now? Second, I could use my own Xoom account but the funds that we need to send is in the bank account linked to this account of my husband. Third, look at our record of all the transactions we have made in the past five years or so: did you know that majority of those transactions– the recipients are my personal contacts and not my husband’s? That wouldn’t be right then if you won’t let this transaction go through just because I was the one who did the transaction under my husband’s account.”
The next response I got was this: That actually, this transaction was close to being successful already when they did the compliance review with my husband this morning but because the purpose was for charity, they don’t allow it at Xoom.
Here’s what I told them again:
It’s true, the purpose of the money is for charity. We are trying to help out a group of people rebuild what was lost of them after the typhoon. It may be charity works but it is not commercial. It may be charity works but it doesn’t pass the standard of helping a charity organization because we are not sending money to an organization but to an individual who did the planning of the church construction. If you call this charity, what do you call all the other transactions we did in the past five years? We sent funds to family and friends for their medical and other emergency needs as well as tuition fee purposes for students who we were helping out. Aren’t all those charity as well? Is there a difference, really?
Maybe it is just me. Or us. Maybe we are just different. And Xoom strongly feels differently and since we are JUST customers bound to follow to the terms and user agreement of the company, we can’t really do anything if they decide to not push through the transaction. Or can we? Well, since it has been cancelled, I just asked them if we can still send money under this account (which is our main among our four accounts) and I was told Yes. Not to the same recipient anymore but yes to a different recipient. And so I did. To a different name but still with the same address– who, this time, is our very family friend, my friend’s grandfather. I honestly told them that I am sending the same amount of money to someone in the same address for the same purpose– to help out with the church rebuilding project. I was told YES, since I know the person, and so I was relieved.
BUT, Xoom seemed to just trick me! Us. The new transaction that I did was still unsuccessful and the same flow of reasons was what I understood to be. See this snipped image:
Transaction #2: Pending for a long time
If you noticed the tracking update of the transaction, money transfer request was done late afternoon on April 3. After waiting for a couple of hours without any development, my husband and I decided to just forget about it instead of calling them again because it will just be a waste of time. You see, the money was very much needed back in Ormoc City, Leyte. The current project is now on the roofing and finishing of the building and it has been on halt because of the unavailability of funds and so my husband and I have decided to just use our other Xoom account under my name. We figured that his account seemed to have been watched by the review team that any new transaction done will not be instantly successful but will be reviewed after I spent time and sweat in airing my side and frustration to what has happened from our last transaction. Although I emailed them about this new transaction’s status, there was no reply or any notice whatsoever from them. So, we decided to just leave it that way and will just try to send the funds using my own account.
To my dismay, there was no difference at all with what took place! See the transaction status below:
Transaction 1 was done at exactly 5 PM to the first recipient who is the same recipient in our transaction done using my husband’s Xoom account that they questioned. I was confident to send this funds to her after all, I was told that I should have used my own Xoom account if I was the one that knew the recipient personally. However, just within a minute after doing the transaction, it was cancelled right then and there. I was shocked! I asked myself if they have blocked this very name of the recipient because of the Auto Cancellation that happened. I just answered my own question feeling so disappointed and mad. Knowing how needed the money was and how Xoom does the money transfer so quickly as what we have experienced in the past, I reckoned that maybe they just don’t want to have anything to do with the name of my recipient; thus, the automatic cancellation. However, I really needed the money to be sent. True, I could drive to Walmart and just Moneygram it but being the loyal Xoom users that we were, we still stuck with them. I said since the first transaction was automatically cancelled just because of the name of the recipient (my intuition tells me so) that has been in question under my husband’s account name, I will just send the funds to Tatay Francisco, the same recipient of the last transaction under my husband’s account that was on hold. However, if you look at the photo above (right), you will notice as well that just like the first transaction, this new one was also AUTOMATICALLY canceled. Done at 5:57 PM, AUTO cancellation took place at 5:58 PM.
Where is justice there? I was really fuming mad already, my blood pressure rose to the highest and my heart beat so fast because of this unfair and uncalled for acts that Xoom did to us! I couldn’t use any other name as recipients because these two people are who I communicate with daily and they’re the ones who have access to the pickup agent in Ormoc City not to mention they’re the ones that manned the rebuilding of the church that we are supporting. While I informed them (the two recipients) that we are having trouble sending money to them because Xoom have been very hard on us, Ate Gina and Tatay Francisco (the recipients) just told me that it is Satan at work hindering us from our mission to help out. That Satan may block us but God is powerful and He will find a way. Amen and Amen, indeed!
Having suffered too much heartaches and disappointments from this ordeal with Xoom, I left the Customer Service a message under my account and the husband’s that we are expecting to receive a notice or an explanation of all these transactions that got canceled despite their assurance that we can still do money transfer to another people. I got a response on April 3 evening that the two transactions in my account were cancelled because it was identified as a commercial transaction.
Transaction cancelled: Identified as commercial transaction
That left me speechless. I already got too tired of arguing with them or insisting to them that there were no commercial reasons involved in the transactions that I just made. They could investigate me to the very core and I am guilt-free to still say I have not violated any policy in the user agreement that I have clearly read and understood. If helping out a group of people rebuild their lost place for worship is a commercial or charitable activity that is not permitted by Xoom, then, clearly– there is no reason for me and my husband to still use their service. After all, all of the transactions we did in the past were all for charity reasons. We sent money to family and friends because we love them and would do our best to help them with whatever we can and we have, even if we’re far from them. Too bad that Xoom doesn’t care. When they say they only permit sending money to family and friends– does that mean there is no charity involved with such gesture? Xoom.com– you might need to re-learn what charity is.
This photo is the Yolanda-destroyed SDA church building in Barangay Kadauhan, Ormoc City in Leyte.
Yolanda-destroyed Kadauhan SDA Church
It costs about $9,000.00 to rebuild it and it is what we have been supporting since February of this year. Pure charity works, yes. But we’re doing it privately; thus, the Xoom transactions that I have been making. The first two transactions were successful, but the third and the couple more won’t be with Xoom anymore as it looks like charity works like this is not permitted in their user agreement. Bless them!
They might be who the Antagonist is using to delay this project but Our God is a God of wonders! We have found another way of sending our funds with hopefully, no problem whatsoever. We would have preferred Xoom’s service because we could get the biggest value of our dollars with them when the funds reach Philippines but we won’t insist when Xoom.com itself closes its door on us.
A very late notice from Xoom (one day late) got in to our inbox dated April 4 and it was a follow-up request for additional information from us so that the second transaction (SEE PHOTO #3 above) that we did will be processed. Take a look:
Why we send money and who are we sending to? REALLY, Xoom???
Together with the copies of the documents that they request from my husband, he was asked to explain the purpose of the 7 money transfers done in the past and to describe the relationships he had with each of the recipient. REALLY? We already ignored this request from them as we have already decided to stop using their service and close our Xoom accounts right after they automatically cancelled the two transactions I did in my own account but I can give in to their request in case they happen to read this blog post of mine.
First- funds sent to A was our help to Yolanda Victims in Northern Cebu (Friend)
Second- funds sent to B was our help for a relative who needed financial help after suffering from a stroke and underwent a brain surgery with sky-rocketing hospital bills (Relative)
Third- funds sent to E was for our two college scholars (Relative)
Fourth- funds sent to F was for the immediate aid his family could get a day after Typhoon Yolanda when the Philippine government was too slow to help the victims (Relative/Friend)
Fifth- funds sent to G1 was for our niece’s tuition needs (Relative)
Sixth- funds sent to G2 was an aid to a friend who lost a loved one.
Seventh- funds sent to J was a financial help to a family
With such elaboration– what can Xoom get? A lesson may be on CHARITY? Will it change its views on charity or its scope of the User Agreement? Maybe yes, maybe no. The bottomline is, we take advantage of their service to cater the charitable desires of our hearts as shown in those transactions that I just revealed. We give without expecting anything in return but we give because we are happy when we’re able to share even the littlest of what we have. If this won’t synchronize with Xoom’s motives, then there is no need anymore to use their service. We are grateful for the over 5 years of taking advantage of each other but now, we have to let go and move on.
Let me stress this out once and for all: Protocols are a given. I have no problem with that! If there is someone who can readily submit to authorities because it is the protocol, I am one of those. What I feel so bugged out at is how Xoom handled our case. For being Filipinos, it’s not new how they lack ethics and since I am unheard by them, I am resorting to my own avenue of voicing out my frustrations. I am not one to stop you from using Xoom if you’re a happy user. I was, too, for over 5 years, but now I felt devalued as a loyal customer. Thus, this post.
I have never been so disappointed in a long time and this terrible plight with Xoom has been really heartbreaking, but lessons have been learned and God, once again, has revealed His way that’s more satisfying than everything man can offer. We may have ended our connection with Xoom, but the charity works that our hearts so desire can never be set aside. It pays to ‘overcome evil with good’ after all! (Romans 12:21)