Thursday, 11 October 2012

Western Union’s direct agent defends erring sub-agents in Mambulao: ‘Just an isolated case’

The LSG Pawnshop ... alleged illegal service charge 'just an isolated case', says Western Union's Direct Agent covering the remittance services in Mambulao. - MWBuzzpic by AP HERNANDEZ


MAMBULAO: The direct agent of Western Union that covers the remittance company’s operations in Jose Panganiban, CamNorte has cleared its three sub-agents of any alleged malpractice.

Danilo M Cruz, business development manager of Western Union’s Direct Agent, who handles the account of pawnshops LSG, LSP and SGV told MWBuzz through email that the alleged malpractice being leveled on the three remittance outlets was an “isolated” case.

It is just an “isolated case” involving an employee and was not directly committed by Ms Susan Velacruz Galleta, the owner and operator of the three pawnshops in question, Cruz said.

“The amount involved in this incident is very small compared to the millions of pesos in transactions that pass through the locations of Ms Galleta and I believe that if these pawnshops are involved in "malpractices", then her pawnshops had been closed a long time ago.”  

Cruz was reacting to a recent report by MWBuzz on the alleged malpractice committed by the three pawnshops, which are Western Union’s outlets/sub-agents in Jose Panganiban.

 “These pawnshops have been in the remittance business since 2006 and have not been involved in any irregularity and this is in reference with our records,” he said.

Cruz said that in her latest communication with his office, Galleta has promised to “strictly enforce what has been taught and trained to them by Western Union”.

“She also assured us that she will randomly check and audit the transactions of her employees.”

Cruz said that Galleta has been trying to locate the complainant’s residence in Mambulao, “but to no avail”.

He told MWBuzz: “In case you have her address and phone numbers, please email it to me or to Ms Galleta, so she can remit (reimburse) the amount immediately.”

Cruz stressed that “as a direct agent of Western Union, we have employees who handle compliance of our sub-agents, to ensure that they strictly follow the regulations of the remittance industry”.

Reiterating that the incident that happened on December 24, 2011 was just “isolated”, he said it was “the first and only complaint from Mambulao”.

However, a member of the family of complainant Evangeline B Demasayao, of Mambulao poblacion, told MWBuzz in email that it was Galleta herself who processed the transaction when the beneficiary - her sister Evangeline – claimed the money on December 25, 2011.

“Ms Galleta was the one we dealt with and not any or her staff when we claimed the money sent to my sister by her husband from Canada,” said the family member who wished not to be identified in this report.

Ms Demasayao’s sister dismayed to learn that Ms Galleta did not know the address of the complainant, when it was recorded in the remittance’s claim receipt.

Saying that the Barcoma-Demasayao family is known in Jose Panganiban, the family member said Galleta could have found a way if she really wanted to reimburse her sister of the P982.37 deducted from her remittance.

The missing amount came from the P21,186.37 (equivalent to 500 Canadian dollars based on the exchange rate on December 24, 2011) sent to Demasayao by her husband.

Demasayao, who claimed the money on Christmas Day at LSP Pawnshop, was given only P20,294, an amount which was handwritten on the front face of the receipt.

Earlier, the operations director of Western Union-South and East Asia, told this reporter in an email that their investigation team has determined the modus operandi used by pawnshops LSG/LSP/SGV pawnshops.

The officer said that the operations of LSG-LSP-SGV pawnshops are closely being monitored and has urged those who had similar experience with Galleta’s pawnshops as well as the other Western Union outlets in Mambulao should not hesitate reporting their complaints.

The MWBuzz brought Demasayao’s complaint straight to Western Union’s head office in Metro Manila two months ago after it was not acted upon by the JP municipal government office where it was first lodged.

Galleta’s pawnshops are three of the five Western Union remittance outlets in Mambulao.

Facebook postings by overseas Mambulaoans who are familiar with Demasayao’s complaint have urged Mambulaoans receiving Western Union remittances to avoid using LSG-LSP-SGV pawnshops when claiming their money.

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