Written on: 15/07/2012 by londoner001 (1 review written)
After checking their online currency rates and their offer of speedy and cheap service, I thought I could give it a try.
After calling them and giving the details of the order, they said the amount would reach the recipent's account within two working days. I made the order on Wednesday and they said it would reach by Friday. I accepted it and then I was sent an contract note saying that I needed to make the payment that same day, or I would be charged interest for each day of delay! This was threatening itself, so I immediately transferred the money on the day, and they confirmed that they received it.
On Friday, I called the recipient who said that she had not received it. I called the company again to find out why they didn't send it, they made excuses, saying "it may take longer to transfer in some countries, so wait a little bit longer".
The following week, I monitored the situation on a daily basis, but the amount still didn't reach the recipient's account. After another week's wait, I called the company again and they promised to trace it. Nothing happened for days.
The following week, I gave up hope and wrote a complaint letter with the threat of referring the matter the Ombudsman. That day they came back with an excuse: "account number and account holder details do not match". I checked the contract note again and also called the account holder, who said all the details were correct- using the same details, I had sent money to the same person through high street banks before,so their answer made me suspicious of their business and I told them to try transfering it again using the same details, which they refused, expecting me to give a different account number and account holder's name.
By then, almost three weeks past from the day when I sent my money to Currencies Direct, but the recipient still hasn't received it. As I gave up hope with them, to prove that they were wrong, on a Wednesday three weeks after Currencies Direct's involvement, I immediately transferred exactly the same amount to the account holder myself using the same details online on LloydsTSB website. I had to pay £20 on top of this for this transaction. The bank promised to make the transfer within two days - Friday was the expected day. On Friday, I called the account holder, who fortunately confirmed that she received the money from LloydsTSB exactly that day, while nothing was received from Currencies Direct with the same details.
After experiencing all these, I wrote another complaint letter to Currencies Direct, and stated that their company claims to be expert in currency transactions, but they could not make such a simple transaction competently. I asked them to make a full refund.
To my suprise, they did not even appologize or send anything to cover the costs occurred due to their inefficiencies. All they did was to send me only about £940 back from £1000 they had taken at the beginning of the transaction. This means I not only lost time, incurred extra costs of international calling and extra transaction fees for LloydsTSB, but also capital costs i.e. I got back £60 less than the amount I paid to Currencies Direct!
I referred the matter to the Financial Ombudsman, where even the arbitrator realized that all the account details of the recipient on the Currencies Direct documents were exactly the same as the LloydsTSB documents for the transfer. However, as the company came up with yet another excuse of "probable mistake of another bank in the chain" (i.e. their HSBC bank or their overseas bank involved in this transaction), the letter from the Ombudsman stated: "Because it was not in the control of Currencies Direct, so we can't ask for compensation". They also said that because I asked for a refund, they had to convert the currency into Sterlin again and due to the currency fluctuation during the time they held my money in their account, they had to refund less than expected!
This is not fair on customers as these companies can use these excuses easily to get away with whenever customers make complaints, causing customers to lose money.
This taught me a very expensive lesson. I will not use such currency companies again even if they state that they are FSA registered. It cost me more than what high street banks would charge and the amount of time they would take to make the transfer.
I am not happy with the decision of the Financial Ombudsman either, so I am thinking of making a small claims court application against the company.
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