Someone I know tried to send money through Western Union’s online site to a Middle Eastern ally of the United States. Western Union has a limit of $1000 USD or CAD for online transactions.
After completing the transaction online, the person was informed they would have to phone a customer service number and answer some questions in order to complete the transaction within 24 hours, or else it would be cancelled.
After answering standard questions to verify their identity, he was told his online transaction was denied and he’d have to complete the transaction at a local agent, and was given a code to receive a $10 discount. When asked for the reasons for the denial, he was told they couldn’t give him the reasons. Was it because he created the account that same day? Was it because it was his first online transaction? Was it because of the destination country, that it was beyond a certain amount, or a combination of those factors? Whatever the reasons were, they wouldn’t say.
When he showed up at a local agent, he was told the discount code wasn’t recognized there, and he’d have to do a new transaction. While the site reported a transfer fee of $61 for an online transaction and $30 at a local agent, it only ended up costing $19 at the local agent. Despite the questions he was asked during the online transaction and afterwards, by phone, the local agent never asked for any identification — so much for consistency.