Wire Transferring 101

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May 21st, 2004, 12:36 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 171
Wire Transferring 101

Feeling much like a babe in the woods with regards to planning safaris, I just experienced my first problem. I thought I would share and see if others have experienced the same. I wired transferred to a London Bank (Barclays) the entire cost of our trip. I was nervous because I have never paid for a trip this way, and my husband was convinced we'd be on 60 Minutes being interviewed about internet scams with Africa Tour Operators crying about our lost money! I had worked out with the operator to do one wire transfer because of the fees associated with transferring. When I went to the bank I was told I would have to convert the money into pounds (GBP). I said "No, it is suppose to be dollars". It couldn't be done I was told, and it really didn't matter which currency it was in as they could convert back. At this point, I questioned the exchange rates, and wouldn't the operator lose money in the conversion back to dollars. The banker informed me no, and went through some really long banking explanation, with lots of bankerese language. Note to self, always go with your instincts....but I didn't and told him to transfer the money. Sure enough, I received a note from my operator that we owed money because it had been converted to GBP and his account, though in a London bank, was a dollar account. When I showed my banker the $215 dollar discrepancy, he said we had to have an intermediate bank in the US (such as Barclay) transfer the money. My bank did refund the money, as they agreed they were partially responsible. I also advised my tour operator that he should make it very clear on the banking information not to convert to GBP. Has this happened to anybody else?
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May 21st, 2004, 01:02 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Cronen: No, it hasn't happened to me and nor should it have happened to you. There should not have been a question at all about wiring over US dollars. It was entirely the banks fault. And the bank should have known that an intermediary had to be used! I an't believe the person did not! And that does not impact whether you are sending US dollars or Yen! I have wired money four times to Tanzania and Kenya as well as Europe without such a problem. You did the right thing, especially when trying to save on the transfer fees. I don't know which bank you used, or where you are located, but the larger banking establishments (Bank of America, for example) are usually very familiar with the wiring process. If you used a small, local bank perhaps one of the larger establishments would be better next time. In the meantime, the bank you used was more than "partially" responsible! Shame. It sounds to me like the person who did the wiring really did not know what they are doing and got caught by the discrepancy with his/her pants down. Yes, Cronen, go with your instinct next time. But we all have to learn, right?
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