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Western Union: It's all about the rents!

Courthouse News Service:

Western Union holds unclaimed money for years without notifying senders that the intended recipients never got the money, and even "brags" to investors that its policy gives it access to more than $100 million in ready cash, a class action claims in Denver Federal Court.

"Western Union brags about this unfair and deceptive business practice in its financial statements, telling investors it always has access to more than $100 million in cash from these unremitted funds that is essentially better than an interest-free loan because Western Union gets to both make use of the money and then ultimately, after using the money for years, charge the customer a fee to return the money instead of paying the customer interest," the complaint states.

The class claims that Western Union keeps the unclaimed money until abandoned-property laws require it to give the money back - in some cases not for 6 years. Meanwhile, Western Union "makes use" of the money, says lead plaintiff Robert Smet.

Excellent! And the beauty part?

Smet found out after he sent $100 to a Vietnamese child for hospital expenses, and Western Union didn't complete the transaction, hung onto the money for six years, and then had the nerve to charge Smet $60 bucks in fees!

So, not only is Western Union exhibiting totally greedhead rent-seeking behavior, they're crippling children. Yay!

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Submitted by cg.eye on

In fact, I bet they're the financial institution of choice for the unbanked generally, because money transfer capabilities are in most payday loan places. If you aren't a citizen, how else can you get the money you just got a loan to get, to your family outside of the country?

If they don't push state/federal ID as a requirement for the sender or recipient, then they have a ready-made excuse: How were we to contact them? We're sensitive to our customers' desire for privacy? Sheesh....

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