Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Author calls on fans to help settle his banking score

Bangor author Colin Bateman

In an unlikely turn up for the books, Bangor author and playwright Colin Bateman has stirred up a customer service nightmare involving hundreds of angry emails being sent to one account – over a £20 charge.

Colin reached out to over 4,000 friends who follow him on Facebook after falling foul of a £20 service charge by The Cheque Centre for processing money to abroad through Western Union.

On an original post the author explained that he had visited the Cheque Centre in Main Street, Bangor to send money to his 18-year-old son after he had ran out of money while on holiday in Magaluf with friends.

After lodging £150 via Western Union for collection in a Magaluf branch, he was charged a further £20 by the Cheque Centre for the service but later found out that his son could only send money from the branch and was not able to pick it it up, leaving him without money for the last few days of his holiday.

The Cheque Centre refunded the £150 but not the £20 service charge.

In the post, he said: "Now, £20 isn't considered a lot these days, but the principle is important. I entered into a contract with the Cheque Centre, who must have a contract with Western Union, and no service was provided, yet they can't see that and refuse to refund my money. Of course they've provided me with customer service numbers, but you just know where that's going to lead. Precisely nowhere.

"You know what I would love to do instead of spending hours and hours fruitlessly pursuing £20 – I would love about a hundred people just to turn up in the shop and chant 'Give Colin his money back' repeatedly until they did. And then I would use the money to buy you all three Fruit Salads and a Highland Toffee Chew," he added.

The post received large and humorous responses from many fans with one suggesting they all email the customer service address with the title "Give Colin his Money Back". That's exactly what happened with Colin even providing the address for fans to contact.

In a later post the playwright said that the customer services at the Cheque Centre had "suddenly been very keen to talk" and even posted his response to an email from them.

"Dear Debbie - To tell you the truth, I'm not in the mood to talk, because the more I think about your lack of service the angrier I become. My son is 18 and a big lad and well capable of looking after himself, but what if he wasn't, or he was a teenage girl, stranded in a strange land without money because of a service you failed to deliver... How you deal with Western Union is your concern, and if people choose to support my attempt to put this right then I'm not going to dissuade them. In fact, I'm going to urge them to continue."

Colin later suggested that followers send similar emails to customer services at Western Union and that the company make a reasonable charity donation rather than reimburse him the £20.

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