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Brit Expats Transferring Funds to Colombia
For the past seven years, I have been transferring my Pension from the UK to Colombia with relatively few problems, but this month it appeared to be one problem after another.
About two years ago, I changed to using Azimo, they give an excellent rate of exchange, for a tiny fee, but there were intermittent problems over the length of time their 'Colombian' Partner was taking to deposit the funds into my account.
Eventually Azimo changed partner, and used BBVA.
Since Azimo advertise that they use a 'Local' Partner in Colombia, and deposit your money into your account in Pesos, I naturally assumed that they use BBVA Colombia.
I made my monthly transfer from my UK account on November 1st, expecting it to be in my account by midday, but the day came and went and nothing, the same went for Friday, I then knew I would have to wait until Tuesday, due to the Fiesta on Monday.
Tuesday came and I woke up to an automatic email, saying my transfer had been cancelled and would be refunded. I went onto my Azimo Account, where it said I had requested the cancellation. I was steaming. I fired off an email demanding an explanation, and received a reply saying that BBVA had given no reason, other than it was rejected by Bancolombia.
I asked for them to retry the transfer, fortunately it meant I was getting an even better rate of exchange!
That night I contacted Bancolombia, who stated that they had not rejected the deposit, It had been reclaimed by BBVA, however the second payment was with my Bank, but it had not been deposited in my account, it was a Giro, I would have to go to a branch of BC and ask for it to be put into my account.
The following morning, I went to the Bank, where I was told that the Deposit had been made in US dollars not Pesos, and the amount took me over my limit for automatic deposits for the year, I would have to see the Customer Manager, but she was not available at that time.
Back home we contacted BBVA Colombia at their Commercial office in Bogota, who checked their records, and had nothing on Azimo or me! they asked me to confirm with Azimo that it was Colombia they were dealing with.
The days were passing, and my Colombian account was running dry, I was getting nowhere fast.
The following day there was another email from Azimo stating that if I did not go to the Bank that morning, the money would again be returned, but it would not be in my UK account for 5 days.
I returned to Bancolombia, loaded with documents proving the money trail, and the Customer Manager was great.
She explained that Brit Residents have a limit of $28000US each year set by the Bank of Colombia, if you reach that, you can still receive deposits as long as for each one you provide the paperwork proving source, but can't have the funds automatically deposited. That year starts again in January. (If you are US Resident, there is no such restriction, because there is an agreement with the US Government, who provide proof of a US Citizens income to the Colombian Government when requested). She went on to show me the deposits made both by BBVA and the previous 'Partner' all the deposits had been made in USD not pesos as is stated by Azimo. Fortunately, the Manager was very accomodating, and after giving her most of the documents I had taken with me, she went on to say, which ones I would need for next month, and that I could email them to her, to save a four hour wait in the Bank!!!!
The funds were in my account within two hours, had BBVA asked Azimo to inform me to attend with documents, the first time around, I would not be bald from pulling my hair out.
I returned home and emailed Azimo again, to which they replied that they use BBVA Spain!!! I am sorry, but when they state they use a Partner in Colombia, that to me, means they are based in country, but they dispute that interpretation, I also pointed out that they state they are better because they deposit your funds into the account in pesos, the reply stated they do, it might arrive at Bancolombia in USD, but BC then put it in my account in pesos. I told them, that is what every other company does, but at least they are honest about it. This is just a marketing ploy to attract customers, and she admitted it is. I am not sure it is even legal under UK law to do that.
After all this will I continue using Azimo?...To be honest, I haven't made up my mind, Their exchange rate outclasses other intermediaries and normally the funds are in my account withing 12 hours, but the lack of communication leaves a lot to be desired.
If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright
- Regular Poster
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