chuvaness
Malas
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Last month was not the best for me health-wise. I had to do a lot of medical exams (I’m not yet done) and as usual I scared myself (and Jeroen) nearly to death.
I thought I had discovered a “scary” lump inside my throat and thought of the worst.
Jeroen and I decided to pray and fast. He gave up coffee, steak and massage for one month. As for me, he suggested I give up shopping—except for essentials.
So apart from the groceries and school supplies, I haven’t shopped for about three weeks now.
I am not allowed to shop until July 7, when I join the annual Hong Kong sale season.

Stopping shopping is not as hard as a I thought. It is harder for me to give up food or drink because cravings are really hard to control.
But not shopping is OK. Just don’t enter the stores, or if you do, make a mental note to come back. Chances are you’ll go home feeling no less empty or fulfilled. You’re just the same person without the additional clutter you’re bringing home (it also doesn’t hurt that I always get swag, so I’m always surrounded by gifts).

About four years ago I read this book called Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping, where author Judith Levine and her husband decided to experiment not buying anything but essentials for a year.
That meant searching the cupboards for things they can use before buying new ones, for example shampoos nicked from hotel stays.

not-buying-it

That’s one of things I’ve been doing. I ran out of my favorite Murad concealer and instead of buying a new one, I’m getting by with Benefit concealers. I’m going to run out soon of my favorite Murad facial wash so I’m going to use my Neutrogena facial wash instead.

Grace and I kind of window shopped tonight at Podium. Normally I couldn’t walk out of a mall without buying something.
I contemplated buying 4 pillows + 2 free, but figured I could wait until July 7th. Whenever I tell friends I’m not shopping they can hardly believe it. But I’m actually liking myself this way.

Here’s the bad part: after Podium, I asked Grace to come with me to the nearest Citibank to pay my bills.
I wasn’t thinking. I pulled my Citibank dollar ATM card by mistake and paid a BDO credit card bill worth Php 27,400—using hard-earned dollars instead of pesos. It was too late when I realized my error.
Grace and I tried to call Citibank and BDO (she is a banker) but no one could help us.
I was thinking:
1) What if I had made a mistake and punched a wrong amount or overpaid an extra digit? What if I lost all the dollars I’ve been saving up for years and no one could help me?
2) What if I were a thief and used someone’s ATM card to pay my bills? That money would be gone forever?

Anyway, charge it to experience, said my Twitter friends. I have now separated my Citibank dollar ATM and returned it to the safe where it belongs.
That said, I really hate robotic call center agents who have no heart. I really want to kill them (see Complicated Girl Index below).
Is there anyone from Citibank or BDO who could shed light on what could’ve been done?
I’ve already cancelled my BDO credit cards out of frustration. Anyway, I am trying not to shop.

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Guest

BDO does suck. I’ve had my Equitable VISA for several years when it suddenly converted to BDO. All those years I had been using credit card points to offset the annual fee because I had accumulated a lot over the years. Suddenly BDO decides they don’t want to do that. So they charge me the annual fee which I refuse to pay since I have a lot of points, more than enough to cover the fee. They gave me some bullcrap about processing yada yada and then started charging me penalty and late fees because I kept insisting I wanted… Read more »

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Nina

That BDO credit card was not worth keeping.  My friend and I were in NY in May.  She brought her BDO Mastercard and was turned down every single time she shopped despite the USD/PHP deposit she had in her account. The reason they gave after exhaustive expensive calls to Manila (no international number to call!!!) was that their server was down for maintenance from 12midnight to 6am Manila time.  HORRORS!  Useless card then.  That’s prime shopping time in the US  eastcoast for tourists like us!  And it was a Mastercard – priceless experience!! P.S.  No reply from Mastercard regarding this… Read more »

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banker

Hi Ms. C. I’m also a banker and from what I can inform you, since BDO is the one accepting the payment, all they have to do is to refuse the payment so that it goes back to your account, its really as simple as that, it might take a few business days but thats how it is. I did the same with my citi account paying for my unionbank account, and by accident I paid more than what’s needed, I requested union to refuse payment so it gets returned to the citi account. I suggest you speak to BDO… Read more »

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Okimov

it’s the agent’s SCORE CARD vs. THE IRATE CUSTOMER’s request. 
1. pag irate at makulit si customer i-hold, itransfer sa ibang dept,  o i-drop ang call. para di bumagsak ang scorecard.2. pag mabait at hindi madaldal si customer sundin at iprocess ang request. para PUMASA sa scorecard at customer satisfaction survey at para makakuha ng quarterly bonus.

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Winny

Speaking of health issues, I remember you blog about “In defense of a daily doughnut” that it’s okay to give in to sweets sometimes but I stumbled upon this article http://bit.ly/kf8Kt5 regarding alcopops. I don’t know if this is true or if this is something else, but this is definitely making me think of reevaluating what I eat or drink for that matter. Just sharing.

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Guest

BDO sucks. Plain and simple. Dealing with that bank just brings out the b*tch in me.   BDO was trying to charge me late penalty fees when I had, for weeks previous, been complaining that their system wouldn’t accept my payments because my card allegedly did not exist.  They assured me they would get back to me and I actually thought there would be no problem because hey, I was, in good faith, attempting to pay my bill. Imagine my surprise (and slow, seething rage) when I received a bill and found that they had charged me for not having… Read more »

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Guest

OO NAH ako na ang may kasalanan kung bakit nawalan ng USD 646 si cecile!

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CVS Reply:

thank you! :{

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Guest
Guest

Hi Cecille, you might want to check out Citibank’s new Online Banking facility.  You can actually pay for your BDO credit card through Citibank’s Online Banking service without having to go to the nearest Citibank branch.  Using the Internet will also allow you to check, double check and take time to pay for your bills. 🙂  [Reply]CVS Reply:June 14th, 2011 at 7:09 PMthanks, but all I have is a Citibank dollar account. [Reply]Citibanker Reply:June 18th, 2011 at 2:48 PMthats okay ms. c, as long as its a citi account you can register it for the online account [Reply]CVS Reply:June 18th,… Read more »

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Guest

Hmmmm. As far as I know, if you they do try to do something about this (big IF), it will take you weeks and even months before anything happens. It’s not just because they’re slow (they are, don’t get me wrong) but there are tons of approvals, overrides, etc. that need to be obtained before you can have the transaction reversed and the money returned to you, especially since there are two banks involved. And baka dayain ka pa nila sa exchange rate when they return the money to you, since BDO will return it in peso, and Citbank will… Read more »

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Jomath072110

If its a Dollar account and you used your card to pay for Php
amount…it will be converted to pesos when the bank takes out your
charges.  From experience because I use my dollar card a lot in the
Philippines they convert the Peso amount into the Dollar and charge that
to your account…Like when u go to a foreign country and you use your
card they convert the charge to the current exchange rate…crossing my
fingers for you but I don’t think a bank with be stupid enough to deduct
and won’t know whats the difference between a $ and a Php account…gud
luck!!!

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Guest

last december kuya got mad with bdo…discrepancy with bill…& out of frustration he said to the supervisor on the phone that he will cancel that credit card.
the funny thing is: after 3 weeks bdo send him another international mastercard.
sabi ko wag na niya cancel coz he never get billed to pay annual fee. BUGOK talaga sila!

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Guest

So you paid in excess of what you spent, and in dollars, right? Wouldn’t BDO credit you for the excess? I mean, you can use the excess amount on some other transaction in the future, right? Or that’s not how credit cards work?  But yea, I’d want to have my dollars back, too. And pay for the bill again in pesos, if that’s possible. Anyway, I’ve tried implementing a shopping ban on myself several times in the past, to no avail. You have great self-c0ntrol!  We will be in HK on the 7th as well, for the annual shopping festival.… Read more »

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Guest
819

i bet u were chatting with grace while doing the transaction.  lesson learned:  never mix business with pleasure.

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CVS Reply:

so true. i think that’s it. i don’t normally screw up when i pay alone.
kasalanan ni Grace :((((

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divasoria Reply:

o bakit kasalanan ko?!?!?!?!?

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Guester

In general (and I stress that), the Ayala companies (BPI, Globe, Ayala Land) provide the best service, and at their best, they pre empt you by offering services they notice you need.  But I’ve had really bad experiences with them too, Globe, especially.  And yes, their call center agents most especially. I can go on and on but suffice to say, comparatively, they are still a pretty good bunch of companies.  BDO, Metro.  I bank with them, and as a poster here said, they are so intent to suck your money in, and not give it back out. Their internet… Read more »

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Guester

Oh, I want to add.  Re outsourcing of call centers. I’ve had horrible experiences with American after sales and call center agents. I was trying to upgrade my QuickBooks software (US$800 addition to the US$800 I already paid) and I had to go through days of unbelievable ineptness and ‘it’s time for my break, i don’t care if you’re calling int’l long distance’ kind of attitude.  Somewhere down the road, I got through an Indian call center agent (the accent, and I asked to verify if he indeed was Indian). With an impeccable level of courteous service, technical skill and… Read more »

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Reply to Guester

Hi 🙂 I just want to point that  “(Can they please stop asking for every bit of information repeatedly in every step – name, address, bday, mother’s maiden name, etc?)” – as a matter of security for yours and the company aswell, its a standard operating procedure, So I think whining about verification is like whining about having a bank account  available for everyone to look into. Systems used in accounts for databases have multiple verification for security, unless you want anyone to just look into your account etc.. well by all means, lets just have one verification for you… think… Read more »

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Guest

if you had used a BDO ATM, maybe I could help forward your concerns to the right guys. (I used to work for the bank) but it seems that it was the BDO credit cards (which is consumer based, I dont have “clout” there, hehehe) and Citi ATM … I really hope you can recover something. Anyway the intention was to pay in full. The source was just different. Was it already due? Maybe they can still revert and accept a new payment. [Reply]CVS Reply:June 14th, 2011 at 8:18 AMno it’s due on the 19th pa and it takes 24… Read more »

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Guest

Ms. C, if I may suggest you write directly to BSP consumer affairs. This should speed things up a bit 😉 

Financial Consumer Affairs GroupBangko Sentral ng Pilipinas10th Floor, Multistorey BuildingMabini, ManilaE-mail address: consumeraffairs@bsp.gov.phTelephone Nos.: Direct Line (+632) 523-3631 and
Trunkline (+632) 524-7011 local 2584http://www.bsp.gov.ph/publications/media.asp?id=1719

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snoopy89

Couldn’t they just credit the  Citibank Dollar Card and then you go ahead and pay them again? it’s suppose to be that easy but they just dont want to do it.

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CVS Reply:

that’s what I was asking them to do.

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Christen Reply:

I think customer service in the Philippines (most of it) serving fellow Filipino is the worst and I don’t understand why.. ang daming call center dito servicing foreign customers.  

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Ria Pascua Reply:

this is PINAS! lahat ng easy way…ginagawa nilang mahirap! kaines!

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Guest

this is PINAS! lahat ng easy way…ginagawa nilang mahirap! kaines!

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Anonymous

Citibank and their call center agents are useless.  I’m in charge of paying my mom’s credit card bill while she’s out of the country. Last April I didn’t received the statement, thinking that maybe it got snacked on by one of the dogs or it got lost in transit or something, I did btw try checking the total over the phone however their system was down and the account was not updated. I ended up guess-timating the total amount due basing it on what my mom says she supposedly spent. May comes and goes and its the same thing, no… Read more »

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Guest

Hay naku, ako rin with HSBC naman. I called to ask about a finance charge, said I’m okay with paying it, i just want the computation, like how did they come up with charging me a mysterious P4000. Agent kept saying charges are to be expected. I’m like, I don’t mind paying, I just need the math! After many frustrating minutes of him repeating the same words, I just pleaded with him, “Please please is there a real person I can talk to? I want to talk to a real person, not a robot.” The guy didn’t even react to… Read more »

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Guest

Thankfully, I haven’t had that kind of experience with HSBC. In fact, I was about to state that one of the best and most efficient call center agents I’ve talked to are with this bank. But I think the trick is to talk to agents in tagalog. That’s what I do now when calling hotlines, so they will be forced to answer me in tagalog and not use their lines. Worst is with BDO. Kept me waiting for a good 40 mins (always!) before I talked to an agent, and yes, kept answering me with their lines even when it… Read more »

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Christee

Talking to th em in tagalog… This is a great tip. Thanks!

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Guest

I almost had the same experience with HSBC, which really jarred my nerves! I withdrew PHP 5,000 fr Robinson’s bank ATM, but nothing came out (lol, I wasn’t aware then about the withdrawal limit to other banks, hence it’s usually at most PHP 4,000). I called HSBC, but they kept on insisting that they already received a notification from Rob bank that it was a successful withdrawal. I repeatedly told them that it wasn’t. Heck, I wouldn’t really bother religiously calling them if I did actually get the money. And what did I get in return? The same response over… Read more »

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Guest

haha! bwisit no! happened to us when we availed 2 flat screen tv promo of hsbc. pinabili alng sa min ng co-workers.
the promo stated free deliveries in metro manila.
after a  year….me bill kami 2 times na delivery fee.
we called hsbc & demand them to cancel it.
lahat nag pag mumura sa stupidity nila..we did.
good thing they cancelled or ginupit ni kuya hsbc card niya!

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HatesCitiPH

I had horrible experience with them re statements & cancellation of card.  Never got my statement, called them to request for it & informed them of my intention to have the card cancelled.  They told me they will send it through fax but nothing came.  After several days I called again and requested for the due; I was instructed to deduct the late payment fee & interest because I have not received my statement.  I paid the whole amount without even seeing my statement just so I can have the card cancelled.  Days after I paid, I called them to request for cancellation & they told me to call again… Read more »

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Guest

if you are not the cardholder sasabihin nila: we are not allowed to give info…kahit magbabayad ka kz.
& tikom ang bibig nila pag alam nila me kapalpakan sila.

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Arnaud

In defense of not just citi but all banking institutions foreign or otherwise, under agreements signed by the account holder, no account specific information can be provided to non account holders / authorized user. Third party cannot be provided information due to the agreement by the account holder and the bank, as well as local regulations and of course the banks over all banking rules, if the info was provided and the agent gets cited for non compliance will you save his job when he gets fired? will you be able to do something for the rep when he gets… Read more »

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Guest

this may sound harsh but dont try to put blame on other people (i.e. banks, call center agents, etc) for your own careless mistake.  1) if u had pushed the wrong amount, then u have credit in ur credit card which u can still use, so no big deal 2) there are cameras in atms to prove if indeed a thief stole ur money plus the obvious reason why u have an atm pin is to decrease (or eliminate) the chances of thieves stealing ur money. and lastly, do u really have to mention ur outstanding amount? (i.e.Php27,400).. oh and… Read more »

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omnesia

Something similar has happened to me once before, I can’t remember exactly anymore but I used online banking to pay some bills. Because I was doing it at an ungodly hour (past midnight) it was sort of like drunk driving, haha. I must have been half asleep already. I first paid the cellphone bill, and I intended to pay the cable bill next but I inadvertently paid the cable bill amount to another cellphone number that was already decommissioned but whose account was still in my drop down menu. I had only discovered this around a month later when I… Read more »

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Guest

I so agree with the BDO call center. I had a bad experience with them.

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Angel Osmena

Did you pay the entire amount? If you did, then the bank should return the money to you. That would be unjust enrichment in their part. Perhaps you can write a letter so that everythifng is documented. You will never get a satisfactory answer from these call center agents. Perhaps there was nothing on their script and pro-forma answers with which to address your dilemma. Angel [Reply]CVS Reply:June 14th, 2011 at 12:34 AMentire amount plus extra [Reply]Angel osmena Reply:June 14th, 2011 at 1:15 AMYour predicament would be similar in a way to that case of Mellon Bank vs Javier where… Read more »

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Angel osmena

Your predicament would be similar in a way to that case of Mellon Bank vs Javier where the bank deposited $1,000,000.00 instead of $1,000.00 to the latter’s account. Javier was ordered to return the money, among others. There was Solutio indebiti or unjudt enrichment, the Supreme Court said. I strongly suggest you write a demand letter.

Angel

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