Downsides to Living in Colombia

To be honest there are not many that you wouldn\’t find elsewhere, but there is the odd one where you end up pulling your hair out.

One of those is transferring funds, in my case that is my pension, and my only source of income. Over the years I have had the occasional blip when ordering a transfer, but at the moment I don\’t have much hair left.

On 31st October, late evening, I arranged to transfer my pension using a company I have used for the last couple of years, Azimo, it might have been the 31st here, but with the time difference, it was November 1st back in the UK.

When I first used Azimo, their partner in Colombia was Titan Intercontinental, their service was very hit and miss, I could receive the funds the same day, or it could be days later, they would just sit on the funds. As a result earlier this year Azimo changed their Partner to the BBVA Bank, I transferred the cash to Azimo, they transferred it to BBVA in Colombia, who then deposited it into my Bancolombia account in local currency.

For the first few months the service was excellent, and I was guaranteed the money in my account by midday on the 1st of the month, then a couple of months ago it all started happening again, culminating in the latest transfer which I have not yet received.

Yesterday I was informed by Azimo that the transfer had been cancelled, and the funds would be returned, when I pushed for a reason, I was told my Bank had rejected the deposit, so we decided to try it again. Last night we spoke to my Bank\’s Call Center, who confirmed that the latest transaction was with the Bank, but had been sent for personal pick-up, not to be deposited in my account, and I would have to go to any Branch and have the funds placed in my account.

So first thing this morning, I went down to Copacabana, and after a wait in the queue for over an hour, was told I couldn\’t draw on the funds, because they had been deposited in US dollars, not local currency, and the amount in dollars was over what I could have for the rest of this years allocation.

I came away steaming, BBVA despite trying to blame my bank, had just been downright lazy, and tried to shortcut the system, this was also why the first attempt was refunded, because I had not been to collect my money, believing it would be deposited directly into my account as per the agreement. Yes I could have the money, if I provided all the documentation to support where it had come from, which I had already done for Azimo, who have it to hand if required by BBVA.

OK, things have moved on again, as I was writing this, Marcela arrived home from work, and rang BBVA again, they asked to see all the documents relating to the transfer, which I sent them, whilst we were talking, after checking their records, they state BBVA Colombia, has no record of any such transactions, or of me. You then have to wonder, who in fact is dealing with my transfers at this end, and when will I see my pension. Another email has gone flying to Azimo!

Published by Phil Sale

I moved to Colombia from Spain in 2012, and I am happily married to a Colombiana.

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