Banking, Retail Services, Consumer Rights

BDO Cash Card Issuance Delays
Tags :  Banking
Posted by :  TCEP Guest
Posted on :  August 29, 2012

I went to the BDO branch in Hypermart, Pasig in the hopes of getting a BDO cash card. I was informed that for a lower limit (P10,000) I could get the card right away, but for bigger limits with a personalised card, the processing would take 5 to 7 days.

I proceeded to pay the P120 processing fee and waited 5 days before dropping in back at BDO to check the availability of my card.

BPI International ATM card failure
Tags :  Services, Banking Services
Posted by :  TCEP
Posted on :  June 26, 2012

I have always relied on my international ATMs for funds when travelling abroad. I can't really see myself lining up at money changers, and I'm not a traveller's check kind of person either.

I have had my BPI Cirrus card since 2007 and have used it on numerous trips-it's never really failed me, until now, so you could imagine my disappointment.

Globe Telecom in-store customer service (and how it can be improved)
Tags :  Telecommunications, Payment Centers
Posted by :  TCEP
Posted on :  July 25, 2012

We happen to have different mobile phone providers at work and I personally have chosen to go with Globe. Globe in Eastwood has recently moved to a newer and bigger store, and it seems that a lot of time has been spent in trying to project the image of giving better customer service. < Read more >

Manual/offline transactions using credit cards: Companies can (and should) process your payments in the absence of a card terminal
Tags :   Banking, Retail, Services
Posted by :  TCEP
Posted on :  April 21, 2012

Over the weekend, I needed to visit Mercury Drug to make a purchase. The total came to just over 2,500 pesos and so I gave them my American Express card. In most stores, not every credit card terminal accepts AMEX cards and in most cases it is just the BDO terminal that does. At this store, I was out of luck because the power cable for their terminal was frayed and they could not process the card I sadly replied that it was the only card that I was carrying and that they should just do a manual transaction. A manual, or offline, transaction is done by calling the credit card merchant account provider (or BDO in this case) and saying the following:

Italy Visa application in Manila - a complete guide for tourist visa application
Tags :   Services
Posted by :  TCEP
Posted on :  June 1, 2012

The good news: You don't have to make a personal appearance for a tourist visa

The bad news: It takes a month to schedule your document pick-up, and the hotlines do not work when you need to follow-up on your visa application

Steps in applying for an Italy Visa for Filipino Citizens

How to set an appointment for an Italian Schengen Visa:

Call the paid hotlines (as of writing, the rate is at P32.00 per minute, exclusive of any long distance / mobile phone charges):

1 909 101 2200 PLDT
1 903 101 2200 Globe
1 903 101 2200 Bayantel

There is a free number you could call if you just want to know about the exact requirements, which is (02) 845 9200. However, I find that they did not really provide the most comprehensive list. This is the list as relayed to me by the agent on the paid hotline:

  1. Completed Schengen Visa Form (downloadable from
  2. Passport-sized photo, ears out, collared shirt
  3. Original and photocopy of passport, information page and last page
  4. Photocopy of previous passport and previous immigration stamps
  5. Original and photocopy of COE with approved leave of absence
  6. Photocopy of Tax Returns certificate
  7. Confirmed round trip flights
  8. Hotel vouchers or booking
  9. Health insurance covering 15 days after end of trip
  10. Manager's check in an envelope (the rate changes depending on the Euro exchange rate, P3k++)
  11. 2 copies of signed document checklist with the declaration at the bottom: "Incomplete requirements may be grounds for refusal of my application"

I was scheduled exactly a month after the call was made and sure enough they picked my documents up (for just under P500.00, including delivery upon approval). A few days afterwards I receive a call clarifying some details on my application.

The 15the working day came and there was no sign of my passport, and it was making me nervous because my flight to London was in two weeks. I then call the Italian embassy trunkline to follow up, and the automated prompt says to dial 135, 136 or 137 to follow up on the status of my application. On two numbers, nobody picks up. On the third number, an annoyed Italian comes on and demands to know where I got his number from.

I tried emailing the embassy (twice) and nobody replies. Your only hope, really, is to call the paid hotline again (or to pull some strings if you know friends of friends within the embassy), but they wouldn'[t have an answer right away. You will have to call again after a couple of days.

I got my approved visa on the 18th working day since I sent it, but clearly they did not read my flight details (I was going to be in London for a full three weeks after coming back from Italy), but it said I needed to report to the Italy Embassy in Manila a week before I leave London (when my visa expires). It was physically impossible for me to be here to present myself but the penalties were severe: one of them is blacklisting in all Schengen countries.

I had to work hard to get hold of a high enough officer in the Schengen embassy to plead my case and to get confirmation that I was not going to be blacklisted. Thankfully, I was able to do that, but sadly, not everybody will be able to have proper connections to get this peace of mind.

In a nutshell:
  1. It's better to over-stuff your application rather than fall short. Apparently the countdown goes back to square one when an officer calls asking for a clarification.
  2. If you're going to another country, take the opportunity to VERBALLY remind any officer who will call you about the time you will be spending outside of Manila after your trip to Italy ends.
  3. Your first point of entry MUST be Italy and not another Schengen country.
  4. Make sure you have sufficient time between applying for the Visa to your actual flight date. Do not rely on the 15 working day timeline.
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Groupon: Where service is also offered at a discount
Tags :  Online, Retail, Group Buying Sites, Services
Posted by :  TCEP
Posted on :  April 30, 2012
April 17

So, I ordered a bean bag from Groupon Philippines more than a month ago which I still haven't received up to now. A few days after I paid for it, I realized that I will be at work when the order gets delivered (as I can't pick it up from their office), so I sent them an email letting them know about my situation. No answer, just an auto-responder letting me know that they are slow to answer emails, so I shouldn't get offended if I don't get an answer ASAP. Before holy week, I email them again. Still no answer. The delivery period has come and gone, and I have no idea about the status of my delivery. Nobody followed up with me despite them having all my contact details. No calls for failed deliveries. No "ma'am, we noticed you have not claimed your item yet, how can we help?" < Read more >

Jollibee Breakfast Crew Superstars
Tags :  Food service, Retail, Services
Posted by :  TCEP
Posted on :  June 1, 2012

I often have breakfast at Jollibee CyberOne in Eastwood City. Between 9am to 11am, the lines can get quite long I guess because of the call centers in the building, people ending their shifts are maybe grabbing their last meal or what..... < Read more >

Short changing customers: why should customers sacrifice their peso because stores don't have change?
Tags :  Food service, Retail Service, Services
Posted by :  TCEP
Posted on :  June 1, 2012

Last night I went to Sbarro and after making a purchase, I should have received 183 pesos in change. They only had a single one peso coin, so he cashier asked me if it was ok that she gave me just 181 pesos in change.

See, it was not OK. When short-changing reaches at least 1 peso, there is a psychological shift that happens within me that tells me it is NOT ok versus, say, short-changing me 25 cents. There's a lot I could do with a peso: I could get a small pack of biscuit or three pieces of candy. < Read more >

Philippine Airports: if it's mandatory, why do we need to line-up separately for travel tax?
Tags :   Services, Government
Posted by :  TCEP
Posted on :  June 4, 2012

A few days ago I left Manila via NAIA terminal 1. I was flying with Qatar Airways and I remember that last time I flew out (with PAL) I needed to line up separately at the travel tax section to pay the 1K-odd fee. I asked the check-in guy if I needed to pay for the travel tax before he would issue me a boarding pass, to which he answered no, my travel tax is already included as one of the items I paid for under my ticket.

This got me thinking, everybody needs to pay this tax, right? I then don't understand why some airlines can charge it under the total plane fare, while some airlines still require people to stand in line for it. If it's mandatory, it makes total, absolute sense to include the travel tax in ALL plane fares regardless of airlines or travel class. < Read more >

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