Holiday Advisory – UOB’s Lack of Customer Service

UOB Bad Customer Service Experience
With all the holiday shopping for Christmas and CNY, just be aware when you are making purchases that disputing a charge may be more difficult than anticipated with your United Overseas Bank (UOB) credit card. I just wanted to let my readers know about my “lack of” customer service experience – I hope reading this helps some of you avoid the same situation in the future.

Why I needed UOB Customer Service’s Help: Recently I used my UOB debit card Visa to  purchase takeaway lunch at a restaurant near my office. The cashier accidentally overcharged me and then issued me a refund of the $71.90 (the amount she accidentally keyed in). When I received my statement (about 1 month later) the void/ refund was no where to be found. Only the $71.90 charge.

1st Phone Call to UOB:  I called up UOB and explained the situation regarding the missing “void” transaction. I also informed them that I had both the purchase and void slips. After being on hold for over 7 plus minutes, while the UOB representative spoke to her manager, informed me that she would be emailing me a form that I would fill out and then they I could dispute the charge. No problem, they would handle it. The UOB customer service representative on the phone asked and confirmed my email address.  I was happy with the service and that this matter was being dealt with.

2nd Phone Call to UOB: One week later, I still was waiting for the email, so I called again. After punching in the 100 numbers in my phone I finally got connected to an agent started talking and then they hung up on me. No call back from UOB, so then I called again.

3rd phone call to UOB:  Again punched the 100 numbers into the phone. When I finally got a live person to speak to, I told them please just email me the form so I could get this matter resolved. This should have been a 2 minute conversation. Imagine my surprise when the person told me – they were never suppose to email me a form!

Let me paraphrase my conversation:

Me: Um ok. So now what do you want me to do.

UOB: Go to the merchant and show him your credit card statement, the void slips and tell him to void it out.

Me: But that was over a month ago? You want me to show him my credit card statement? How is this the merchant’s problem – I have my void slip.

UOB: Yes go to the merchant first.

Me: Why didn’t you tell me that last week when I called? What about the form you were supposed to email?

UOB: We were not supposed to send a form. The person who told you was wrong.

Me: So why did she ask and confirm my email address to send the form?

UOB: I don’t know why, we can review the tapes for you.

Me: YES – review the tapes!!!

Me: You expect me to drive/taxi/mrt to this place and make the employee remember what happened 1 month ago? Now this may make sense in Singapore, but what if things were far away? What then?  Not practical. Is this what UOB expects from customers?

UOB: Yes, you need to go to the merchant. Then you can call us from the restaurant if there is a problem.

Me: Let me get this straight – go to the merchant, show him my personal credit card statement,  and then cause a scene with the merchant and call UOB again. This will be both embarrassing and time consuming – it is such a small amount.

Me: I have the void slip that I can easily just scan/fax/mail UOB for proof. The void slip clearly states the transaction number, date and time. All you need to do is key it into your  system to find out why it wasn’t credited to my account.

After about 5 minutes of UOB arguing with me on the phone (yes the guy was arguing with me – and trust me I am a lawyer so I had no intention of not holding my ground), I finally told the person to give me the email address to customer service so I can lodge a complaint. We ended the call.

4th phone call (UOB calling me back): UOB called me back 5 minutes later. I guess they do have my phone number (surprise, surprise) – wonder why they couldn’t call me back after the 2nd phone call? The same representative (I guess now worried that I was going to email a complaint) told me to call him from the restaurant and ask for him directly if there were any problems with the merchant. My response, thank you for your time, you told me to handle the matter myself and I will deal with it or not deal with it. Oh and I will still be writing a complaint!

Let us recap what UOB expects customers to do: Visit the merchant first and show them your private credit card statement and how my statement had a mistake  (is this the merchant’s fault, or UOB’s fault?).  If the merchant refuses to issue another “void” then call UOB back for the 4th time – (5th if you count the time they called me).  SuperMommy’s Opinion: Sure UOB I will fix the problem myself. Thanks for NOT HELPING at all, except wasting well over 30 minutes of my time on the phone, another 10 minutes telling my husband and  another 1 hour writing this blog post!! This is not the customer service I expect from a bank or a credit card company. Especially a big bank like UOB – frankly I am very disappointed.

Note to the Supermommy readers: I usually try not to complain or write really negative things in my posts, but I just find it so odd that a bank would make me share my personal account statements with merchants and fight my own battles that I just had to share this and warn all of you out there. Next time I will just use cash – the reward points are not worth it!!!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Holidays!!


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  • Justina Goh

    UOB really made you go to the merchant and show them your statement? So embarrassing! As a merchant they’d be thinking, ‘How is this my problem?’. Although UOB do have some good dining deals, they really need to relook at the way they handle their rewards programme.

    Hope you settled the issue with the merchant though….how did they react to it?

    • SuperMommy

      I am actually too embarrassed to go to the merchant. Still deciding what to do next in this situation. It’s not a small amount, but it’s not that big that I can’t let it slide…. Thanks for your support. :)

  • Nori

    Have the same bad experience with UOB customer service. Late email responses, wrong info given, extremely delayed phone calls. Considering to close all accounts with them and take it somewhere else.

  • Roger 5201

    UOB suffers from a “not my problem” syndrome and they are lucky to have tons of fine print to protect them when they failed to do what is right by their customers. I am referring to a recent event where I was told to provide updates for an account for my late father which would be closed if he does not respond by such and such a date.

    After getting a commissioner for oath to validate all my documents, I submitted the same to them but they insisted I get a lawyer to write to them instead. Someone from the bank assured me the account would not be closed until this matter is investigated and closed. After engaging a lawyer, I was informed the said account does not exist! It was later that I found out the account was a joint account and was closed, and each department insists they did the right thing by the book!

    It could have been a simple matter of one department picking up the phone to ask the next why they sent the letter requesting for information update for an account that apparently does not exist. Needless to say, the fact that it has taken me two lawyers and 6 months for us to reach this conclusion is unimpressive but this is what they call customer service.

  • Tushar Sorte

    Please do
    not bank with organization.

    The organization will go to any extent to cheat you.

    MOS too will not help you in case you are the victim.

    Honest opinion … Pls close your accounts and transfer your money with better
    and “trustworthy” banks.

  • Salome 88

    UOB has the worst customer service and are good conmens. One night i received a call by the name of a financial adviser called LIM KIM LAI from Bishan branch who told me my 2 of my fixed deposits was up and he asked if i was free the next day so he could discuss more plans with me. He then introduced me to a plan by the name of Pruwealth. So later we went to withdraw my two matured fixed deposits. When i went to the counter i was told only one was up and the other was not up. This guy was not being honest in his dealings however the interest for the not matured deposit was only $2.71 so i was not real fussy. This guy is really a crook and an idiot. 4 points which showed he was really an incapable guy.
    1) My FD has not even mature and you told me mature? This is cheating
    2) He told me over 5 years there will be interest paid yearly the next day he said it will be paid at the end of 5 years. What is this about? It was only a day. He told me suddenly the policy had changed.
    3) This guy really is a clown. He right from the start knew exactly how much of money i was going to invest in pruwealth. He promised me there will be a gift later he said only up to a certain amount only will the gift be applicable. C’mon you taking me for a fool. Smiling idiotically like a clown making fun of me in this way.
    4) This one was very important the first day i told him to check for my withdrawal please check is it by signature or print that guy did not even bother to check. On monday he texted me sounding panic that he needed my signature and ask me to meet him later in the day. I told him this two weeks i would not be free plus i was ill despite that he had the cheek to text me everyday asking for signature. Finally ending of the month he told me i had to sign before the end of the month. i asked what if i do not sign. He said if i do not sign i he had to answer for the missing funds. He made it sound as if it was my fault and his tone sounded threatening.
    I agreed to meet him in two weeks time to check and sign. I noticed what we had previously discussed did not tally so i sort of said i needed to go home and think. He became very angry and said “things did not tally because while explaining you don’t write because you don’t know i write”. What kind of attitude i was really pissed. I told him i needed time to think and i was feeling ill he could even say why not you sign first? There is a 14 day period you can cancel. I declined.
    Later i went to make a complaint as i felt his service was real bad his boss Maggie Siu from Bishan Branch had the cheek to even tell me the interest was only $2.71 not $271 why make a big deal. I told her i never said $271 she said i did i said i wanted to speak to her big boss. She rudely said her big boss would not entertain me and slammed down the phone.
    I contacted the service centre and a guy by the name of Tan SiangSiong who was Maggie’s boss contacted me about it. A lady by the name of Sin Yee also contacted me.
    I was given a letter by their big boss MR kenny Low who told MR Scott Low of Bishan branch to send me a letter saying my case was dismissed and closed with an apology.

    I regretted whatever i had with UOB too bad Singapore does not have more variety of local bank to choose from. UOB really gone too far.

  • TONY

    I agree that UOB customer service is useless now.

    I applied for a supplementary credit card for my child for an overseas trip. I handed the application form over the counter at UOB tampines and the person there stated that the form would be sent to the card centre for processing.

    After 4 weeks, I called the card centre and was told they never received my form. With less than 2 weeks left before the trip, I asked what can be done. They stated that they will check on the form. They did request me to submit the form online. I found the form online and decided to send by email. After 2 days, I called and was again told they never received my form – both the physical and the email. They noted that my child had a card 2 years ago for a previous school trip but upon trying couldn’t reactivate that card. They couldn’t do very much and that processing takes two weeks anyway. It is the standard amount of time. I asked that with all these delays can they issue the card urgently but was given standard answers that the card will take normal processing of two weeks……

    Even asking for a manager, they stated the manager will not be able to help and will still have the same answers……..

    I proceeded to apply for supplementary card with DBS and got it almost immediately. CitiBank was the second bank that I applied and DBS was the third bank.
    DBS has wonderful customer service that would personally call and confirm the stages of the application. If the person in charge would not be around, the case was properly passed to another person to call me.

    So the order of banks and the receipt of cards are

    Application – UOB, Citibank and then DBS

    Receipt of card – DBS, Citibank and lastly UOB.

    UOB took a long time and never gave me any confidence that they can issue the card before the trip. I actually asked if the card may not come before the trip and they finally said “Yes”. Only after writing a complaint, on their website did someone call me and said “we received your email and will process the application”. The card arrived about 1 day before the trip, by which time I had already received DBS and Citibank and was not very interested in UOB any longer.
    UOB has never addressed my complaint but merely tried to issue the card after the complaint.

    Thus for me, UOB’s issuing of a supplementary card is approximately about 2 months with a lot of calls to their call centre with no commitment at all.