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FDH being chased for P40k overpayment in her remittance

14 February 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

The Filipina helper sent money through Western Union in World-Wide House in Central

A Filipina domestic helper is being sought by remittance company Western Union, after one of its tellers mistakenly sent USD1,000 to her recipient in the Philippines, instead of the HK$1,000 that she had ordered and paid for.

S. Cayabyab, who lives in Tai Koo Shing and is from Pangasinan, went to the WE branch on the first floor of WorldWide House at about 1pm on Dec 20 last year, and asked to send HK$1,000 money to one J. C. Ostil in Pangasinan.

The teller at the branch mistakenly sent US$1,000 to Cayabyab’s recipient, which amounted to Php46,411.64 instead of the Php6,000 which was the conversion of the HK$1,000 that the helper had paid for.

Pindutin para sa detalye!

WU staff Precy Bermejo told The SUN that they learned about the mistake that same evening, but Ostil had already taken out the money.

Bermejo showed a text message she sent to Cayabyab at 6:15pm that same day, telling the customer that they had just learned about the mistake, and that they had called her several times, but she was not picking up.

“This is from Western Union WorldWide. It has come to our attention that there is a mistake in your remittance. Kindly cooperate with us. We’ve tried to contact you many times, but seems you’re not answering our call. Please reply before we do an action regarding this matter,” said Bermejo in her text.

Cayabyab's remittance receipt showing the equivalent of US1k
instead of HK$1k was sent to her recipient in the Philippines

She got no reply that same day, so she sent a reminder the next day.

Call now!

Cayabyab then responded, saying: “Sad to day madam, bakit kailangan magbayad nong bata ng charge kaya kayo po ang tumawag sa Western doon.” (Sad to say, why is the kid being asked to pay a charge, so please just call Western Union there yourself)

Bermejo replied with an assurance that the recipient need not pay any charge if he sent back the overpayment. As an incentive, she told Cayabyab that they would accept a reduced amount of Php39,900. She also appealed to Cayabyab's sense of fairness and compassion, saying the teller, who is married and has three kids, would be asked to cover the overpayment.

After several more exchanges, Cayabyab said: “Hello po, nag message na ako kanina na send na lang nya po lahat yung 39,900 pero wala pa pong reply.” (Hello, I’ve already sent him a message earlier today, telling him to pay back the P39,900 but I have yet to get a reply).

Pindutin para sa detalye

But she went quiet after that. When she next responded to Bermejo’s repeated requests for updates, Cayabyab already sounded indignant, saying things like she was not aware that there had been mispayment to her beneficiary, that if the company did not call her she would not have learned about the mistake, and all she did was give the control number to Ostil.

She also said that because her recipient was asked to pay a charge for sending back the mispayment he lost interest and cut off all contacts with her.

Paabutin nyo saan nyo gusto, wala ako magagawa dahil hindi ko nga makontak ang tao…Doon kayo sa Western sa Pangasinan tumawag.” (Bring this case wherever you want, I can’t do anything because I cannot contact the person anymore. Go call Western (Union) in Pangasinan)

Bermejo sent a picture of Cayabyab taken from her Facebook account, and added a warning that the case would be reported to the police, to which the customer replied:


Kahit ito pa ang picture mo anong magagawa ko…Nasa akin ba ang pera..Sinabi ko na sa inyo kayo ang tumawag doon…May trabaho ako …Pa wanted mo ako.” (Whatever picture you have, what can I do? Is the money with me? I already told you that you be the one to call them there (Western Pangasinan. I am busy with work. Go ahead and put me on the wanted list).

Cayabyab appears to have taken down her Facebook account since. An account in the name of her recipient is still active, and lists down several Cayabyabs among his friends, indicating they could be relatives. But the helper would not disclose their relationship, and would only refer to the recipient as “yung bata.” (the kid).

The SUN also tried to reach Cayabyab by phone, but she did not pick up the calls. 

In relating the story, Bermejo said her company wants Cayabyab to just get the money back to them. Otherwise, they will go to the police  to file a complaint against her.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

“We have given her the chance (to set it right),” said Bermejo.

She also said that she made the same mistake in the past, when she issued a receipt for a remittance of HK$6,000 instead of the Php6,000 that the customer had paid for. The money went through, but the recipient in the Philippines, a son of the customer, immediately called up his mother to ask about the discrepancy. Informed about this, Bermejo said she asked their Philippine branch to reverse the remittance order, and just issued a new one for the correct amount.

"Kaya nga kung talagang honest naman ang customer, dapat ibalik na lang ang pera kasi hindi naman maiwasan ang ganitong pagkakamali, lalo at maraming tao," she said. (If the customer is honest, she should just return the money because mistakes like this are unavoidable, especially when there are a lot of people around).

Under Hong Kong’s Theft Ordinance (Cap 210), appropriating something that resulted from somebody's mistake could be regarded as theft.

The relevant provision says, “where a person gets property by another’s mistake, and is under an obligation to make restoration….an intention not to make restoration shall be regarded accordingly as an intention to deprive that person of the property or proceeds.”

Theft is punishable under Hong Kong’s laws by imprisonment for up to 10 years.






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