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Visa First - bad service

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Visa First - bad service


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11. Posted by Erik85 (Respected Member 274 posts) 9y

That sucks, thought what I went through was bad enough :(

12. Posted by bilsy (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y

Now after sending them the updated bank statement on Friday I received a call the following Wednesday (6th Feb) asking me for a a letter explaining large deposits - Wednesday, it took Visa First 3 working days to contact me to tell me this. I wrote them a letter explaining the outstanding deposits that day, then they sent my application to the embassy on the Thursday which was received at the embassy on Monday 11th Feb.

I found this out because I called the embassy (at $9.90) to find out if it had been received. They lady told me the following when I mentioned I was using Visa First:

"alot of people are having problems with them"

Great, straight from the horses mouth.

13. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 9y

Perhaps this should be a lesson in not booking expensive things like flights until visa & passport is in hand?

It's a common piece of advice when planning a trip, and the following is on the British High Commission website: "We strongly advise that you do not purchase a non-refundable air ticket before being in receipt of your visa. We do not accept responsibility for any financial loss and do not fast track applications due to date of travel."

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 13, 2008, at 11:29 PM by mojorob ]

14. Posted by bilsy (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y

Hi majorrob I totally agree, its my fault for booking flights without having the visa in hand. But it doesn't excuse the lack of customer service from Visa first.

15. Posted by vfsydney (Budding Member 7 posts) 9y

Hi Folks,

This is just a quick email to notify all customers that the change in biometric rules coming in at Christmas time has causes massive backlogs with immigration and consequently ourselves with our customers leaving Australia travelling to the UK.

Notification of the new process only came to light mid December and all applications that were submitted and in process needed to be reprocessed with extra support documents which involved required resources in terms of call backs and call handling.

Visa First takes pride in providing an excellent service to clients and has always provided an excellent visa service to all clients from our European call centre. All outbound applications from Europe/UK/Canada/USA go through our European callcentre which is run with precision and always has been.

Sydney Office
Due to the backlog, our Sydney office has had difficulty in Jan/Feb with getting back to all customers in time and this delay was completely unacceptable.

Our customer service team in Europe has changed the process to ensure that all applications from Australia are handled by them instead with customers called after 4.30pm. Our Sydney office will simply collect documents going forward and all customers will be contacted the same day documents are received so that we can notify you what additional documents we require. While it will still be possible to contact our Sydney office with queries and updates it will be our European call centre processing your application and phoning you throughout your application.

99% of applications sent to our team in Sydney are incomplete and require further follow up phone calls to clients. This is not entirely the fault of the customer but moreso the actual visa requirements being more complicated than with most visas.

Our European callcentre will handle processing for all applications from March 08 going forward, this much larger team will process all applications immediately and without delay. In 2 weeks our customer service phoneline as advertised on our website will be operational from 9am-3am, 18 hours a day.

The visa application forms in the past have been quite complicated. Our new forms break down in detail exactly what is required providing sample bank statements to indicate what will and will not be accepted.

We do advise customers not to book flights until they have their visa booked as this is the best way to ensure that any delays experienced dont affect flight plans.

Again we value all feedback and apologise that our Sydney office was difficult to contact over christmas. Our new process will now ensure that your visa is lodged and granted faster than ever before,

Kind Regards


Visa First Sydney

16. Posted by vfsydney (Budding Member 7 posts) 9y

Hi majorrob I totally agree, its my fault for booking flights without having the visa in hand. But it doesn't excuse the lack of customer service from Visa first.

Hi Bilsy,I agree with both of you. Flights should not be booked in advance as this is what causes most anxiety as the visa processing is on a clock. On customer service your are 100% right and this change of immigration process and consequent backlog period has now passed and will not happen again.

17. Posted by bilsy (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y

hi vfsydney thanks for the reply.

re this:
On a slightly different note, the fee for my application was $AU735 (WHV, NIN, bank account). On their website and all applications the amount to be charged is quoted in AUSTRALIAN DOLLARS. I look at my bank statement and they've charged me 431 EUROs --> Now I've copped a massive fee from my bank for the international transaction. Nowhere is it mentioned that the amount will be deducted as a foreign currency

Is visafirst prepared to refund this fee?

18. Posted by vfsydney (Budding Member 7 posts) 9y

Hi Bilsy
Can you do me a favour and send and phone our sydney number to give us details so they can look into it for you .

If those figures down are correct you were in fact undercharged. 735AUD is approx 451 euro and you say you were charged 431.

Give them your name, date you paid and the query and we'll get back to you straight away

Thanks for your query

19. Posted by bilsy (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y

Undercharged?! Have you thought that maybe your calculations are missing one vital variable - the fluctuation of the global economy over time. Obviously if you calculate the amount I owe based on on the value of the Australian dollar TODAY it will be different to what it was back in Dec 07. And from the value that you have quoted the AUD has seemingly decreased in value compared to the Euro - lucky I paid when I did. In any case, the value of the AUD compared to any foreign currency should not affect the amount I am charged for a service that is quoted in AUD.

There will also be some discrepancy between the exchange rate that you use to calculate what amount of EURO's = $735AUD, and the exchange rate that my bank uses to calculate that same amount. The latter of which neither of us have no control over, adding further complications and another reason to simply make the charge in the local currency.

Anyway we can banter on about this all day, I appreciate you giving me a contact in Visa First so that I cant try and sort this out.

(Ah I must apologise the figure was 441.26 EURO. I have a screen shot of my bank statement which I can email to the Sydney office )

20. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 9y

I agree that it would be highly misleading and generally bad practise to make a charge in a currency other than the one quoted.

Unless it was extremely clear that the amount (in this case AUD) was to be viewed as a guide and the actual amount and currency also given, or at least clearly linked to, on the same webpage (but definitely not in small print such as T&C's etc).

The only real allowance to the above is that if something (goods or services) is in a foreign (to the buyer) currency and the credit card is charged in the buyer's local currency. The above example would seem to be the opposite to this.