Dubai: It’s not only the small shops that don’t have small change — 1 fil, 5 fils, and 10 fils — but even some big supermarkets and banks in Dubai, Gulf News can reveal.
The issue of not getting the small change back is getting public attention when the five per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) was introduced on January 1 in the UAE.
For a ‘chai’ priced at Dh1 previously, for example, an additional .05 fils is taxed, making it Dh1.05. But many consumers reported they don’t get the 45 fils change when they pay Dh1.50.
The UAE Central Bank said they have not discontinued minting the 1 fil, 5 fils, and 10 fils coins.
So if they are still of value and are in circulation, they should be in the market, especially in banks.
Gulf News randomly visited four banks to get small change for at least Dh3.
At Dubai Islamic Bank at the Mall of the Emirates, the teller said the only small change she had was 25 fils.
The next bank, Emirates Islamic, was no different. Although the request to get small change gave the tellers a reason to chuckle.
“It’s for VAT,” the teller laughingly said to her colleague.
Both tellers said they don’t use the small fils and have no stock of it in their branch.
At the Abu Dhabi Islamic Branch in Al Barsha Mall, when Gulf News showed the Dh3 coins to be changed into smaller denominations, the teller immediately brushed off the request with a resounding “No, no, no!” and offered no proper response to a customer who waited for her turn to transact with the bank.
Breaking it down
Over at Emirates NBD, the teller was happy to break the Dh1 coins.
She took her container to check but only found a minimum of 50 fils. “We don’t have the smaller denominations. We don’t use it,” the teller politely said.
Not a single bank Gulf News visited could provide coins smaller than 25 fils.
To check if big supermarkets have them and if they give exact change unlike small shops, Gulf News visited Carrefour, Union Coop, and LuLu Hypermarket in Al Barsha to buy small items that are irregularly priced.
At Union Coop, Gulf News bought a bar of chocolate for Dh2.63. The cashier gave a change of Dh7.50 when the change should have been Dh7.37, which is 13 fils extra.
When asked why, the cashier said: “We don’t have the 5 fils and 10 fils at the moment. We used to have them before but we haven’t replenished our stocks from the bank yet. So I gave you extra.”
Takes money, says nothing
At Carrefour, Gulf News bought a bar of chocolate for 90 fils and paid Dh1.
The cashier took the money, gave the receipt and went on to the next customer without saying anything, as if it’s normal to not give any change at all.
When asked for change, the cashier told Gulf News: “There’s no change. 0.90 fils is Dh1 here.”
Another cashier said they don’t have the small denomination coins. So if the change they have to give is in an excess of 65 fils, they give 50 fils; if it’s 85 fils, they give Dh1.
At LuLu Hypermarket, the attitude was the same. The cashier closed the counter and gave the receipt without bothering to explain that she had no exact change to give and just rounded off the bill to Dh2. “It’s Dh1.95, you don’t have change anymore.”
In all, the total expense for the small items bought was Dh5.38. The small change lost due to the lack of coins was 15 fils, but with Union’s extra 13 fils, the total change lost was 2 fils. Multiply that to the number of times you shop and lose small change and you will see the amount of money you’ll lose along the way.
Public warned of misinformation
The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) on Thursday said that a small change of 10 fils and 5 fils can be rounded off to 25 fils and traders should not charge customers more than 20 fils of the bill amount.
The statement comes after complaints from consumers that they are not being handed out the exact change after the purchase of items post introduction of VAT (value added tax) in the UAE from January 1.
Elaborating further, the Deparment said if the bill shows Dh10 and 5 fils, one may pay up to Dh10.25, and if the bill is Dh10.35 fils, it is fine to pay up to Dh10.50 fils.
“This is to stop any confusion about the lack of 10 and 5 fil coins in the market,” ADDED stated.
Consumers can also complain to the Ministry of Economy on the number 600522225, which works from 7am to 10.30pm.