UAE residents from India and the Philippines, followed by Pakistanis and South Africans are the most debt-stricken Image Credit: File

Dubai: A 34-year-old Indian expat was found hanging at his Dubai residence on Monday.

According to sources, the sales executive, who was single, had incurred large debts. Police are investigating the incident.

On Tuesday, the body of a 31-year-old Indian worker was found hanging at his workplace in Sharjah's Industrial Area. No 10 over a reported financial issue.

Over the years, there have been a number of cases involving suicides due to the inability to settle debts.

Defaulters can end up in jail over bounced cheques, lose their jobs, have their visas blocked, and taken to criminal and civil court. In the face of the impending consequences, the defaulters sometimes resort to extreme measures.

Many debtors who are stuck in a rut are nevertheless determined to settle their dues. Their biggest concern is that due to the rigid bank rules, they are effectively unable to find a middle road till the time their issue is resolved.

Plastic money

Many who have little financial literally and lived a credit card swipe-happy life end up in a continuous state of shock, weighed down by interest and other charges.

A 33-year-old Indian, who did not wish to be named, said he has paid back the principal on all his four credit cards but still owes some Dh150,000 in interest, late payments, and other charges.

According to him, he had missed paying monthly payments, the financial charges on which are snowballing exponentially.

What led him initially into the predicament, he said, is that he had been a victim of financial fraud, which led him to fall into debt. The Dubai resident also said he had initially taken a loan to help family member in trouble.

“I want to pay them [banks] back but they don’t want me to pay them. Instead of taking what I can give them every month, they want huge Dh10,000 amounts in two or three instalments and that I can’t afford. So, when I miss those deadlines, they add on more charges, which I simply can’t pay. This never-ending nightmare has been going on for years,” he said.

The customer, who earns Dh17,000 a month, had dues totalling Dh700,000 in credit card payments and personal loans. He has managed to pay back Dh200,000 in two years.

“No matter how much I pay, the charges keep piling up because what I pay is never enough. It’s a vicious cycle that ends up very badly for most of us.”

The expat said around Dh11,000 of his salary goes toward financing his dues while the rest is used for rent and tuition payments for his two children.

Caught in a rut

“I have three cases against me. My visa is up for renewal soon but that will probably be blocked. I may lose my job. The banks know this. How can I pay them if I don’t have a job or visa or if I’m in jail?” he said.

“So what are my options? If I wanted, I could have run away. But I’m an honest, hard-working guy who’s trying to pay his dues. Why is it so difficult for the banks to understand this? It’s a matter of simple maths. They will get their money back one way or the other — they are insured.”

Another customer, a Filipino in his 40s, said he had taken loans to help his family and relatives. To settle one loan, he said he had to resort to another. He eventually racked up 16 credit card limits and has four legal notices against him.

He said his only option was to pay back about Dh500,000 or face jail. The expat lost his job as his visa couldn’t be renewed.

Readers write: Can you manage your finances?