Bank fees issue

I took a car loan from the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) at the Abu Dhabi Mall branch for Dh1,125 Equated Monthly Instalment (EMI). The Direct Debit facility is the payment option I selected, for my convenience.

Direct Debit facility takes effect on the 15th of each month and takes the loan amount to my other bank account, where I also have a personal loan.

On February 15, Direct Debit facility was enforced by NBAD. Unfortunately, I had insufficient funds in my other savings account, due to a delay of salary. On this occasion, I was penalised with a force debit charge by my savings bank and for every three days, because NBAD was forcing me to get Dh1,125 into that insufficient savings account.

I called their customer hotline to inform them about the charges and to inquire about other options of paying, to avoid further charges (since I cannot deposit my EMI to my savings account in another bank, due to the personal loan I owed them). They told me that the charges came from the other bank and instead advised me to go to their branch and pay it directly at their counter. I followed their advice and went to the bank on February 25 to talk to a customer representative prior to depositing my EMI. The person in charge also advised me to deposit the EMI with an additional Dh100 (as expected charge) to my NBAD account to settle my EMI. When I settled the amount at the counter, I again approached her for confirmation and she informed me that everything would be settled.

On February 28, my salary was credited to my bank account. To my surprise, NBAD’s EMI of Dh1,125 was again deducted, with Dh50 charges. The amount that I deposited to my NBAD account was not enforced, instead they used Direct Debit facility and again, I incurred a charge of Dh50.

All in all, in less than 10 days of delayed salary, my bank has charged me Dh350 due to the Direct Debit facility of NBAD applying forced debit charge.

When I filed a complaint with NBAD and asked how to avoid this problem in case of delayed salary, the NBAD representative informed me that they could not remove the Direct Debit facility. Moreover, they did not give me any assurance that even if I deposit my EMI to my NBAD account, penalties could be avoided. They even expressed that the NBAD Abu Dhabi Mall customer service representative had denied that she advised me to deposit the amount at the counter. This makes my complaint worse because they have made me look like a liar.

I seek the assistance of Gulf News to help me solve the following issues:

1. Ask NBAD for other payment options other than Direct Debit.

2. Make a clear investigation that the customer service representative has given me false advice.

3. Reverse the penalty charges.

From Mr Aris Claudio

Abu Dhabi

The management of NBAD responds:

Thank you for your constant cooperation and communication with us in the endeavour to best serve our customers and resolve their issues.

We have investigated Mr Claudio’s complaint and below is our feedback.

Mr Claudio has a Car Loan with NBAD since June, 2014, and he opted for a direct debit option to settle his monthly instalments. Our Direct Debit terms and conditions clearly state that “Where a payment request is lodged by the Creditor’s Bank into the UAE Direct Debit System (UAEDDS) and it is rejected for any reason, the Creditor Bank is entitled to represent the payment request up to maximum of four times. We will charge you for every payment request and represented request that are being returned due to insufficient funds in your account.”

The Direct Debit request presented on February 15, 2015 through the UAEDDS was rejected by Commercial Bank International (CBI) due to insufficient funds in Mr Claudio’s account and as per the terms and conditions of the UAEDDS the Direct Debit request was resubmitted on 18th, 23rd and the instalment was successfully recovered on February 28.

Mr Claudio called our Contact Centre on February 10 and was provided accurate information and advised to deposit the instalment into his account in CBI since he had given the Direct Debit Authority to NBAD and the instalment would be collected as per the agreement. Mr Claudio informed the agent that he has another liability with CBI and if he deposited the amount into his CBI account, the amount will be taken by CBI to settle his monthly instalment there. In this situation, the agent advised the customer to visit the NBAD branch and seek their assistance.

Mr Claudio visited the NBAD branch on February 25, and by that time three attempts had already been made to recover the instalment from Mr Claudio’s account with CBI and CBI had already charged him Dh300 for the three failed Direct Debit attempts. The charges were not a result of any miscommunication by any staff at NBAD branch.

Total charges of Dh350 in question have been levied by CBI and not by NBAD. We have contacted Mr Claudio and explained to him how the Direct Debit System works and have informed him that Direct Debit is the only payment method since his salary is transferred to CBI and he cannot transfer his salary to NBAD as he has a loan with them. We have also advised him to visit any of NBAD branches and request for a change in the direct debit date to suit his convenience.

As a most valued customer, on this occasion we have made a service gesture in compensating Mr Claudio for the charges levied to his account in CBI.

Thank you once again for your continuous support and valued efforts

Mr Claudio responds:

I appreciate Gulf News’ help in trying to mediate on behalf of unsatisfied and disappointed customers regarding their grievances against banks and other institutions.

I am pleased and very satisfied with NBAD’s customer support team and how they tried to make things clear for me. They made an effort in conducting an unbiased investigation.

The request of reversal, as informed by NBAD, was rewarded. The payment options were laid down and I am in the process of selecting those options. The complaint against the NBAD Abu Dhabi Mall branch customer service personnel is currently being looked at by their internal affairs group.

Overall, my queries were answered and I hope Gulf News will keep on helping people who are in need.

(Process initiation: April 12. Response from organisation: April 14. Reader confirmation: April 16.)

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