Is anybody listening?

I have a 48-month car loan with Emirates Islamic Bank (EIB), which started on December 2013 with payments on the third of the month, through automatic debit, in my Emirates NBD (ENBD) current account. Everything went smoothly, until October 3, 2015.

As soon as I noticed that I was receiving several text messages from ENBD, which stated that the monthly car loan payment of Dh945 was getting debited and credited, I alerted both parties on the system malfunction through their customer service toll numbers. I was advised that I had nothing to worry about as they would look into this issue. So, having peace of mind that my ENBD current account is well funded for October and confident in the report I had made, I continued with my daily activities until I received another SMS on October 5, stating that my funds were “insufficient”. Surprised by this, I checked my account online immediately and saw the message from EIB twice: “Inward clearing UAE DDS” of Dh945.

I had a gut feeling that once you see insufficient funds in your statement, it means the system would penalise me and sure enough, there was a fee of Dh100. Puzzled by this incident, I made phone calls to both EIB and ENBD’s customer service and filed a complaint to correct the system error, but I wasn’t satisfied with both banks’ customer service responses, wherein they told me to ask Central Bank to reverse the funds. I approached both bank personnel at their branches and both of them logged the complaint but took no corrective action for the mistake that was made. With continuous follow-up calls and our last branch visit, I realised that both banks seemed to be ignoring my case.

ENBD is telling me this is an issue originating from EIB, so they told me to go to EIB. However, EIB told me to ask ENBD to log a request at the Central Bank to return the Dh100 penalty! I was dismayed by how EIB made the double deduction in October and made me pay for their system error. How could they ask an individual account holder to ask ENBD to involve the Central Bank to have a case resolved?

I’m not confident about how both banks’ customer service personnel are trained to solve a client’s complaint — they are just closing the issue without checking if I’m happy with their resolution. Dh100 maybe a small charge for them and a minor issue, but the fact is that I’m an innocent and responsible person paying for the mistake. I fear that someday, in between the remaining payments, this could recur or there could be incurred interest compounding due to insufficient funds. I hope Gulf News will be my voice and drive them to excellent customer service.

From Mr Daniel M. Gonzales


The management of Emirates Islamic Bank responds:

Thank you for bringing Mr Gonzales’ concerns to our attention.

The customer pays monthly instalments from an account with another bank towards his vehicle finance with Emirates Islamic through the UAE Direct Debit System (UAEDDS). Through an error with the UAEDDS, the customer was erroneously charged twice for his monthly instalment in October, which resulted in a Dh100 charge by the other bank due to insufficient funds. The customer was advised by Emirates Islamic to approach his bank for a refund. We can confirm that he has received the refund on this charge and the issue has been resolved.

We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that Emirates Islamic is committed to providing the highest level of customer service to our loyal clientele.

The management of Emirates NBD responds:

We are pleased to inform you that our Group Customer Experience team contacted Mr Gonzales and addressed all his concerns.

We wish to clarify that in October 2015, the car loan payment was deducted twice, and because of the second deduction, he has been charged Dh100 as a cheque return charge because there were insufficient funds in his account. We would like to confirm that the charges of Dh100 have been reversed to his account and the matter has been resolved.

We have offered Mr Gonzales our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused, and assured him of our best services at all times.

We would like to reiterate our commitment to providing superior service to our customers and thank you for your continuous support in providing us with the opportunity to resolve their issues.

Mr Gonzales responds:

I’m happy that my case got resolved through Gulf News’ assistance. ENBD and EIB managers immediately responded and exceeded my expectations. I want to commend Gulf News and the bank personnel who looked into my case with concern and promptness. May all who believe in excellent service never give up!

(Process initiation: December 2. Response from organisations: December 6. Process completion: December 14.)

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