No reward for using cards

We have been in the UAE for over 30 years and for credit cards have always banked with Standard Chartered bank. Almost two years ago we, my father and I, were approached by a Mashreq bank credit card salesman in my shop, which is located in Sharjah’s Rolla area.

He convinced us that we needed two credit cards; one card gave us a one way Air Arabia ticket after activation and first transaction and the other card gave us Dh100 etisalat phone credit after the first swipe and payment. He also told us that once we receive our gifts, we can cancel the credit cards without any charges. However, it was also a free for life credit card, in case we planned to keep it.

We obviously thought it was a great option and signed up for two credit cards each, activated them, made our first transaction and even paid back the amount immediately so as to have no outstanding balance in the credit card. The overall total transaction value must have been less than Dh100 on mine. My father also bought some groceries worth Dh24 but forgot to deposit Dh24 into the card and left for India for treatment.

After about three months of continuous calls to the salesman, we never got our gifts and then he left the organisation. I then tried to cancel all our credit cards. I was told I have to go to the branch and it cannot be done over the phone. I went to the branch and cancelled my credit cards. I also had a general power of attorney from my father for instances like these where I need to act on his behalf when he is away for treatment or in bed as he is a retired, aged person. However, Mashreq refused to accept the general power of attorney and told me that I cannot cancel his credit cards on his behalf.

By this time, the Dh24 that was not paid had accumulated to around Dh300 as there was interest and a non-payment fine of the outstanding balance.

A year ago, Mashreq hands over all unrecoverable debt to a third party, which started harassing my father by calling him three times in a day, asking for payment of around Dh17,000. We would explain the whole story, but they would then change their staff and the calls would start again. I finally got frustrated and spoke to the manager at the call centre and explained it to him, to which he said it’s better we visit their head office and explain to them and by doing this we should be able to get a discount on the outstanding amount.

After a few days, the outstanding automatically reached Dh12,000 and the harassing phone calls began again. When my father returned from India, after his treatment, he received a call and was informed the outstanding amount was Dh5,700 and we need to only pay Dh1,000 for a clearance certificate and even I could go on behalf of my father to the branch and pay it off.

I explained to them that this is entirely Mashreq’s fault from day one, but they finally said if I don’t pay Dh1,000. my father might face criminal charges. Please advise me what to do.

From Mr Anil Ahuja


The management of Mashreq responded: Thank you [Gulf News] for bringing Mr Dilip Ahuja’s complaint to our notice. The complaint is in fact raised by Mr Anil Ahuja, Mashreq customer Dilip Ahuja’s son under a general POA. It is about the overdue amount on Mr Dilip Ahuja’s Mashreq credit card issued on April 1, 2012 and we sincerely regret the inconvenience caused.

Our investigation shows that Mr Dilip Ahuja had used the Mashreq card for some transactions back in September. 2012. These were not settled before Mr Dilip Ahuja left the UAE. The overdue amount has been attracting financial charges for months and that is the reason for collection calls.

In 2014, our Collections Team had contacted Mr Dilip Ahuja to settle the outstanding but was declined by him. We spoke to Mr Anil Ahuja and requested him to pay the transaction amount that he owes Mashreq since 2012 and a nominal interest. An exceptional approval has been taken to reverse all the other financial charges on his card as a goodwill gesture and the card is cancelled. Mr Ahuja is now satisfied with the resolution and has no further complaint.

We thank Gulf News for providing our customers another platform to have their issues resolved amicably.

Mr Ahuja responded: Yes the issue stands resolved, I thank Gulf News for their effort.

(Process initiation: January 13. Response from organisation: January 19. Reader confirmation: January 20.)

Interest charges

My November statement from the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) had an outstanding amount of Dh16,183 to be paid before December 17, 2014. Due to some confusion, I paid an amount of Dh15,800 before the deadline thereby falling short by Dh383.

In December’s statement, I was shocked to see an interest amount of Dh778.63 charged to me and when I called the bank seeking an explanation, I was advised that this is for not settling the full amount of Dh16,183. They didn’t take into account that I had paid Dh15,800. They were supposed to charge an interest only for the amount that was not paid, that is Dh383. They had advised me that this is how credit cards worked and they were also rude.

I would appreciate it if Gulf News could kindly intervene and help me with my case as this is an unjust amount that they have charged me.

From Mr Shoaib Ahmad


The management of NBAD responds: Thank you for your [Gulf News] communication with us in ensuring that we always deliver to our Customer Service expectations. As per our Credit Card terms and conditions, if the outstanding amount, as shown on the monthly statement of the card account, is not paid in full on or before the due date, interest shall be levied on the amount outstanding from the transaction date. These terms and conditions are provided to all our customers in the welcome pack and are also updated on our website.

We have contacted Mr Shoaib Ahmad and explained to him how the credit card charges were calculated. As a most valued customer, on this occasion, we have made a service gesture in reversing the interest charges levied on the card in the December, 2014 statement. We do not tolerate poor customer service standards by our employees, therefore, as part of our customer service performance, we listened to the conversation between the customer and our Contact Center Representative. And we are pleased that the staff provided the accurate information to Mr Shoaib and was very polite during the call. All of Mr. Shoaib Ahmad’s concerns have now been positively resolved.

Mr Ahmad responds: I am pleased to advise that I did get a call from NBAD and they have reversed the interest charges. I take this opportunity to thank Gulf News wholeheartedly for the kind assistance, without which I am sure justice would not have been served.

(Process intiation: January 13. Response from organisation: January 15. Reader confirmation: January 18.)

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