Picture for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Getty images

Issue with account
I recently received an SMS from a company called Alwasl International Legal Department, warning me I faced legal action if I did not pay Dh1,199 owed to du within three days. I contacted du immediately and was told I did not owe any money, and that the account to which the amount related had been closed in 2006.
I was asked to send a letter to customer care and the matter would be resolved. I did not receive a response to this letter so I called du again and was again told I did not owe any money, and that the account would not have been closed if I did.
I then called Alwasl International and advised them du had confirmed I did not owe any money. Alwasl International called me back the next day and told me du head office had confirmed with them that I did owe the money.
The representative from Alwasl International refused to give me the name or contact details of the person at du with whom he had spoken and shouted at me that I would have to visit du in person, as it was my problem and up to me if I wanted to sort it out or not.
I had to call my husband home from work to care for our sick son in order to visit du. The representative I spoke to there told me the account would not have been closed had I owed any money, but he said he could see an amount on the account screen and therefore did not know what had happened.
He said the call centre staff would have been able to access the same screens but also a separate system to which he did not have access.
Eventually, I was able to speak to a manager who told me a billing dispute would be raised.
I then sent an e-mail to the senior vice-president of customer care, as I was seriously concerned about the threat of legal action and felt I was not getting anywhere with du. I received a call from a member of his staff telling me the call centre staff had not been able to access the correct information as the account in question had been deactivated, and I therefore did owe the amount as a final bill from a property I occupied in 2006.
As of yet du has not been able to explain why I did not receive a bill in 2006. They said they sent it to my PO Box, but have not been able to satisfactorily explain why I was told by the call centre twice that I did not owe any money.
They have also not been able to tell me why all three staff members I spoke to said the account would not have been closed with a balance owing, and have been unable to tell me why I have had no communication from them regarding this in five years. Given the nature of the SMS I received from Alwasl International, I do not feel this response is acceptable.
From Ms Catherine Rankin Harper
Dubai

The management of du responds:
With regard to Ms Catherine Rankin Harper’s query over an incorrect overdue bill sent by Alwasl International Group Legal Department, we would like to confirm that following an investigation by the du team and collaboration with the customer, we have successfully resolved the issue. The amount has been waived by du and no further problems have been reported.

Counter charges
I have had an account with Mashreq bank for the past nine years. Recently I sent my staff to withdraw Dh2,000 with a signed cheque.
Surprisingly they returned the cheque saying that I need to pay a service charge of Dh100 to withdraw any amount less than Dh10,000 at a time. Is this practice ethical? Is this approved by Central Bank of the UAE? Are there authorities to look into this kind of sudden rule changes?
The reason the bank gave is that they have invested a huge amount in ATM machines and they want the public to use them regularly. This is not a valid or acceptable reason.
Mashreq is imposing a rule which is not a practical one. It is not necessary that everyone go to ATM, and suppose someone wants to pay through cheque to someone, and if the amount is less than Dh10,000 why should he spend another Dh100?
Their claim is that they will not give cash below Dh10,000.
From Mr Ravindranath Penikkattil
Dubai

The management of Mashreq responds:
Please note that from November 1, 2010, Mashreq has introduced counter charges of Dh100 for all cash and cheque withdrawals below Dh9,000 from the branch teller counter.
These charges are applicable to all individual customers who use the branch counter to withdraw small amounts. We encourage Mr Penikkattil to use alternate, fast and convenient channels like ATM, online and mobile banking.
The new charges were communicated to all Mashreq customers through SMS and statement messages, as well as new charges were updated in the bank’s website and all staff across our branches was informed accordingly. The Schedule of Charges posters in all branches have also been updated with the new revised charges.
Mashreq call centre is also up-to-date with the new charges to answer customer queries promptly.
A prominent notice is placed at all Mashreq branches prior to introduction of the new fees schedule and statement inserts have been sent to all customers to communicate the charges.
We have contacted Mr Penikkattil and advised him of alternative ways where he can process his transactions.

Editor’s Note: If you have an unresolved consumer complaint, raise it with us and we’ll do our best to help. Contact us on readers@gulfnews.com.