Settling loan

My husband had a personal loan with HSBC. For the past two-and-a-half years we had been paying regularly and hadn’t even defaulted on one payment.

Suddenly my husband lost his job and he defaulted on three payments. But, he ensured that he paid after every two months.

However, HSBC kept calling us at home and on both our mobiles despite knowing the fact that my husband was [unemployed].

We finally decided to meet the retail loans manager and pay the full amount instead of getting harassed every month.

On October 6, we went to the HSBC branch in Dubai Internet City. We waited for two hours when finally the representatives sat down with us to negotiate. We finally reached a reasonable conclusion.

Due to shortage of funds on that particular day we told them that the payment will be made in two days as we needed to arrange the funds that were agreed upon.

Usually the norm with every bank is that once the loan is completely paid off and settled we get a clearance letter and all our security cheques back within four working days.
A representative promised us that within four working days he would personally come to the Bur Dubai Branch and drop off the letter so that we could collect it from there instead of coming all the way to Dubai Internet City.

It has been a month and after repeated calls and reminders to the person who helped us reach an agreement, we still haven’t received the clearance letter and security cheques.

Every time we call them they come up with some lousy excuse, like the approval hasn’t been received or the managers are out of town.

To top it all, we have been charged a fine of Dh500 for loan processing fees. When we asked the representative about the charges, he told us that we should wait till we get the clearance letter, otherwise the bank can present the cheques and we would be in trouble.

Later, my husband got a call from the collections department regarding the payment of the loan.

He told them that the entire payment had been settled. But, they said that in their system, it showed that Dh37,000 was still pending.

He got annoyed and told him that we met the section head and reached a conclusion regarding the payment.

After checking, they said we had reached a payment agreement on October 6, but we arranged for the full payment after two days due to a shortage of funds on that particular day — so that became a breach of contract.”

My husband was completely stunned after hearing this.

Nobody advised us about this and the fact that we had already informed the section head about the time required to arrange the remaining funds. So how is it a breach of contract?

From Ms Shilpa Sharma

Editor’s note:
The complaint was forwarded to the management of HSBC for comment. However, despite repeated reminders, they failed to respond.

Baggage allowance

Congratulations to Etihad Airways for being named the world’s leading airline for the second consecutive year at a travel industry event.

Etihad Airways now flies to many destinations from Abu Dhabi. Several new destinations, including those in South India, are being added in the near future.

A unified and standard 40 kilogram baggage allowance to all Indian destinations is a common wish-list among the passengers from Abu Dhabi. To travel by [Etihad] will then be a privilege for all to fly from Abu Dhabi, by the capital’s own airlines, from its state-of-the-art airport facilities.

I request Etihad Airways to kindly consider more baggage options on their flights to all Indian destinations alike.

It will also be a good idea for the airlines to partner with major electronic companies and shopping malls and provide special baggage vouchers on transportation of electronic appliances such as television.

This scheme will give a much required boost to revive the consumer sector.

From Mr Ramesh Menon
Abu Dhabi

Mr Hareb Al Muhairi, VP Sales UAE, Etihad Airways, responds:

Many thanks for your congratulations on Etihad winning the “World’s Leading Airline” award for the second year in a row.

Etihad continually looks to add new and innovative features to enhance the travel experience for our customers.

These features currently include online check-in and self check-in at Abu Dhabi airport.
We also recently launched our “India Connect” scheme for members of our Etihad Guest programme travelling to and from India.

India Connect has a range of partners in India and around the world, who provide special offers for members of the scheme.

These partners include restaurants, hotels, retail chains, telecommunications services and financial service providers.

In terms of baggage allowances, this is a key commercial aspect of the airline industry and needs to be managed carefully. That said, the levels Etihad offers customers in all our cabins are among the highest in the industry.

Mr Menon responds:

I thank the management of Etihad for their response. I look forward to their extended effort to give more baggage allowance, than the existing 23 kilograms, to passengers [flying] to Indian destinations so that more families can opt for flying out from Abu Dhabi.
It is the major detrimental factor when travelling during holidays as a family or for that matter as a group with luggage for a long stay.

Gulf News’ intervention has highlighted this issue and I hope that the management of Etihad will consider this important factor in their scope for improvement for passenger comfort and convenience to attract more business to Etihad as well as Abu Dhabi airport.