Why is my card blocked?

My issue is with First Gulf Bank (FGB), with whom I have a credit card. One time, I exceeded the credit limit without realising, by Dh36 only. After six months, I was surprised by an email with the subject line: “Legal notice”. There was a total outstanding balance of Dh1,400. I called a bank representative to settle this issue, and he told me that my case was easy and that he would call me back, since he was busy. But he didn’t call. I called him many times thereafter, and each time, he told me he was busy. After two weeks, I insisted on finding a solution, then, in an impolite way, he said that this was my mistake and that I would have to pay the full amount. He told me he would check with his manager if he could decrease this amount, but replied apologising — this time on the same day — and saying I would have to pay Dh1,700. Then, in a threatening tone, he said that if I did not do this within two days, he would take legal action and I would be blocked by the Central Bank.

I told him the amount was approximately Dh1,400. He said, yes, but now another fine cycle had gone through. I told him that was not because of me, and I was calling almost daily for two weeks — he didn’t care to talk and told me every time that he would call back later. Now, the amount has increased.

In the same day, I went to FGB’s ATM and paid the full amount and even more, Dh1,800, to get rid of this headache. I then made a complaint against the bank representative. On March 14, I called to follow up and see what steps the bank had taken and found that the bank had replied to my complaint stating that I made a settlement, but that’s totally not true. I didn’t make a settlement and my complaint is mainly because of the poor customer service.

I have several issues with the bank. My credit card is blocked for no reason and I suffered from the collections department and paid an extra amount due to that. This is all because of the amount of Dh1,700 that I had to pay for Dh36 over limit.

I kindly request Gulf News’ involvement in this situation, since such action needs to be controlled.

From Mr Waleed Nasser Al Garawany


The management of First Gulf Bank responds:

FGB is grateful for all customer feedback to which we give careful consideration as we strive to consistently deliver the highest standards of service. We have been in contact with Mr Al Garawany and explained that as the outstanding amount on his credit card was not paid, he was charged with interest and statements were sent every month to his registered email address. As per the bank’s policy, the credit card has now been blocked as the customer did not repay the outstanding amount within 180 days.

Mr Al Garawany responds:

The bank’s answer is irrelevant because the issue is still the same. Why should I pay a fine of Dh1,800 for just Dh36 outstanding and, of this amount, Dh300 for the two-week delay, when the customer service department postponed their reply? All of that is a clear violation of the banking code of conduct. It seems FGB isn’t considering my complaint seriously. I have received no call from the bank since I raised this complaint, except for a one-minute call to verify my name.

The management of First Gulf Bank responds:

We have been in contact with Mr Al Garawany and explained that as per FGB and Central Bank policy, the customer’s credit card has been blocked due to inconsistent repayment history and cannot be reactivated again.

(Process initiation: March 30. Response from organisation: April 1. Reader confirmation: May 7.)

Editor’s note: Do you have similar issues that you would like to raise with us? You can write to us at readers@gulfnews.com