Paying in advance
I have been using a First Gulf Bank (FGB) credit card since 2011 and every month I pay the dues well in advance — and more than the due amount. FGB’s representative has called me with promotional offers, through which I chose balance transfer option of Dh4,000 for three months with a processing fee of Dh80. I have confirmed twice with the officer about any hidden charges and she has promised there won’t be anything; in line with that I have made the transaction on June 21 for Dh4,000.
The first statement was generated on July 15 and the first due amount is Dh1,413.33 (with a Dh80 processing fee). Accounting for the fact that I have paid Dh7.56 extra in a previous statement, Dh1,405.77 is scheduled for August 5. I have paid Dh2,000 on July 20, well in advance, that too with extra Dh594.23.
The second statement was generated on August 15 and the second due is Dh739.10, which is due for September 6. I have paid Dh1,000 on August 20.
The final statement was generated on September 15 and the last due amount is Dh1,072.43. I have paid Dh1,500 on September 15. Since I was going on holiday, I don’t want to cause any issues to the bank, thus I paid well in advance on my card. There was an excess of Dh427.57 credit on my card.
On August 28, I used my card for Dh2,000 for retail transaction under another promotional offer of FGB that is “shop now, pay later”, which means I should pay the amount in 90 days. For that, the phone banking officer said my due amount is on November 6. Bearing that in my mind, I left for holidays, but upon my return I was appalled to see a Dh250 late charge from FGB. I called the call centre officer, who was rude and said the system has taken the amount for “shop now, pay later,” not for my final due.
I told her that the officer had said November 6 is my due date for Dh2,000 but she replied this is the system and “if you pay earlier than the statement date it will deduct like this”. Then I requested her to cancel the card, and she asked me to pay Dh1,822.43 with the late charge fee, if not, I would be charged more interest.
I paid Dh1,823 instead of Dh1,572.43 in order to avoid a threat from the bank. In line with the cancellation request, the bank’s officer called me and said they will reverse Dh250 but I should agree that I won’t cancel the card for next six months. I told her that the customer who is paying regularly (that too in excess) is being treating in this way? She gave me another option — that I should agree to use Dh1,500 on the credit card within the next month, and if I fail to do so, they wouldn’t reverse the amount.
From Mr Syed Mukarram
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. FGB has been in contact with Mr Mukarram, and the matter has been resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
Mr Mukarram responds:
Please be informed that following Gulf News’ intervention, FGB’s customer services representative called and said they would reverse the amount. I have no words to express my thanks to the newspaper, which has made enormous efforts in customers’ disputes, and is doing a tremendous job.
(Process initiation: November 25. Response from organisation: November 30. Reader confirmation: December 3.)
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