Man seated at desk talking on telephone Image Credit: Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley

I write to you as my last resort in getting my Mashreq Air Arabia Platinum card discontinued. I had submitted a request to close the credit card with Mashreq in February 2013. I had an outstanding of 40 fils for which I was charged interest on the complete amount, which was Dh5000. After repeated conversation with an assortment of call centre and Mashreq employees and at least 6 visits to their branches, I was told to pay a settlement amount of Dh50 to close the card. I finally paid that, much as I thought it was unfair, but just to terminate my unpleasant relationship with this bank at any cost.

A few months later I got an SMS saying I have around Dh297 as balance payment. When I called the call centre, as usual, they are not able to provide sufficient details, and forward me to another person who is not able to clarify either and informs me that someone from the bank would call up to clarify. It has been five months and I am still waiting.

In the meantime, the balance amount has skyrocketed to Dh1,550. I have tried calling the bank on a couple of occasions but have met dead ends. With a total sense of helplessness, I am approaching Gulf News to help me sort this matter once and for all. Hope this works like it has for your other lucky readers.

From Mr Murtaza Pithawala

Sharjah

The management of Mashreq responds: Thank you for sharing Mr Pithawala’s letter with us.

Our investigation revealed that prior to the cancellation of the card, Mr Pithwala has utilised one lounge visit along with two guest lounge visits using his priority pass and post cancellation, one visit was utilised. A total of four visits, therefore Dh396 was charged on his Mashreq Air Arabia Platinum card.

Once the card was canceled, we have sent across SMS notifying the customer that no free lounge visits are permitted and we have the same in our records. Out of gesture of goodwill, we are reversing late payment fee and finance charges but not the charges for the priority pass. We have communicated the outcome with Mr Pithwala and requested him to make the payment at the earliest. Thank you for seeking clarification.

Mr Pithawala responds: Thanks for the feedback. Yes we had the discussions as stated in their reply. First, the lounge access card issued by them was supposed to be free of cost. Later they converted it to paid service, without any communication from their side, which they fail to accept. They say an SMS was sent but I haven’t received any.

Then, once request for credit card cancellation was placed, the lounge access card should have been placed on hold but wasn’t and hence I was billed for the usage.

Now I am paying for a service I never asked for and was issued to me without my consent. It was supposed to be a free service but was converted to a paid service without any creditable communication from their side.

And the service was continued much after my request for cancellation of the primary card. I requested for reversal or at least a partial reversal of these charges but was refused.

Mashreq responds: Mr Pithawala was a holder of non annual fee based cards, basis on that priority lounge access are not free and are charged.

When the free priority lounge access service was discontinued and as mentioned earlier, we have a confirmation that an SMS was sent to the customer. Our website was clearly updated that free visits were discontinued on Priority Pass associated with Air Arabia card. Mr Pithawala used the priority lounge access although he opted for the card cancellation.

Thank you for seeking clarification.

(Process initiation: February 16. Response from organisation: February 20. Reader confirmation: March 13).