I was approached by sales staff of Dubai First to avail of a credit card facility. The sales staff had listed a set of documents that I had to hand in. I was asked to provide a cheque favouring Dubai First, as security, on approval of the credit card facility.
I was contacted by the sales staff a week later and informed that my card was approved for a limit of Dh40,000. I was asked to provide a security cheque for the equivalent amount. I did so.
To my dismay on receiving the card from the bank, the approved limit was exactly half of what conveyed to me. While I had given them a security cheque equivalent to 200 per cent of the approved credit limit.
This is in clear contradiction and blatant flouting of the UAE Central Bank regulation, which stipulates that a security cheque of no more than 120 per cent is to be provided for any credit facility availed from a bank or financial institution.
On voicing my concern and obvious disappointment to the complaints investigation department, I was meted out the worst customer service treatment by an impolite agent of Dubai First.
My request was simple — I had requested to cancel the credit card (which I had not even activated) and return my security cheque. I was brashly informed that as per the rules of Dubai First, my security cheque would not be returned to me and that I would have to request for an annulment letter after 35 days.
When I contested that I, as a customer, had every right to claim for my security cheque back or at least to fast track the issuance of the so-called annulment letter, I was refused.
From Mr Dominic Burke
The management of Dubai First responds:
Please note that the complaint raised by our customer has been addressed on January 24, 2012.
Our investigation of this case revealed that at the time of signing the application form, the customer failed to declare all his other financial commitments, such as existing credit cards and personal loan.
Our verification team established with the customer the missing information over the phone, and based on the results of our findings, and in our endeavour to limit any potential future risks, the credit limit was assigned based on Dubai First's credit risk policies and norms.
The customer has now requested for card cancellation, to which Dubai First has obliged.
Kindly be informed that as per terms and conditions of any application form, and upon signing, a financial company maintains the right to retain all supporting documents provided, simply to prevent them from being used in future for potential fraudulent attempts.
We have advised the customer to request for a "Security Annulment Letter" after 35 days of card cancellation. This annulment letter will confirm that the security cheque submitted against the credit card application stands null and void.
As far as the customer's complaint against the Dubai First staff is concerned, we assure you that the actual recording of the telephone conversation was reviewed several times, and that no impolite behaviour was noticed.
Dubai First remains committed to delivering the highest standards of services, and as such, we are willing to go the extra mile to satisfy our customers. In order to assist the customer further we request him to visit any of our branches or to reach our contact centre on +971 4 568888.
Mr Burke responds:
I have by no means held back from disclosing any information to the bank. The sales agent from Dubai First had filled out the application and had taken my bank statements wherein all my monthly outgoings are evidenced (liabilities).
I completely disagree and take offence to Dubai First comments that I failed to declare my financial commitments. Further during the verification process, prior to the card being approved, I had confirmed my liabilities with the credit verification agent of Dubai First.
Ironically the sales agent had collected the security cheque from my office on November 30, 2011, supposedly post the credit approval and limit assignment. Then why did Dubai First accept a cheque with 200 per cent of the limit approved and made no attempt to contact or ask me to replace the cheque with the approved limit as per the Central Bank norms? At that point I would have been better informed to decide on whether to avail of the facility or not.
My argument is why I was asked to provide a security cheque for 200 per cent of the limit approved, when the UAE Central Bank has clearly stipulated that the bank/financial institution can obtain a security cheque for a maximum of 120 per cent of the assigned limit/credit facility?
My request to Dubai First still remains the same that I must be issued the "Security Annulment Letter" immediately in view of the fact that I have not activated their credit card. I was wrongly asked to give a security cheque for an amount that is much higher than the credit limit approved.
I would like to thank Gulf News for their intervention and usual support in serving the community.
Dubai First responds:
Following our previous official letter dated February 8, 2012, which detailed the findings of our investigation, and in our constant drive towards upholding our credit risk and security standards, Dubai First will provide the customer with a Security Cheque Annulment Letter 35 days post credit card cancellation. The customer can officially request for a Security Cheque Annulment Letter by filling in the form.
Mr Burke responds:
Many thanks for Gulf News' help and intervention in this matter. I will take this matter forward with the relevant authorities as justice has not been done. Thank you again for your assistance and goodwill to the community at large for taking up such issues.
I have an e-Vision account, which included a pay-to-watch movie channel called e-View. The e-View channel has been discontinued by e-Vision and the credit that was in my e-View account is not being refunded or adjusted to my e-Vision account as per their statement: "Thank you for your e-mail. Kindly be informed that e-View movies is discontinued from the e-Vision platform... balance of the e-View token cannot be refunded or adjusted against bills."
As a customer, I have paid for a service that has been discontinued and I am told that the money I paid cannot be refunded/adjusted. Is there a way Gulf News can help in this matter?
Mr Tanveer Al Hassan
The management of etisalat responds:
Kindly be informed that Mr Tanveer Al Hassan's issue has been resolved and Dh100 was credited to his e-Vision account.
I am holding a Barclays bank credit card, for which they sent me a debit interest charge of Dh760.33 for January. After calculating, it's come to 12 per cent of my total outstanding amount. I sent a mail and got a reply to contact the customer care centre, which I did.
I registered a complaint. They replied after three days that the request has been declined and that they have neither calculations nor any idea on how the figure was derived. I sent several mails and made phone calls but with no results.
The next due date came, and I was bound to pay the minimum due to avoid any further charges for February.
From Mr Mohan Agarwal
Mr Agarwal updates:
Thanks for Gulf News' immediate action. Barclays executive called me and we discussed the dispute. Sorry to say but I did not get any clear calculation for the debit charges for January, and instead they stated that their system has some errors.
My February statement needs to be rectified, when they have already raised the statement for payment.
It's become a serious issue — if their billing system is not proper that means they are billing clients wrongly.
A Barclays spokesperson responds:
This case is resolved and the customer is satisfied.
In this case, the credit card payment fell short of the minimum amount. Upon Gulf News' email, we have reached out to the customer and highlighted that there is no manual intervention in the calculation of the debit interest. This process is purely system automated and correct.
Also, we have educated the customer that in order to avoid debit interest he needs to ensure that he makes full payments. The customer confirmed that he is ready to close the complaint and is okay with the debit interest charge levied on his account.
I have two HSBC credit cards. On my Master card, the outstanding payment was Dh19,166 as of January 31, 2012, which was my due date. As I was waiting for some money from my home country to pay the credit cards and my salary was delayed till February 6, 2012, I was not able to pay and they added Dh150 as a late payment fee.
On February 4, 2012, I paid Dh19,317 through UAE Exchange and it was received by the bank and reflected in the statement dated February 5, 2012. Even after receiving the entire amount, the bank levied Finance Charges of Dh537.47. I called the customer service centre and requested to waive the amount. But they only reversed Dh150, which was paid towards the late payment charges.
I request Gulf News to help me get the finance charge of Dh387.47 waived. If the bank still requires me to pay this amount, I will be forced to close all my dealings with this bank.
From Ms Shinymol Mohammad Bathisha
Mr Ahmad Othman, Manager Corporate Communications, HSBC, responds:
We would like to thank Gulf News for bringing this matter to our attention. Please note that we have contacted Ms Bathisha and a solution has been reached to her satisfaction.
Ms Bathisha responds:
I lost hope on getting the amount reversed and already made the payment to avoid further charges. Later, I received a message and a call from HSBC mentioning that the amount is reversed.
I thank Gulf News for its extraordinary efforts to help people like us who are in trouble. Also I thank HSBC for understanding the customer's issue and resolving it quickly.
Editor's note: If you have similar consumer complaints and wish to raise them with the newspaper, contact us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org