I signed up for a crochet course at Craft Land at Town Centre Mall, Jumeirah. At the first session, I discovered I was the oldest person there by about four decades. There were two teenagers and a bunch of kids about 10 years old. Obviously, I did not want to go to a course aimed at children and feel that the company should have alerted me to this when they took my booking. The price was Dh295 for four lessons. I called this week and explained my predicament and asked for my money back. They have refused, but did offer me an alternative course, but this is not suitable because I am already proficient in sewing. PH, Dubai
Whether PH is eligible for a full refund is a moot point, but clearly the class was not suitable and the store could have offered her a partial refund, or even vouchers against purchases of supplies. I have tried to contact Craft Land on numerous occasions, but e-mails are unanswered and the manager has not returned my calls. According to a staff member I managed to have a short conversation with, the store has no owner and the manager appears never to be there. This is a most unprofessional way to run a business. I understand that PH has tried to speak to the manager herself, but her calls also go unreturned, and they have lost her as a customer.
I work for a company in Abu Dhabi, but because of the high cost of rent and some other issues my family and I live in Dubai. The HR person has told me that because I have chosen to live in Dubai, I will not be offered the company medical insurance scheme because this only applies to Abu Dhabi residents. This doesn't seem at all fair. Can the company do this? HE, Dubai
The law says that anyone who is on an Abu Dhabi visa must be provided with medical insurance by their employer. Where you actually choose to live is irrelevant because it is your visa that dictates residency. You are on an Abu Dhabi visa because that is where your company has its trade licence. The law also states that cover must be provided for the employee's wife and family, including up to three children below the age of 18.
I am getting married in a few months and have just found out that I have to provide the long version of my UK birth certificate before the ceremony. I only have the short one. Is there any way of getting the long certificate in the UAE, or do I have to do this in the UK? EB, Abu Dhabi
I can confirm that the long-form certificate is required and the best way to obtain one is online at www.gro.gov.uk. This is the General Register Office (GRO) and provides birth, marriage, civil partnership, death, adoption and commemorative certificates for England and Wales. You have to register to order, while the name of the relevant party and date of the event are required. For a birth certificate, the fee is £10 (Dh59) for standard delivery. If you have the GRO Index reference from a previous certificate, then they are issued within four working days, otherwise without a reference the dispatch time is 15 working days. Alternatively, you can select priority delivery at a cost of £26 and the certificate will be posted the next day. There is no additional charge for overseas delivery. For deliveries to the UAE, you can expect an additional delivery delay of three to seven days and the Royal Mail International Signed For service is usually used.
I own a business jointly with a partner and we each have a 50 per cent stake. The business was set up in a free zone and has been operating for a number of years. Although relations between us are good, I would like to know what I can do to protect myself should we fall out, want to go our separate ways, or one of us dies. Can you tell me what steps I should take and how I can protect myself? MB, Dubai
As with any relationship, business relationships can fail, so it is important to have written agreements in place in the event of disagreements, separation or death. You and your partner need to agree on the options now and have these written up formally so there can be no dispute at a later date. Generally, should one partner want to leave the business the other gets first choice to buy their shares and you need to ensure that half of your business cannot be sold without your approval. I would also suggest that you consider taking out life insurance on each other's lives, which can be used to "buy out" the inheritor of the shares should your business partner die. This will ensure you do not end up in business with someone who knows nothing about it, has no interest or can become a potential liability. I strongly recommend that you obtain legal advice regarding a partnership agreement to eliminate the risk of possible confusion in the future. If you decide between you how you want matters to be arranged, then it should not be costly to have this drawn up.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at email@example.com with queries for this column or for advice on any other financial planning matter.