x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

An HSBC credit card customer receives collection notices from the bank even after clearing the debt. The National's resident consumer advocate Keren Bobker helps resolve the issue.

Some time ago I had a credit card with HSBC and contacted someone at the bank who was recommended to me, as I was told he could help reduce the interest. We subsequently set a time frame for me to settle the balance. I cleared the debt in months. During the time I dealt with this person, I started receiving letters from Al Wasl Legal Dept and then another company. I sent these to my contact at the bank, but didn’t hear back. I even went to the main office to collect a clearance letter, but it had not been prepared. This happened several times. I was due to leave Dubai and was concerned this could be a problem in the future. I have since received emails from the bank’s legal department and a friend who works for HSBC in Lebanon has also tried to help, but she couldn’t trace an account. I then started to get phone messages and emails from my original contact. I am now panicking as it looks as if there is a problem, but I do not have the receipts showing the payments that I made. I don’t know what to do as I hope to return to Dubai, but I’m very afraid that I will be arrested at the airport. I’ve lived in Dubai for 24 years and never ever had anything like this. Can you help me please?

S M, Ireland

I forwarded this to my contacts at HSBC and they acted immediately. It appears that there was some kind of technical issue when accessing S M’s account. This meant that her account was forwarded to the legal department and collection agencies in error. The bank has confirmed that they have not filed any legal case and have advised S M not to worry. They have a clearance letter for her, which is being emailed. A spokeswoman for HSBC advised, “We would like to confirm that we have contacted Ms M and resolved her concerns. Thank you once again for bringing that matter to our attention and we assure you that we take customer feedback seriously and investigate all issues thoroughly to ensure a fair outcome.” S M is delighted that The National was able to intervene and assist with solving the problem on her behalf.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com