x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Bank client gets Dh155,00 credit card debt collection shock

An Emirates NBD client gets the shock of his life with a Dh155,00 credit card debt collection charged to his salary account.

About four years ago my father, then resident in Dubai, applied for a supplementary credit card with Emirates NBD with a Dh40,000 limit for me to use in case of emergencies as I was working in Europe. This was all done through my father in Dubai. At no stage did I sign an application form. Two years later I moved to Dubai and also became a customer of ENBD with a salaried account. About a year ago my father was made redundant and we agreed to cancel my supplementary card as I was financially independent. He used ENBD online banking to cancel it. Then on October 6, I received a text message from the bank. A total of Dh155,000 had been deducted from my account for “credit card recovery”. The Dh20,000 in my account was gone and I now have a negative balance of Dh135,000. I was shocked and called my father at his home in Australia and he informed me he had missed two months’ payments, but he had been in contact via email with the bank’s debt collection department, which had suggested he pay the credit card debt over 36 months. He agreed to do so, starting on October 28. He was also shocked and surprised. The following morning we both called the debt collection department several times and were promised a call back that never came. It took an email to the chief executive to get them to call my father. I then received a call from the person in charge of the investigation who informed me that my supplementary card had not been cancelled, but that it was reported lost and that as a supplementary card holder I am liable for the full amount. So I am now liable for a card that I did not apply for and cannot cancel (with an original credit limit of Dh40,000). And my account is now minus Dh135,000 – with no warning, no bills sent and no information. ENBD has said if my father pays the full amount, they will reconsider this. I am not sure how they expect me to even buy food. MW Dubai

This is clearly a very worrying and stressful situation and I ensured it was put in front of my contacts at Emirates NBD as a matter of urgency. The situation was reviewed quickly and within a few days had been largely resolved. The manager of Emirates NDB group corporate affairs stated, “We wish to confirm that the bank has released the hold placed on Mr W’s account towards the primary credit card overdue outstanding payments and the debited amount has been reversed back to his account. Further, we wish to confirm that his supplementary credit card has been cancelled as requested.” Despite the prompt action, it is worrying that this happened at all and the bank has lost a customer.

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