x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Bad luck bank cards, blinds and a problem solved

Mr K has issues with his credit cards.

I have a current account with Barclays Dubai that I opened in Sept 2007. I have contacted the bank's call centre on numerous occasions and have even been given written feedback by hand at its Emaar Business Park Branch (before they moved), but have failed to get a working ATM card. The call centre has issued me four ATM cards so far, all with their own unique Personal Identification Numbers, but none of them have worked and I have nearly given up. I would be most grateful if you could kindly help me out. - JK Dubai Mr K has now requested a fifth card from Barclays, which should be with him shortly. The bank has assured us that the new card will work and that he has been very unlucky, so our fingers are crossed. If there are any problems with his new card I will investigate further. On Aug 30 we visited the showroom of Avenue Blinds in Dubai and arranged for them to come to our home to measure our windows. At their request we paid a deposit of Dh5,000 by Visa. A few days later they came to the house with various samples, but my wife made it very clear that she did not like any of the colours and thus did not make a selection. She was given a handwritten quote and told the representative that she would talk it over with me before making a final decision.

We never provided any authorisation to make an order. We never signed any order sheet or purchase order. We never signed off on any quote. We then began to receive phone calls telling us "the blinds have arrived, when would you like us to install them?" Although we have made multiple phone calls and sent e-mails, Avenue Blinds has refused to give us a refund and insisted that we had placed an order and that this order was in their warehouse. How they ever would have known what colour we would have ordered was beyond me, as we never even confirmed a colour and style.

- JPB Dubai I spoke to the manager of Avenue Blinds and the company claims that Mr & Mrs B did place a firm order and thus they went ahead and made the blinds. They claim that they are owed a further Dh25,000 and that they will be taking legal action to recover this. Avenue Blinds are adamant that they have had written confirmation from the the customer, and although I offered to mediate in order to try to resolve the situation to everyone's satisfaction, this offer has been refused by the company. As Mr B states that he has not given any written, or indeed verbal, confirmation to proceed and Avenue Blinds say they have written evidence that he did, I asked for evidence of this, following Mr B's permission, but the company would not let me see a copy. Mr B admits that he was somewhat naive in paying a deposit before making a final decision, but has moved to the UAE relatively recently from a place where this is fairly standard practice. He is adamant that he is in the right and so is unconcerned about the threat of legal action when he says there is no evidence to back up the other party's claim. At this stage there is nothing more than we can do, but will report on the eventual outcome at a later date.

I would like to highlight the bad experience I have had with FedEx. On Nov 8 a parcel was sent to me from India but has still not arrived. It seems to have been lost, but FedEx cannot provide any confirmation, although I have chased them many times. I have sent in a claim form and that has not prompted a response, either. I have found them very unhelpful and would like your assistance to sort this out.

-MT Dubai I contacted FedEx a number of times and am pleased to report that although Mr T's package has not been recovered, the company has paid him a suitable amount of money by way of compensation and he is satisfied with this. All companies, and people, make mistakes, but it is how they deal with them that matters, and in this case there has been a happy resolution. I am writing to you to enquire if you can investigate whether Etisalat will be offering a discount or a partial refund on their broadband/Al Shamal service, as for the last few weeks it has not been fully operational. As you are no doubt aware, this is apparently because of damage to an undersea cable somewhere between Alexandria and Italy. Etisalat claims that these problems have been temporarily fixed, but this is still not the case for data transfer or secure network links such as VPNs, or for internet banking.

Etisalat initially reported that this problem would be completely fixed by Dec 27, but today, Dec 29, I read that it will now be completed on Jan 4. How long do we have to pay for a service that is not functioning properly? It is especially annoying, given the fact that a disruption happened earlier this year and we are already paying more on average for this service compared to the cost of a similar service internationally. For example, Singapore, Europe and North America are all much cheaper than Etisalat when it comes to broadband supply. - SC Dubai Having had no response to e-mails and telephone calls from Etisalat's press department, I eventually tracked down their PR Agency. Most of their staff are on annual leave and so although willing to assist they were unable to provide a response before we went to press. I will continue to investigate this issue and report on it in a future issue.

>Have a problem? If so, e-mail Keren Bobker at onyourside@thenational.ae. Ms Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai.