x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Car-rental dispute ends with a refund and three free days

Recently, my wife and I wanted to hire a car for a week. We chose Fast Rent A Car, as the price was the cheapest in town at Dh770.

Recently, my wife and I wanted to hire a car for a week. We chose Fast Rent A Car, as the price was the cheapest in town at Dh770. A sales executive filled out the required paperwork and when we said that we'd prefer to avoid paying by credit card and instead wanted to use cash, he said no problem and took Dh1,000 from us. The car was handed over, but we did not receive a contract for the rental. We returned a week later, on November 4, handed in the keys, the car was inspected and we waited for our change. The member of staff that we dealt with said that there was no evidence that we had paid the Dh1,000. I have not received any answers from the company and it has been implied that I have lied to them. The day after, Dh500 was charged to my credit card by Fast Rent a Car. I am appalled and furious about this issue, which initially was a question of what had happened to my change of Dh230 AED and has now become an issue of the company taking Dh1,500 without my consent. I have been a very satisfied customer of another company for six years with no such issues. Can On Your Side help? DC Sharjah

This matter has taken some investigation and there was little progress until DC found his copy of the initial receipt for the rental. Upon the production of the receipt it became clear that there were errors by the car hire company and they are apologetic and keen to rectify the situation. A Fast Rent A Car spokesman said: "We are sorry to hear Mr C's comments. At Fast Rent A Car we pride ourselves on offering the highest levels of customer service and are pleased to have helped many thousands of satisfied customers over the years. Indeed, this year we became the first car rental agency to receive a Silver award in the service category of the Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Awards scheme. We have established that there was an error with the processing of this contract, which was unfortunately compounded by the customer being unable to provide a copy of his receipt at this stage. We would like to apologise to Mr C for the inconvenience this has caused him and we are happy to offer to refund the full cost of his car hire. As a gesture of goodwill we would also like to offer him hire of a Group E car free of charge for a period of three days". To clarify, DC will receive his Dh1,000 deposit back, the cost of the care hire, around Dh500 and a three-day rental free of cost. He is satisfied with the outcome.

MGB Dubai My husband was hired by his company as an operator, but worked as a trainer for more than a year and was assigned to a 10-hour shift. He received compensation for the two hours of daily overtime.  Because of unkept promises regarding a rise in salary, my husband requested to be assigned to the position for which the company initially hired him, but was then assigned as operator in the cold-store warehouse working a 12-hour shift. When he received his salary a month after his transfer, he was paid the same overtime amount he had received while working the 10-hour shift and was allowed only 30 minutes for a lunch break. He was expecting to be paid at least three hours of overtime each day in the new position. On raising this, he was told that he was expected to work at least nine hours a day, that he took one hour for his lunch break and therefore was entitled to only two hours of paid overtime. Does the company have any right to impose a nine-hour shift since they are not a commercial/retail/hotel establishment or security firm? And since he is taking only 30 minutes for his lunch break, how much overtime must be counted in his 12-hour shift? The company also asks employees to work on some holidays without extra compensation. We want to bring a complaint to the Ministry of Labour, but want to be sure we have a valid case.

According to UAE Labour Law, the maximum working day for an adult is eight hours, or 48 hours a week. If MGB company wants its employees to work nine hours, then they should be appropriately compensated, as the Labour Law takes precedence over individual contracts. Only those persons who hold executive or administrative supervisory positions are expected to work extra hours without additional pay, and I would not expect the role described falls into this category. The Labour Law states that an employee may not work for more than five consecutive hours without a break, although a lunch break does not count as part of the working day. If MGB is indeed working a 10-hour day, then two hours of this should be paid as overtime, at a rate of a minimum of 125 per cent of his standard pay. The law states that overtime should be for no more than two hours per day. A company may request that an employee work on a declared public holiday, although they would be expected to provide time off in lieu. From the information provided it appears that MGB is entitled to additional overtime pay.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at keren@holbornassets.com Letters can also be sent to onyourside@thenational.ae