x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

How to prevent companies from sending spam texts

Our consumer advocate answers questions on how to stop spam texts, work contracts and helps a reader to reactivate their business account.

I keep receiving unsolicited texts, which are just adverts from companies I have not subscribed to or want to receive. What I'd like to know is how to make them stop as sending replies makes no difference and costs me money each time. I have a post-paid account with Etisalat. How can I get rid of them? - JB Abu Dhabi

I agree that it is frustrating to be sent numerous unwanted texts, but there is a way of opting out. This is what Etisalat says: "If you do not wish to receive SMSs about Etisalat offers and promotions, please send 'b etisalat' to 7726. You can subscribe again to Etisalat promotional SMSs whenever you wish by sending 'u etisalat' to 7726 at any time. Also, we provide you with the same facility to block commercial SMSs from other senders who are using [the] Etisalat network to send their messages within the UAE by the following commands: to stop receiving messages from a certain third party, send 'b sendername' [being the name of the originator of the text] to 7726. To continue receiving from a blocked third party, send 'u sendername' to 7726. To stop receiving messages from all third parties, send "b all" to 7726. To continue receiving messages from third parties send, 'u all' to 7726." My suggestion, despite the time it will take, is to block texts one by one as you will still want the ones from your bank - if you blocked all third parties, these would be included.

 

I have had several accounts, both personal and business, with Emirates NBD (ENBD) for several years. But my business US dollar account has been deactivated by ENBD, although I have told them that I will be using it and it is linked to two other accounts that I use regularly. I need to use it to receive a payment from a customer, but it is not active and payment cannot be sent. I've filled in two forms, presented my passport with residency visa, my trade licence and company stamp. I have had to go to ENBD bank branches several times as each time the bank wants something else. I've complained on their website, on Twitter and responded to their customer service person. I've also had a call from the branch and they were insistent that my account was active, although it turned out she was looking at the wrong account. The bank says it will "assure our best service all the time", but this is not the case. SC Dubai

I referred the matter to ENBD. The matter was swiftly resolved and the account has been reactivated. The bank said: "With reference to the complaint, we are pleased to inform you that our group service quality team has been in touch with SC and has resolved his complaint. We acknowledge the delay in processing his request and have conveyed our apologies to him. Furthermore, necessary measures have been taken to avoid such unpleasant incidents in future. We would like to thank you for providing us with the opportunity to resolve the customer's issue." SC has confirmed that he can finally use his account and that the bank has provided him with a relationship manager.

 

Would it be correct to say that it is legal to reclaim visa costs from an employee who resigns as long as they agree to this term in their contract? Is the length of time restricted to the probation period, or can the contract legally state that if the resource resigns at any time within the two-year visa period, then they must reimburse the company for the cost of the visa? FC Abu Dhabi

The period of time over which the cost of a visa can be reclaimed from an employee is whatever is specified in the contract of employment and agreed to by both parties. It can be longer than the probationary period, but the Ministry of Labour is unlikely to be happy if this was for a very extended period, as the intention of the Labour Law is that the employer should bear such costs.

 

I have benefits attached to my job and I am required to work at least a year to avail them. Due to a family situation, I am thinking of quitting my job early and have close to 30 days remaining to complete one year. My contract says I have to give a 30-day notice period to the employer and complete one year of service. Can you tell me if, per the UAE Labour Law for a free zone, the notice period of 30 days is counted as part of one year of service? Or does it say to wait one year and then give a 30-day notice period? FK Dubai

Your notice period forms part of your total period of service, so should be included in the calculations for all benefits. This also applies if a person does not work the period of notice if, for any reason, their employer does not want them to as they have complied with the law.

 

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

 

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