x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

I've lost my Abu Dhabi driving licence - will I be in trouble?

Have a problem? Been treated unfairly? Our consumer advocate is on the case for you.

I appear to have lost my driving licence, but have no idea how to go about getting another one. Am I likely to be in trouble for having lost it? Is there a fine or charge? I would really appreciate your advice. GS Abu Dhabi Provided that you organise a replacement, there are no real consequences to losing your driving licence. In order to obtain a replacement you have to visit the Traffic & Licensing Department on Al Saada Street to request a temporary card. For this you need to provide both your original passport (including your visa) and a copy, a no objection letter from your employer (expatriates only), a recent passport-sized photograph and Dh100. If the original licence has not been found by the time the temporary card expires, you will need to apply for a duplicate of the original at a cost of Dh300.

I have recently paid off my car loan with HSBC. They have now asked me to pay Dh125, or they will not issue me a letter confirming that the loan has been repaid in full. They tell me that without this letter I cannot get the RTA to remove the note against my car registration, thereby preventing me from selling my car if I so choose. Do I need the letter and if so, does HSBC have a right to charge me for the letter? I have discharged my obligation in full. Why must I pay to get them to confirm this? WS Abu Dhabi You will require this document if you wish to sell your car, as you must demonstrate that there are no outstanding debts. I raised this query with HSBC and they responded: "Once our customer settles his automobile loan with us, he is asked to pay Dh100 for the clearance letter and Dh20 for courier charges, which amounts a total of Dh120. "Although this specific charge is not mentioned, the customer does agree to pay all fees and charges in the standard agreement and the charge is set out in MEFCO's standard tariff. MEFCO's policy is to advise customers of these charges when they take out the loan. It is standard practice to charge for mortgage release letters." MEFCO is HSBC Middle East Finance Company Limited, the division that deals with personal loans. While the rules have been adhered to, it seems to me that it would have been fairer for these charges to be written clearly in the loan agreement, so that there would be no confusion. It may be policy to "advise" about charges when loans are set up, but if the amounts are not put in writing there is no evidence that the customer was told and not everyone will remember a conversation several years later at the end of the loan term. Increased clarity would certainly have helped both sides in this situation. 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