x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Loan confusion proves the need to read the small print

Why it's best to read the small print before taking a bank loan, using an ATM abroad and how to transfer unused Salik tolls.

I have a personal loan with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) and want to repay it. If the four-year term of a personal loan in an Islamic bank is to be settled six months after I started paying monthly dues, is it right that I have to pay the full four-year interest aside from the principal loan amount? This seems excessive.

GD Dubai

GD did not have a copy of his original loan agreement. The terms he accepted by signing the contract are the ones that will apply. When I contacted ADIB, it said: "The issue will be settled as per contract, which states that if the pay back is made in cash or via cheque from another Islamic bank then the customer is eligible for a refund of profit. If it is made via any other means, then there will be no refund." GD has now settled the loan account, but I understand that it was not in a way that meant he would receive a refund of profit. This demonstrates the importance of reading all contracts thoroughly before signing and keeping a copy in a safe place for future reference.

 

I am in Kenya with my family and last Wednesday, my ATM card stopped working. I have a credit card, but these are accepted in few places as Kenya is mainly a cash culture. I contacted HSBC immediately, but for three days I got various excuses, including questioning the account balance and my ability to use an ATM card. On Friday, I spoke to the call centre again. This time, they said they would look into it and call me back, although no one did. Finally, on Sunday, someone at the call centre said they were having issues with accepting withdrawals for external sources outside of the UAE, but when pushed there was no commitment on how long it would take to fix. Eventually, they said it would take two working days.I finally got a call on Tuesday afternoon advising me that they thought it was the card and the bank would arrange for a new one. We agreed that I would e-mail the details. My e-mail finally went through and I have left a couple of messages asking for confirmation, but again nothing since yesterday. Basically, all of our finances are driven from my UAE account. But without access to cash, and with two toddlers in tow, we are getting worried. A week has already passed and, bearing in mind it will take a week or so for the new card to get to Kenya, I do need to know that something is happening.

JC Dubai

I contacted HSBC and it advised: "We have reviewed the issues raised. JC's debit cards and pin [numbers] were sent for delivery to his address in Dubai instead of Kenya due to an inadvertent oversight from our end. Please be advised that we are in contact with JC, who has now received the cards and pins through his office in Dubai and we have offered to refund any charges borne by him to arrange for them to be delivered. He is satisfied with the response. Thank you once again for bringing this matter to our attention and we assure you that we take customers' feedback seriously and investigate all issues thoroughly to ensure a fair outcome to all our customers." This has caused a great deal of stress for JC and his family. It is fortunate that they managed to find an alternative source of cash, but JC is not happy with the service from HSBC and the numerous problems he has had to contend with and is considering closing his account.

 

I have just agreed to the sale of my car and need to do something about my Salik. I can't see anything on the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority's (RTA) website, so do I just remove the sticker or contact them? Can I get a refund of the outstanding balance, which is more than Dh100?

GA Dubai

You start by telephoning the RTA (800 72545) and asking for the account to be deactivated because you have just sold the vehicle. Alternatively, you can send an e-mail to customerservice@salik.ae. You will be asked to e-mail a scanned copy of your UAE driving licence and the cancellation will be logged. You should also remove the tag from the windscreen. If your account is in credit you cannot get a refund, under any circumstances. If you purchase a new vehicle in your name, the balance should be transferred. Once you have bought a new vehicle, you apply for a new tag in the usual way, but will need to contact Salik to ask for the unused balance to be transferred to the account.

 

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at keren@holbornassets.com with queries for this column or for advice on any other financial planning matter.

 

Letters can also be sent to onyourside@thenational.ae