x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Lost luggage, deceiving taxis and no toilets

Have a problem? Have you been treated unfairly? Keren Bobker is on hand to tackle your issues

On April 6, 2008, I travelled from Karachi to Dubai with Emirates Airline. My baggage was lost and has never been recovered. It contained expensive medications, as well as a camera, watch, clothes and documents. I lodged a report with the airline customer service department about the matter, but officials declined to offer what I felt was appropriate assistance or take any responsibility over the matter. The senior claims officer told me that the airline is not responsible, and I do not know what to do about it. ? SMHS, Dubai I spoke to Mr S and he said he had been offered the sum of Dh2,000 (US$545) in compensation from the airline, but was not happy with this. At check-in in Karachi, he was carrying medications worth Dh35,000. The medicines were mostly in liquid form, so they weighed quite a bit, and Mr S was told that he could not take them into the cabin, and had to check them in with the rest of his luggage. This is a difficult case, and I would advise passengers to not check in valuable items, as airlines do not take responsibility for expensive items. Mr S did not have any form of private travel insurance and Emirates has, so far, stated that it intends to abide by its standard claims policy. The matter is still under investigation and I will report on the resolution as the case progresses. We went to Daman's Mussafah branch to take out an insurance policy, but had to wait a very long time in a queue. There were many people waiting and after a period of time many needed to use the toilet. The staff at Daman told us that there were no facilities for visitors and that we should go to a nearby mosque instead. According to the branch manager, no government offices in Abu Dhabi have facilities for the public. ? MAM, Abu Dhabi After several telephone calls to Daman, I spoke to the marketing department. The company has confirmed that there are toilet facilities in all of its branches. The Mussafah branch, however, has limited bathroom space, so when the branch is busy, staff have been advised to restrict usage to Daman customers only. Apparently, in all of its branches, Daman has a problem with people wandering in off the street to use the bathrooms, which means they are frequently unavailable for actual customers. Daman officials told me that if a customer was told to use alternative facilities it was because the ones in the building were occupied; the company apologised for the inconvenience. According to the officials, all government offices have a bathroom for customer use. I would like to highlight my horrible experience with the Index Group's document attestation service. In my opinion it is worse than the worst. I submitted my marriage certificate for attestation on Aug 30, and was told it would take 20 days. I called the company on Oct 13 and was informed that my documentation was at Index's Mumbai office waiting for a courier service to pick it up for delivery to the UAE. I called again on Oct 15 and was told it had arrived in Dubai. I had to phone another number to arrange delivery, and when I did I was informed that they didn't know whether or not the document had been attested yet, and they did not even know if it was in Mumbai or Dubai. ? VVA, Dubai When I spoke to this correspondent, I discovered that the situation had worsened. Index had since advised him that his marriage certificate has been lost. As he was only married in August this year, clearly this has caused a great deal of distress. VVA has been endeavouring to obtain a residency visa for his wife and this is being delayed. I have contacted Index on behalf of the correspondent and they have advised that they are still reviewing this matter. I hope to report on a satisfactory outcome in a future column. I am sick and tired of empty taxis not picking me up or having their "available" light on when their back seat is full. It's bad enough that finding a taxi can at times be impossible. Do they need to taunt us as well? ? JT, Abu Dhabi We have received a great deal of post about problems with taxis, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The main issues regard taxis that are clearly free but fail to stop when hailed, and ones that have been booked either arriving very late or not at all. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai, which oversees all taxi services, has confirmed that all drivers are obliged to stop to pick up passengers if they are free and to take them to wherever they require, no matter how short the journey. The driver is not supposed to decline a fare if he does not want to go to a particular place, or if he would rather take another fare. If a driver refuses to take you, make a note of his licence number, the date, time and place of the incident and contact the RTA on 800 9090 to make a complaint. It will investigate and take action against the driver. The same type of system is in operation in Abu Dhabi, but in this instance you should contact Trans AD on 600 535353. The RTA has a computerised booking system and claims that any delays in taxis turning up are because of traffic delays. Have a problem? Have you been treated unfairly? If so, email Keren Bobker with your story at onyourside@thenational.ae. Ms Bobker is an IFA at Holborn Assets LLC in Dubai.