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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 March 2019

Mistaken Dh175 charge on FAB accounts caused by 'a system issue'

Bank customers said the amount, which was refunded on Monday morning, was deducted on New Year's Eve

First Abu Dhabi Bank on Thursday reported a 10 per cent year-on-year rise in full-year 2018 net profit. Courtesy FAB
First Abu Dhabi Bank on Thursday reported a 10 per cent year-on-year rise in full-year 2018 net profit. Courtesy FAB

A Dh175 charge applied to First Abu Dhabi Bank customer accounts over the New Year was due to a "system issue", the bank told customers on its Facebook page.

The charge labelled “debit interest” on customer statements, which was refunded to many on Monday morning, was deducted from bank accounts on New Year’s Eve.

“We identified that some First Abu Dhabi Bank customers were incorrectly charged interest," a FAB spokesperson said. "The charges will be reversed. We will contact all customers that were affected and regret any inconvenience this may have caused them.”

The financial institution, which has assets in excess of Dh732 billion, closed its doors for four days last year over the National Day weekend to give the bank, formed by the merger of First Gulf Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi in April 2017, time to integrate the two banks’ IT systems.

Customers wanting to make payments such as bills or remittances during the closure had to complete transactions before the start of the shutdown on November 28.

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After the charge was deducted from customer accounts on December 31, many disgruntled customers voiced their concerns on the bank’s Facebook page. One customer wrote: “Can you kindly explain why have you deducted 175 Dhs from my account on 31st Dec?”

Another said: “Please can you let us know when the 175 dirhams will be back in customer’s accounts and why it was taken without any explanation?”

Others complained that they had “unanswered calls” to the customer call centre when they tried to resolve the issue.

Julie Borland, the owner of a small cosmetics business in Ras Al Khaimah, told The National the bank refunded the charge on Monday morning.

“I noticed it on New Year’s day, after someone posted on a forum that a charge for debit interest had been taken from their FAB account,” she said.

“I checked and both my husband and I were charged. My husband then contacted the bank and initially the operator tried to say it was to do with the transactions he had made. But then my husband told him it was a wider issue but the person did not know too much about it.”

Ms Borland said the customer service agent said all customers would have to phone in to have the charges reversed.

“But I didn’t phone in and I received the money back automatically,” she added.

Updated: January 7, 2019 07:29 PM

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