Who can help when the customer seems to be forgotten?
On Your Side: Communication put on hold at telecom company
Engineers from Etisalat came round to install eLife (a TV, landline telephone and Broadband internet package) one morning, but it worked for just one hour and then stopped. We called 101 and had all the usual responses, ‘turn it off and then on again’, ‘it’s working fine from our side’, ‘it’s not activated we will do it now’, and ‘it is active but we will reset it’. None of this made any difference. Finally they sent an engineer who didn’t arrive until 4pm, said it was their problem but that he couldn’t fix it as the department he needed had gone home and he would come back in the morning at 9am. When he didn’t show up, I called him to be told he would not be coming, didn’t know who would or when, but that he would get someone to call me. I didn’t receive any calls. The Etisalat call centre is now saying they know nothing about the issue, but will get an engineer to call us. This is getting ridiculous as no doubt we will be charged from installation, not the date it actually starts working. Is there anything you can do to help?
The issue was referred to Etisalat and a spokesman said: "Etisalat received a request with regards to an issue faced by a customer after the new installation of eLife service ceased to function correctly. After investigation the issue was identified as a faulty Optical Network Terminal (ONT) - a media converter installed to provide eLife services. The ONT was promptly replaced and the issue was resolved. Etisalat regrets any inconvenience caused by the issue and has contacted the customer following the replacement to confirm the service is functioning correctly." RP told me the problem was finally resolved about four days later, but it was a full week between the installation and the service becoming operational. At one point two Etisalat employees turned up without warning, which is also unacceptable for the customer. RP added: "The general impression is that they will tell you whatever you want to hear to get you off the phone at which point you, as the customer, are instantly forgotten. It is disappointing to put it mildly."
We are due to fly out of the United Kingdom on August 22 to start our new life in Abu Dhabi. I have a two-year-old so want to take our pushchair with us. We are flying with Etihad and wondered if the pushchair would come off our son's 23kg luggage allowance or not? Plus, can we take the pushchair right up to the gate or do we have to check it in with the other luggage? When I called Etihad they said that pushchairs would have to come off our luggage allowance, but when I searched online this didn't always seem to be the case. I don't want to get stung with going over the allowance. I'm also concerned about the pushchair being damaged by being put in the hold. As this will be a long-term move, I'd like to take as much with us as possible without infringing the allowances, so some absolute clarification would put my mind at rest.
I immediately referred the matter to the airline and their formal response was: "Etihad makes every effort to make travelling with young children as simple as possible. Guests must include pushchairs with their other luggage at check in - where the weight of the pushchair will be included in the overall luggage allowance - but are then free to use them up until the aircraft door." This means the pushchair does form part of the child's 23kg personal baggage allowance.
I live in an apartment in Dubai Marina but there is another residential block being built near to where I live. The building works have been going on late into the night, past 11pm on a regular basis and frequently past midnight. Clearly this is very disturbing, but do I have any right to ask the builders to stop or are they even allowed to work throughout the night?
I contacted Dubai Municipality for clarification. Construction work is permitted between the hours of 6am and 8pm only. There are exceptions to this rule if concrete is being poured, something which is permitted 24 hours a day, or if the developer has special permission, but this is usually only granted for government projects on a deadline. If the noise continues, despite the foreman being reminded of the legal working times, then a complaint can be made to Dubai Municipality by telephoning 800 900 and they will investigate the matter further.
I have been with my current employer for a number of years and as they are fairly small there have often been slight delays in our salary being paid if a director is away. But in the last few months this has become a regular occurrence. As several staff have loan payments that go out a few days after we are due to be paid it is causing problems for people as many are left rather short. Some of us have had extra fees from banks and it is very frustrating. I have asked the directors if there are any problems and if they can pay us on time, but I have just been brushed off and told we should be grateful to have a job. What options do we have?
NL Abu Dhabi
The UAE Labour Law is quite clear in stating that employees should be paid on time and this is one of the reasons the Wages Protection System was brought in a while ago. If an employer consistently pays its staff late, then a complaint can be made to the Ministry of Labour via their helpline number 800 665. They have advised me that they will follow up such complaints and that employers can be fined for making late payments.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at email@example.com with queries for this column or for advice on any other financial planning matter.