x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Premiums issue and dealing with sudden guests

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

I made an application to InterGlobal for medical insurance in February, through a Dubai-based adviser, based on quotes that they had given to me. But a week after I sent in the paperwork the broker came back to me advising that the premium would be more than on the original quotes. Surely a company cannot just change the figure like that, or was I deliberately misled so they could get more money out of me? SM Dubai SM has sent me copies of all the paperwork that was given to him, and it transpired that the original quotations were provided in Oct 2008, but he did not submit the application until some four months later. All such quotations are valid for a limited period only, and InterGlobal is no exception. Most medical insurance providers review their rates at the end of each calendar year, and the difference in premium is that between the 2008 and 2009 rates.

SM has not been overcharged, but it does show that it is worth following up matters promptly or asking if quotes are still valid if no action has been taken for a few months. I would like to know if my driving licence from Brazil is valid in Dubai or not? I am new here. Thanks for your help. LCG Dubai To be eligible to transfer your existing driving license, without having to take a driving test or going to a driving school, you must have a valid license from a list of specific countries. Brazil is not on this list, so you will have to take lessons as well as pass both a theory and practical test before being granted a licence. For other readers with Dubai visas, licences from the following countries can be converted to a Dubai licence: all GCC countries, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and US. Certain licences must be officially translated into Arabic before they are accepted.

You have to be a citizen of the country with current resident status in UAE, but the list of acceptable countries varies between emirates, so readers should check, as, for example, several of the foreign licences accepted in Dubai are not on the list for Abu Dhabi. Remember that the test fee is Dh100, and to change from foreign licence is Dh100, plus the Dh25 eye test. We will be moving out of our villa in a few weeks' time, but it seems our landlord has been sending people around to view it already. Several people have shown up out of the blue and, even worse, they have walked right in without even bothering to knock. Surely this is not legal. Is the landlord required to advise us or ask our permission before sending someone around to view the property?

BH Dubai You do not have to show the villa, and the landlord has to make an appointment with you to show it, and then only if you agree. Most of us would generally be happy to show our homes to prospective new tenants, but only with prior arrangement. Anyone who walks in without knocking is not only extremely rude, but also trespassing, which is a criminal offence. I suggest you contact your landlord to point this out and tell him you are able to show people round, but only by prior appointment. I also suggest you keep your doors locked.

Security at Dubai airport differs depending on whether one travels from Terminal 1 or 3. If leaving from Terminal one, passengers must place all luggage through security before checking in, while this is not required at Terminal 3. Surely the security systems at the two terminals should be the same. I have tried to contact airport officials about this difference, but am unable to contact anyone with the authority to answer my question. Could you please try to contact the airport for an explanation? Thank you.

SH Dubai I contacted Dubai International Airport regarding the reader's query and a spokesperson commented as follows: "Baggage security screening in the Departures Hall of Emirates Terminal 3 at Dubai International is now undertaken automatically after the baggage has been checked in, prior to loading. The new state-of-the-art equipment greatly improves security while enhancing traffic flow through the terminal. We are working to implement the internationally-recognised system at Terminal 1 in the near future."

Nothing in life is free In last week's column we printed a letter from an Etisalat customer who had not received a full service upgrade for more than two months. The upgrade finally took place after our intervention, but he was not compensated for any delays. After we went to press Etisalat responded to say "the customer subscribed for an internet package and got it upgraded to 512kbps. The internet and his e-mail account has been working fine all along, however, he had an issue with his e-mail quota upgradation, which is a complimentary service included in the internet package and not charged for by Etisalat. Hence, Etisalat will not be able to make any refund to the customer, since the service was already free."

While I understand their comments, the customer was still disadvantaged, that being the pending underlying issue in this case. Parcels lost in space In the On Your Side column published on Feb 28, we printed a letter from a reader who has been trying to track down parcels that are believed to have been with Dubai Customs for more than two months. So far I have e-mailed Dubai Customs six times and telephoned them more than 10 times, without any satisfactory response. Surely there must be someone working there who can let us know why there are such delays in their system?

Have a problem? If so, e-mail Keren Bobker at onyourside@thenational.ae Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. She can be reached at keren@ holbornassets.com