x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

The key to your ID cards is patience

Have a problem? Have you been treated unfairly? Your issues will be tackled and complaints will be dealt with

I have just tried to register online for an appointment to receive ID cards for my family. The system has told me there aren't any. What shall I do now? Will the Government recognise the problem and revert to the old date, or will they improve the system? - J M, Abu Dhabi

We have received other letters on the same issue. It appears that applicants have been arriving at ID card offices only to be told that they could not wait in the queue and should return at another time, or make an appointment. A spokesman for the Emirates Identity Authority confirmed that all appointments for this month are fully booked in Abu Dhabi. No appointments can be booked for next month, and the authority plans to operate a walk-in system. Officials did not know how many people were still required to obtain identity cards before the deadline, but have no plans to extend it. I suspect that patience and persistence will be the key to obtaining identity cards, although the Government says it's confident that the system will operate smoothly.

I just wanted to write in to ask if any of your readers had a similar experience to me recently. I went to the Desert Rhythm Festival late last month in Dubai with friends, but what a disappointment. The sound engineers did a terrible job, to the extent that many people's ears - including mine - were ringing due to the poor mix. Worst of all, however, was that by 9.30pm nearly all beverages and most food items had run out. Bearing in mind that the headline act did not come on stage until 10.30pm, you can imagine that people were very cross and very thirsty. It was impossible to get proper information out of anyone and no apology was made to the crowd. It was so bad that many people left before the end, as their evenings had been ruined. They were the smart ones, as the organisers had also failed to organise a supply of taxis. At the end of the festival, the wait for taxis was an hour long. While we are used to poorly organised events, surely it is not beyond the organisers to arrange proper supplies and assist people getting home. I am sure there are many others who share my view, so surely an apology for all festival-goers is in order from CSM (Centre State Management), and perhaps even a refund? - S C, Dubai

Dubai Desert Rhythm took place at Festival City Dubai. This is just one of the many complaints received. One correspondent complained during the concert and was given a contact number for a person at Centre Stage Management (CSM). I have tried this number several times, but it does not appear to be in use. I eventually managed to speak to a member of the company's staff, and after explaining the nature of the numerous complaints, I received an e-mail: "Please note that we had advised our food and beverage supplier to have higher stock levels ahead of the concert. They did not follow our instructions and as a result our clients suffered for a period of time. We accept responsibility for this and apologise for any inconvenience caused," wrote Sipho Dlamini, the vice president of operations. People who were at the venue said they were unable to purchase certain beverages after 9.30pm. There was no apology or explanation given at the time. CSM claimed that it had spoken to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and arranged for taxis to be at the venue at 11.15pm. The concert ended at 11.45pm. I have been unable to speak to anyone at the RTA who can confirm this information. The e-mail from CSM finished: "As a festival promoter and having done events of this nature since 1991, our aim is always to try and deliver the best experience to people that use their money to support our festivals. A large amount of money is spent on the bands' performances, sound, catering, additional festival activities, toilet facilities, security, and the list goes on, but we can never guarantee that everyone will leave the venue with an equal experience." The identical comment has been sent to anyone who contacted the company to make a complaint. For a company that claims to be "one of the best quality event production companies in the Middle East" this is hardly a considered reply, and taking into account that so many people had such a disappointing experience, it's a poor response.

Recovered certificate In a previous column, I was dealing with a complaint from Mr V?V?A of Dubai about the Index Group and his lost marriage certificate. The good news is that the missing certificate was apparently misplaced by the UAE Embassy in Delhi and has now been recovered, although the process took an excessive 66 days from start to finish. Mr V?V?A has now collected his attested certificate and has applied for a visa for his wife. We wish them well in their new life together in Dubai.

Fair compensation In the previous column, I wrote about a complaint by S?M?H?S of Dubai about a package containing medications that was lost by Emirates Airline. At that time he had been offered Dh2,000 in compensation. Emirates advised that they were dealing with the issue in accordance with the terms and conditions of carriage as stated on the ticket. It has now increased its offer to Dh3,000 and Mr S has accepted this.

Have a problem? Have you been treated unfairly? If so, e-mail Keren Bobker with your story at onyourside@thenational.ae Ms Bobker is an independent financial adviser at Holborn Assets in Dubai.