x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Your credit card bill, home schooling and background checks

I will shortly be taking up a new job offer and have been told that I need to organise a background check with Dubai Police, but I have absolutely no idea where to start. Can you help?

I have a credit card with Barclays Bank. I took my annual holiday last year, from September 28 through November 29, and managed to miss nearly three payments on my card. When I returned, I decided to contact the bank to make a settlement. At first, the bank helped me, but I received some nasty and very unpleasant words from them. The first man asked me to pay Dh300 and promised me that he would restructure my account. I made the requested payment in December and followed up with him. He told me not to worry because everything would be fine. I heard nothing until January, when someone else called me saying that he would now be the one handling my account. He asked me to pay an additional Dh500 and give him documents for the restructuring, but even after doing this I didn't receive updates. In February somebody from Barclays called me and asked me to pay the entire amount, or the bank would file a police report. They even sent someone to my office to collect the money. I told this person that the bank could approach me after I finished work because my boss did not allow us to see visitors during office hours. I asked them to tell me what happened to my application for restructuring my balance and was told that it was declined because my salary is too low. Please tell me what to do. SC Sharjah

The issue was referred to Barclays, who said it duly investigated the matter. A spokesperson commented as follows: "Thank you for bringing to our attention the email from SC and for giving us the opportunity to respond to the concerns raised by her. Barclays places great importance on customer service, ensuring that all our customers are treated fairly. Owing to customer confidentiality, which all our customers expect when dealing with us, we cannot comment on specific customer details, but will ensure at all times that our employees uphold the Barclays Customer Code of Conduct and treat all customers with the respect that they deserve." I am aware that Barclays has had difficulty in contacting SC, as I also did when seeking clarification on the issue. Barclays, in accordance with the practice of most banks in the UAE, records all telephone conversations, and upon reviewing the tapes had no record of any unpleasant calls. I understand that the previous visit to SC's workplace was to discuss the outstanding debt, as the bank was having problems making contact. Further visits are likely to be scheduled in order to find a solution for all parties. The fact is that SC defaulted on her credit card payments, so the bank has the right to request payment. Barclays says it wishes to do so on an amicable basis.

I will shortly be taking up a new job offer and have been told that I need to organise a background check with Dubai Police, but I have absolutely no idea where to start. Can you help? Dubai These checks are often required and are essentially a "Good Conduct Certification Request". These can be obtained relatively easily at major police stations. These usually have to be translated into Arabic, but on a quiet day you may be lucky enough to find a police officer who will do this for you. Otherwise there is a small typing charge, usually around Dh25. Bring your passport. Two passport photographs are required, along with a fee of Dh35. This can be paid by bank draft payable to "Dubai Police HQ" or in cash, and a receipt will be issued. You will then usually wait for between three and seven days before the check is complete and a certificate is available for collection. More information can be found on the Dubai Police website: www.dubaipolice.gov.ae. You will have had to be a UAE resident for at least six months for a certificate to be issued.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write her at keren@holbornassets.com Letters can also be sent to onyourside@thenational.ae