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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 April 2019

Proud to be on your side

The National contributor Keren Bobker this week marks the 300th edition of her column. Here are some of her thoughts marking the column's milestone.

The National contributor Keren Bobker this week marks the 300th edition of her column, On Your Side, in which she has tackled thousands of our reader’s toughest queries about challenges they face in personal finance and beyond.

When I started writing this column nearly six years ago, I never imagined that we’d still be going strong 300 columns later. Three-hundred feels like a milestone, and in that time I have answered more than 1,000 queries in print, solved numerous problems for readers and received thousands of emails.

This column was part of the new Personal Finance section that began in November 2008, a few months after the launch of The National itself. It only took a couple of week before we received the first emails, and they have never stopped.

As the UAE economy ebbs and flows, so do the nature of enquiries. Over the past year the number of queries regarding rental issues has been huge. We have been able to reassure readers that rental laws, in Dubai at least, are there to protect tenants and clarify their rights.

Emails regarding UAE Labour Law are a constant, and these include regular queries on end-of-service gratuities, breaking contracts and everything from maternity leave to retirement ages.

Over the years I have built up contacts with the main banks, which are usually very helpful in solving problems for readers. A few other companies could certainly learn from them. Sadly there have been a few that have ignored all our enquiries and refused to assist.

I was asked what were my “greatest triumphs”, and thinking back it has to be two cases concerning banks. In one, I managed to get someone quickly out of a police station where they had been incorrectly detained for debt; in the other, the threat of a police case was lifted and arrangements were made to pay off a loan over time.

I am very proud of the work we do and endeavour to reply to most of the emails received. I hope the column has helped many readers over the years and am delighted with the feedback we receive. Long may we remain On Your Side.

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Updated: August 8, 2014 04:00 AM

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