Beware of dodgy multi-tasking maintenance firms in UAE

The maintenance company can fix your AC, water pipe, gas leak and even do pest control. How professional are these companies?

There is no lack of maintenance companies in the UAE. They promote themselves on the net, in classifieds and sweep flyers under your doorstep. Most of these companies offer all the services you can imagine; starting with simple-everyday carpentry jobs to specialised pest control.

Although there are highly-qualified companies out there offering professional services the market also offers the dodgy handyman; the worker who will accept any request but who knows very little.

“When our AC broke down last summer, we happened to have a leaflet of a maintenance company that was delivered under our doorstep some days earlier. They offered the best rate and were able to come the next day. It was a very big mistake,” tells MH Kapoor, a villa resident in Dubai.

The maintenance guys who came to Kapoor’s house the next day first asked for a payment in advance, in order to buy the tools needed for the repair work. He took off with the money and came in the evening. “I tried to call him during the day, but he did not answer my call. When he came, he said he had gone to Ajman for the tools, because they were not available in Dubai.”

Because MH Kapoor had already paid, he decided to continue with them. “It took them three days to fix the problem. A month later the AC broke down again. Although a warranty was provided, my repeated phone calls to the company remained unanswered.”

The affordable prices and availability of any kind of service could persuade a lot of people into opting for the unknown handyman. On a random day the popular classifieds website Dubizzle contained 965 ads of general maintenance companies.

'Emirates24|7' contacted a couple of them. “We do not yet have a trade licence, so we do not offer our services at this point,” told a man answering the phone of a nameless maintenance services provider. In the ad 32 services were offered such as carpentry works, AC split fixing, and home maintenance services.

“Our staff comprises skilled workers. They are required to be trained in the field. There are different specializations, but they all have more than one,” explains the man, insisting that at this point staff is not working.

Another nameless company that offers ‘maintenance services’ on Dubizzle picked up the phone, but on realising he was speaking to a reporter, he asked us to call back. After that he did not pick up his phone.

“We see it a lot,” says Med Jemni, Sales and Marketing Director of SaniService. “We offer professional AC cleaning services, but often our customers tell that the work previously done by a maintenance company.

“The cleaning of an AC is highly specialized work that cannot be done by anyone. All that is being done by a maintenance company cleaning filters. That does not remove the mold from the AC at all.”

According to Med the maintenance company is often the easy option for people because they offer low-priced services, whereas professional work will cost a little more. “However, most staff are unqualified to provide the service they are offering.”

In addition, many apartment buildings provide for free of charge in-house maintenance services or there is a contract with certain companies. When more professional work needs to be done, it needs to come from the pocket of the tenant.

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