Post holidays, UAE customers complain of threatening calls from banks

Olivier U, returned to Dubai refreshed after a holiday, but as he set foot into his house, he started getting unpleasant calls and messages on his phone from his bank because of late credit card payment.

“I am six days late for a credit card payment of Dh2,500 from my bank [name of the bank withheld] as I just got back from my holidays. I get numerous threatening calls and messages. I am a loyal customer who always pays on time [and I believe] these calls and messages policy on late payment is a bit too much. This is ridiculous and the Central Bank of the UAE should definitely send a warning to all the banks in the UAE for such practices,” a frustrated reader wrote to Emirates 24|7.

Echoing the same sentiment, a Dubai resident spoke of receiving similar calls from her bank. “I activated my new credit card but never used it as I went on holiday. When I came back I got a threatening call from my bank asking me to immediately pay up Dh200. I was quite surprised as I’d never used it. The charges were apparently for a statement posted to me. The normal fees for the statement was Dh5 but they slapped a fine of Dh199 as I’d not paid that,” she said.

It was earlier reported by this website that some of these calls and messages are automated and are sent out to anyone who has delayed payment, irrespective of the amount and the period of delay.

Even customers with good credit histories and small amounts of repayment obligations are intimidated by regular calls, short message services (SMS) and phone calls automatically generated by the banks’ software systems.

But harassment by credit card collections staff can be reported. There are consumer rights laws in place that protects consumers from unfair business practices.

Consumers can lodge a complaint with the Central Bank. “Central Bank of the UAE is a regulatory authority over banks, exchange houses, finance and investment companies. If there is a complaint regarding any of the above mentioned institutions operating in the UAE, we will be able to assist you. If the complaint is in the court of law, the Central Bank will not be able to help,” reads the website.

“Before filing a complaint with the Central Bank, every effort should be made in order to settle the matter directly with the concerned bank or financial institution. The Central Bank will officially notify the complainant of the result of its investigation, however the Central Bank may not have the authority to resolve all types of complaints,” it adds further.

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