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Readers’ issues raised

Unwarranted fees

I request the intervention of Gulf News in resolving a long-pending issue that I am facing with Emirates NBD. My company opened a zero-balance account with Emirates NBD to transfer my salary and all we received was an ATM card with a welcome note from Emirates NBD. The transactions were smooth, until one day I received a deduction of Dh225 from my account.

I called up the customer service and queried what the deduction was for and they replied that my company had transferred less money than my actual salary amount into my bank account. I told them that it was bound to happen if there are any deductions in the salary and mentioned that it is a salary account with zero balance.

The customer service agent told me that while transferring the salary, if it is less than the actual salary then I would be charged a fee and that this was conveyed to me while I was opening the account and that I had accepted this term. I informed the customer service agent that I had never agreed to any terms and that I needed to see proof of this. At the same time, I enquired with my company’s accounts department if they had signed any agreement with the bank on our behalf, as I had not signed any papers while opening the account. I received confirmation from our accounts department that nothing was signed on behalf of the staff.

I called the bank again and submitted a written request to credit the amount that was debited in the month of May 2011. The customer service agent told me that I had signed documents to this effect and that these charges could not be waived. I challenged the agent by saying that I had never signed anything and, if so, I needed to see the proof. The customer service agent told me to go to a branch office to verify the documents. I visited the branch and asked them to provide the proof.

Alas, the officer in charge could not even explain to me what the charges were and there weren’t any documents with them to produce as proof of agreement on the deductions. All they told me was that there would not be any charges going forward if my salary credited was less than my actual salary amount.

This is a bitter experience and I am still not able to understand why these deductions were made. Now, all I want is my money back, which was taken by the bank for no reason. At this juncture I also wish to make a note that there was no intimation in any month informing me of these charges and at a stretch the bank deducted charges for three months. It is also alarming that there was no SMS informing me about the deductions, as I found out only through the statement.

From Mr Elvis Francis Dias

The management of Emirates NBD responds:

With reference to the above complaint, we are pleased to inform Gulf News that the department concerned contacted Mr Dias and resolved his complaint.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Gulf News and the customer for providing us with feedback and we regret the inconvenience caused.

Thank you Gulf News for your continuous support and valued efforts.

Mr Dias responds:

I would like to thank Gulf News for taking up my issue with the bank.
I have received an SMS from the bank stating that my money would be refunded.

Cash-back expiry

For using the credit and debit cards issued by RAK Bank I am supposed to get a certain percentage of ‘cash back’ against the spending. For this cash back, they have set up some kind of expiry date, which I couldn’t and don’t understand.

These are not points or gifts to redeem with a vendor, depending on your wish or requirement. My understanding is that the cash back is an appreciation or reward from the bank for using their cards, just like other banks that have a point system to redeem them.

If the bank wants to keep the cash-back amount for a certain time then it has to be automatically moved to the card holder’s account, rather than taking it out and saying it has expired.

In my case I had not noticed the expiry date on the cash back and when I found out about it, I contacted their branch. The bank then contacted me through telebanking and informed me that they did not consider my request. Afterwards, I sent a mail to the bank and several reminders, but have received no response yet.

I would appreciate it if Gulf News could take up this issue with the bank and get favourable action by redeeming the cash back to my account.

From Mr Sekharan Venugopalan

Mr Ian Hodges, Head of Personal Banking, RAK Bank, responds:

We refer to Gulf News’ email of October 31, 2011 on the subject. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to explain our stance on the queries raised by Mr Venugopalan, RAK Bank customer, before deciding whether to proceed with publication.

Please note that cash back accrued on the customer’s account expires if not redeemed within 24 months. Details of the validity of cash back are available in the RAK Bank Debit Card Guide made available to customers at the time of availing the card.

The customer was in touch with our Phone Banking Unit in September 2011, and was informed about the reason for expiry of his cash back. Since receipt of Gulf News’ email, we have contacted the customer and explained the above mentioned details again.

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