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Friday, May 24, 2024   

Negotiation Success in Dubai
by Ria Mendoza
Ria Mendoza is an investigative report for Arabian Woman magazine, which published online and in print.
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Hi Scott,

I never thought I'd be emailing you because sometimes I find that the tips and tricks you send out do not apply to me--it seems more complicated than my actual finances. You see, there are no taxes here in Dubai, no 401k-funds either, but I enjoy reading your money tips and tricks and how-to’s on dealing with banks.

Anyway, there's one tip that stuck with me, which I read when I was new to your site/column. It's to contact your bank to request that they reverse charges, give you leeway on payments, or whatever your situation requires.

Well, I do that all the time now, in case I can actually penetrate their defenses and have my complaints or requests heard. And, I am so pleased this month because one of the local banks actually granted my request! First off, they were not at fault, I was. I regularly pay my credit card on the first week of the month, so it would fall any day from the 1st to the 7th of the month. But about two months ago, I got my salary early and paid off my card, loans, rent and what-have-you as soon as I got the money, not noticing that I paid my credit card on the 29th, which was still within the previous month's billing statement.

So when I got my statement, they charged me a 125AED (roughly 30USD) late payment fee! I called the call center, and of course, I got an outright 'No'. The rep told me that I've had my account since 2005 so I should know my cutoff dates by now. So I told her, that's the point, I've been a good client since 2005, and I only tried to pay my account early. But she said 'No, you're not qualified for reversal of charges'. Fearful of hearing the same thing or being blocked if I asked for a manager as you suggested, I wrote my story and emailed it to them using the generic feedback form on their website, relaying what happened and asking them if they would consider it goodwill on their part and good relationship building, especially since I think they're a good bank. That's why I'm not even considering other banks, which also offer free annual fee credit cards with other benefits.

Well, what do you know. Two or three days later, I receive a call from the bank. They asked me what happened and later told me that they will forward my request. Another two to three days later, I got another call telling me that the fee was reversed, and it will be reflected in my next statement!

It does pay to ask, even if you think your request won't be granted.

Thanks Scott!

Ria Mendoza



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