Getting credit cards in UAE? Know the risks involved

Picture used for illustrative purposes alone
Picture used for illustrative purposes alone

Dubai - Recently, Dr A B in Dubai claims he fell to the trap of unethical and deceptive credit card selling.

By Ankita Chaturvedi

Published: Sun 11 Sep 2016, 8:24 PM

Last updated: Mon 12 Sep 2016, 9:41 AM

It's one of the most annoying situations. You're in the middle of an important meeting or enjoying some quality time with the family, when you get a random call asking you to buy a credit card or some other financial product.
As bothersome as it is, people often fall for the banking or finance company staff's sales pitch and go in for the product, without knowing much about it or the risks involved.
Recently, Dr A B, a senior cardiovascular consultant at a reputed hospital in Dubai claims he fell to the trap of unethical and deceptive credit card selling.
He said: "I was approached by a sales girl from 'Dubai First' to buy a prepaid credit card with a limit of Dh1,00,000 in February this year. She insisted this is the best card here, with no other charges and giving the holder a huge number of points. I went in for the card and planned to pay for a cruise trip with it.
After paying the full amount as discussed with the sales representative, I was asked to pay an extra amount as a part of Forex conversion charges. This was shocking, as I was not informed about these charges before".
His is not the only such case; another customer Dr A P, a senior pediatric specialist, complains of being fooled by the same company with their 'loan on phone' scheme. "A sales girl sold the card in a similar fashion to me. She didn't disclose once during the conversation that 1.3 per cent was the monthly interest rate charged, not the annual one. When I complained to the company, they waived off some amount," he said.
Financial expert Ashish Mehta, managing partner at Ashish Mehta & Associates, remarked: "A customer has to accept it if anything is signed or committed by him".
Meanwhile, we tried reaching the concerned company 'Dubai First' to get their comment on this issue. They released an official statement, which stated: "It is Dubai First's Policy for our sales representatives to make it clear to our potential and existing customers that all the Terms & Conditions are agreed to by the customers when signing the application for a new credit card is binding and that further details are also available on our website. Any concerns and clarifications that customers have can also be routed through our 24-hour customer care service".
The statement also gave an explanation for the above mentioned cases. "At all times, we are clear and transparent with our customers. The 'Forex' charge that was at the centre of this complaint is part of the standard credit card charges levied by financial institutions in UAE for usage of the card outside UAE. Dubai First has been in direct contact with the customer for some time to address his concerns and bring this issue to a satisfactory conclusion. Unfortunately, the customer has not responded to our offers to resolve this issue or replied to our attempts to contact him since June 2016," it said.
In order to avoid such situations and to stop the blame game there is a better way to deal with these issues which can not only make customers more aware but also encourage healthy business practices, Mehta says.
Moral obligation of the bank/company
.They should ensure that the customer understands everything about the financial product.
.No concealment of any relevant card-related information.
Things to remember before applying
.Understand everything in connection with the usage of the card.
.Read the fine print carefully.
.Check the company's website and go through each point related to the card.
.Be aware of consequences of payment or loan default.
.If the sales representative is pushy, be wary and on your guard.

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