Thursday, 19 June 2008

new bank story

First our last 500 Dh gets eaten by an ATM. Then another bank stuffs up our credit cards so our holiday spending money is severely curtailed. As if that's not enough. I realise that we have a bit of headroom on our Aussie Citibank card which I haven't used for a long time. I put it into the Citibank ATM to do an account balance and ... the machine eats the card and spits out a message telling me to contact my branch to sort it out. My branch is in Aus!! I ring up Citibank, they have no idea why the ATM ate my card. There is no problem with the account, but it's okay, they can organise to have a new card sent to me within 10 days. Sigh! Problem is I'm leaving in two days. Is the universe trying to tell me something?

Monday, 9 June 2008


Three days before pay day. We're down to our last 591 Dh. We pat ourselves on the back pleased that we've managed to pre-pay so much of our upcoming holiday and still get through the month. A job well done!

Well, we ARE in the Emirates and things don't usually go as smoothly as we'd like. And of course ... things didn't go as smoothly as we'd have liked. The first ATM apologised for being busy and not being able to help us now, and it politely told us that we could try again later. So we tried the next machine and it gave us the same message. We lumbered up to a third machine, did a balance check and were notified that our balance was 91 Dh. A phone message confirmed that 500 Dh had just come out of our a/c. The only problem was that we didn't get 500 Dh! A call to the CALL centre told us that we'd need to go into a branch to fill in a 'dispute form' which we promptly did only to be told that we'd be notified of the result in about two weeks. Fan-bloody-tastic!

Anyway payday came and went and our coffers were spilling over with money when lo and behold 500Dh mysteriously appeared in our account. I was very pleased to see it because in all honestly I didn't think there was much chance of ever seeing it again. However, with full coffers, the 500 Dh was not nearly as welcome as it would have been just before payday.

During that same few days we tried out our shiney, new visacards that we had just organised with a different bank for our holidays. We're off on a grand tour with no idea of how much it will cost. We figure we'll have just enough or we'll be just a bit short. So we decided to get ourselves a credit card so that we could have the odd splurge if we felt so inclined, and in particular we wouldnt have to curtail our holiday if we'd wildly underestimated the cost. We left ourselves plenty of time to get the cards because of course, we ARE in the Emirates and ...

We tried our cards out in a store in Dubai only to have them rejected. So we later rang the bank and were told that we had cancelled our cards. We very politely insisted that we hadn't in fact cancelled them! The bank finally acknowledged that it was a bank error. For some reason they decided that they'd better close the accounts because they'd been 'opened in error.' Luckily though we didn't need to worry because, and I quote, 'No problem. You apply again and you have new card.' Never mind that last time the process took five weeks from go to whoa! We thanked the CALL centre operator very politely and went into a branch to see if they could help. The girl at the helpdesk looked completely unmoved by our situation and told us she couldn't help and that we'd need to ring the CALL Centre. I bit my tongue and insisted that she ring them which she did promptly handing the phone over to me! Sigh!

We rang the CALL centre back a couple of times and got different people each time who each had a slightly different version of what had happened and what needed to happen next, but all involved a suggestion that we simply apply again! We have one slim chance of being able to pull something off and get our cards reactivated, but we are reliant on one contact's assurance that she can sort it for us.

So that's our current situation. We're off on holiday in a week and a bit and the credit cards that we thought would give us peace of mind on our holiday, have turned into a royal pain.

Don't you love banks? Breathe deep Aussie, after all, you ARE in the Emirates ...