25 September, 2007

Telephonic blues

A well-worn theme, for which I apologise. But I have become a little obsessed after a recent fracas with the long time monopoly provider. After 10 attempts to pay my bills (as usual) on line and two ignored emails, I finally found the courage and the time to call their erroneously named "help desk". It appears that the reason why I have been getting automated payment receipt numbers and then "payment not authorised" messages is because a decision was recently made by fiat to no longer accept non UAE credit or debit cards for payment of bills. Apparently it was considered appropriate to only inform customers of this when they ring up and complain, not to put it in the automated email that is sent with the payment "confirmations". I asked the genuinely pleasant person on the other end of the line what I should do to pay my bill, which is now about 2 weeks overdue. I was invited to visit a local payment center. My protest that I do not have the time or the inclination to schlepp all the way down there was met with the helpful suggestion that I send someone on my behalf. Great, I do not have a car, but no doubt I can send a servant to pay on my behalf with the credit card that they no longer accept. You can go to one of the many cash payment places, she helpfuly suggested. Sure, I usually carry AED1000 in readies....Just how backward and un-user friendly can the very generous patrons of the local telecom monopoly be? (Note their "voluntary" payment to the latest state charitable mobilisation)


nick said...

It seems to me there is a war going on between credit card companies and some UAE businesses.

Since 1st September most petrol pumps charge 1.65% surcharge for paying with a credit card.
Not that they always tell you. I just happened to see the small notice posted on a column.

It feels like back in the Eighties running around with a wad of notes in my pocket.

u said...


secretdubai said...

I get this a lot, and it majorly pisses me off. The UAE must be blacklisted for poor credit or moneylaundering or something. It is so frustrating to have your credit card declined just for being UAE-issued.

Dubai Nikolai said...

I should make clear that it is all FOREIGN issued credit cards that are being declined. If I had a UAE issued one, there would be no problem paying on line, apparently. Upon schlepping over to the local Etislat office today I found that I could pay in person with my UK-issued VISA card if I wanted (but NOT on-line)...This seems like a security issue therefore. But perhaps there is a credit card war too, as Nick mentioned. I was charged a 2% mark up on a flight recently due to paying with a FOREIGN visa card. I liked the 80s reference re cash...some residents from a neighbouring country could find this the norm over next few months....perhaps we will all be affected by a possibly tightening of control over financial flows around here.....

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