Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why are we waiting?

The Automatic Teller Machine, also known as the ATM, ATM machine, fruit machine, or even fuloos-o-mat is a wonderful device that can magically dispense real crinkly cash into my hand whilst simultaneously deducting that same sum from my bank account. The wonder is that the machine and the bank might be half a planet apart. Red Triangles bank even sends me a text message when the transaction occurs. Such magic!

The system does upon occasion go wrong. I should like to offer my heartfelt thanks on behalf of Beloved Wife to the staff at Red Triangles for the prompt and courteous manner in which the Bank handled a recent ATM problem.

Unfortunately, I am unable to do so, because of the abominable and egregious customer service provided by RTB, in apparent accordance with normal custom and practice.

When instructing that twenty Omani Rials be dispensed from a RTB machine in Muscat on 7th April, the sum of around Dh190 was immediately deducted from Beloved Wife’s account. Behold the SMS. Cash was not forthcoming; instead merely a receipt stating

    Please contact the Bank

    Cancelled

Beloved Wife went immediately into the Bank and brandished the receipt. She was told that RTB (Oman) couldn’t help, and she’d have to take up the matter with RTB (UAE). Pah! So much for allegations that this particular bank is both local and global.

Back in Dubai a couple of days later, and RTB’s telephone helpless desk advised that Beloved Wife should wait three days, after which the bank’s ghastly error would be corrected and all monies automatically refunded. Yeah, right.

On 13th April, the bank’s Business Centre in Mall o’ t’Emirates handed us an ATM Dispute Form. This would have to be faxed to 04-390 6788 because it couldn’t be handled in person by either the Business Centre or the actual branch, the latter being inconveniently located in Sharjah and not open for business except when Beloved Wife is at work.

So the Dispute Form was faxed on 13th April. And again on 24th April. Having had no response by 9th May, a month since the Bank stole the money, it was time for some phone calls. One of the problems was that the RTB fax machine was now permanently off-hook, seemingly at any time of the day or night. The helpless desk now decided, following some irate bleating from an extremely annoyed Goat, that it would be possible to email the Dispute Form (despite the Business Centre minions declaring two weeks earlier that this was not possible), so off it went through the intertubes.

Again, stony silence and tumbleweed. The promised phone call to Beloved Wife to confirm that the complaint had been elevated never happened, exactly as anticipated. Once more, a Bank employee stating: “Yes we will,” actually means, “No we won’t.”

So, on 19th May, another email to hbmedisputes@hsbc.com:
    Gentlemen --

    Yet again I am contacting you about this issue. Yes, is "only" 190.85 dirhams, but it is MY 190.85 dirhams.


    Please rectify this situation and replace this amount in my account immediately.


    My patience with the lack of customer service at [Red Triangles] in the UAE is wearing very thin. I see little point in continuing to do business with institutions that ignore their customers.

And without apology, the money was immediately credited.

Well done, Red Triangles! A Bank error rectified in only 42 days, after two personal visits, three phone calls, two faxes, three attempted but abortive faxes, and two emails.

]}:-{>

4 comments:

Gerry said...

it's a hard phenomenon to explain to someone who doesn't live in the uae. in this world, business entities (and bureaucrats) can simply:

-ignore you
-lie
-make up facts
-change the rules as they go along
-and generally say "no problem" even though there are, in fact, problems

in an attempt to make you and your problem go away. it's the kind of thing that would spark lawsuits... if there were even a remote chance of winning. but in a legal climate that somehow embraces the global economic crash as "force majeure" in failing to deliver on construction contracts, pretty much any argument can--and will--get a lawsuit respondent off the hook.

Grumpy Goat said...

There is such an easy way to make the problem of an irate customer go away.

Problem: Bank has stolen customer's money.

Solution: Bank refunds money. Customer goes away.

The mystery is why that is such a difficult concept.

Gnomad said...

there are a couple of problems with that solution, GG,

1; it would involve admitting a mistake and that would cause loss of face.

2; it would involve effort. why should the lazy toe rag try to solve your problem when he can just sit there and ignore it with impunity?

Customer Service is not coming in Dubai.

alexander... said...

My favourite organisation! :) :) :)

 

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