Call from bank gives false hope

Call from bank gives false hope
06 October 2011

SINCE writing my last article, I’ve have been trying really hard to keep a positive attitude and regain my sense of humour. Some days are easier than others, but there is still the occasional day where the wheels come off completely. Today has been one of those days!

A few months ago somebody I trust and respect suggested that I tape all of my telephone conversations with the banks so I had a record of all discussions, should I ever need them. Not being very tech savvy and after a few abortive attempts I decided not to heed her advice. After this week, how I wish I had listened and persevered.

Insurance claim

A couple of weeks ago, one of my largest and most aggressive creditors, a local UAE bank, was hounding me mercilessly for a credit card payment. After several threatening phone calls I finally got a call from a female worker at the bank.

Once again, I explained my situation and her immediate response was that I was eligible to make an insurance claim as I had been paying for credit shield insurance for several years. She said that all I had to do was submit a copy of my passport, visa and termination letter to the bank and they would lodge a claim with the insurers on my behalf. However, this could only be done once I had made payment of AED 6,200 to my card. She also advised that she would block my card immediately so that no further statements were generated.

My relief was immense. For once I felt that somebody was on my side and there was finally some light at the end of the tunnel. The next day, I dropped the required documents at the closest branch and naively assumed that things were being taken care of.

Surprise call

Imagine my surprise when I received a call from the bank this week telling me that another payment of AED 6,200 was due. If it wasn’t paid by the end of the week, my security cheque would be presented and, to quote the collections clerk, “given the large amount outstanding, the bank would not be very understanding when the cheque is returned, as we already know you have no money in your HSBC account”.

When I asked about the insurance claim, I was told that the system showed no record of any documents being received and that the information I was initially given was incorrect.

Also, it appears that the bank’s representative did not have the authority to block my account and, most importantly, an insurance claim can’t be lodged until the full arrears amount (around AED 18,000) has been cleared. I should have probably realised at the outset that it all sounded way too easy.

Defeated

This latest setback has left me feeling defeated, frustrated and even more stressed than usual. Just when I thought I was going to be in a better position to negotiate with my other creditors I am back to where I started. There is no way that I am going to be able to find the AED 6,200 to make the next payment let alone the AED 18,000 I need to clear the arrears so I can lodge the insurance claim.

Whilst I’ve definitely realised that suicide is not an option I wish that I hadn’t made the decision all those months ago to do the ‘right’ thing and that I had, in fact, packed up my life and left when I still had the chance. Why does everything have to be so hard?

Pic credit: Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever been given misleading information from a bank representative? Tell your story below.

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