Riding the debt rollercoaster

Riding the debt rollercoaster
28 December 2011

SINCE my last article, the rollercoaster ride has continued. There have been one or two highs, a few lows and several rock bottoms.

It almost seems that every high has been countered by several lows and there have been times over the past few weeks where I’ve really just wanted to throw in the towel and surrender.

Agreement with creditor

On a high note, as mentioned in my previous article, thanks to help from the cashy team, I have managed to reach an agreement with one of my major creditors.

A couple of weeks ago I met with a RAK Bank representative and was very surprised by the treatment I received. I was able to have an open and honest discussion with the bank and did not once feel threatened or scared. During our meeting I gained a better understanding of how the collections department works and saw first-hand that the bank was willing to help.

I have secured a two-month payment holiday and the option of restructuring my debt at a nominal interest rate, which will decrease my monthly payment by around AED 3,000 a month. This will be a huge help and I’m very grateful to RAK Bank for its assistance.

Threats continue

Unfortunately, I have not been as lucky with some of the other banks, Barclays being my main problem at the moment.

Admittedly and, probably to my detriment, I stopped taking its calls a while ago as I could no longer deal with the threats being made.

I did, however, try and maintain email contact. While I realise that this form of communication is not ideal for the bank, at least it means the bank has received regular updates. I am now being chased by their legal department and can’t avoid talking to them for much longer.

Gainfully employed

Another high point in the last month is that I am now gainfully employed. I’ve secured a good job and, although my salary is about a third less than I was earning and involves a lengthy trip to and from work each day, I am so pleased to be employed again. I am hoping that having a job will give me a better chance of negotiating with the banks.

The only hurdle I still have to cross is getting my new residence visa but, if the threats I am getting from Barclays are anything to go by, then this might be difficult: I think the bank may have filed a police case against me and, because of this, the company I have joined may be unable to process my residence visa. For the time being, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Relationship over

I’m continuing to try and repair my relationship with my partner and maintain some sort of normalcy and stability for our children. This is proving to be incredibly hard and seems to be getting more difficult amid the festive season.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the damage is, in all likelihood, irreparable and that, once the Christmas period is over, we will end up going our separate ways. It’s a very sad state of affairs, but I only have myself to blame.

Pic credit: anat_tikker/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you in a similar position to In Debt in Dubai? cashy's thinking of forming a support group for people in debt. Tell us below if you think this type of service would help...


  • martino

    Immediately I want to say that a plan of Cashy to form a support group for people in debt is a highly excellent and laudable idea.

    I am in fact at present in communication with a friend in Dubai who is facing an almost similar trouble with the person who wrote "In Debt in Dubai". The debt of this friend of mine, a lady, is probably not as big or as serious as the one in the hand of that writer, but the harassment and threats she has received from the collection agent of a bank (RAK) may be almost the same.

    Her debt liability is not really big. She has simply been unable to pay the outstanding balance on her MasterCard for four (4) months, due to increasing family financial needs and the failure of an expected salary increase to materialize. Her outstanding balance is less than 10,000 Dirhams. She was unable to go and visit the bank for settlement as she is stationed in the rural outskirts of Dubai as a paramedic.

    She has been harrassed and threatened of imprisonment by telephone. The collection agent of RAK would call her and shout insulting words at her about her unpaid credit card balance. Unable to bear the emotional disturbance this is causing her, she stopped answering the calls. The collection agent then repeatedly calls her office and superiors and tell them about her debt, and would use the cellphone of her office mates to call her and force them to give the phone to my friend to listen to her insults again.

    Repeatedly she tried to explain to the RAK collection agent that she is not running away from her obligations and that in fact she wants to offer a payment arrangement in the amount which she can honor regularly until the debt is fully paid. She is no longer using the credit card and all she has to do is pay the outstanding balance. The collection agent would just shout to her that she can keep the amount of money she is offering since they will have her arrested anyway.

    This week, during her off, she will go directly to RAK and try to arrange for an easy payment plan she can afford. Her going to the bank personally is a good example when a support group you are planning to set up, I believe, is much needed.

    A support could be in the form of a companion to witness a meeting, to prevent harassment, forced commitments under duress and illegal procedures against the person in debt. I hope Cashy can extend supportive advise to my friend too.

    A support could also mean advises on financial management, legal documentations and counseling.

    I am willing to volunteer whatever services I can do to help Cashy in this planned support group, if my help would be needed and welcome. I have been a pastoral counselor for more than ten years now and I have served as consultant to government and private organizations for the past 24 years.

    My email address is marttayo@yahoo.com


  • nima

    Thank you so much for your offer of help, we will definitely be in touch. Please do ask your friend to get in touch with us if she would like a money makeover or to share her experiences - I'm sure she has learned a lot in hindsight and many would learn from her.

  • martino

    Dear Nima,

    I very much appreciate your reply. I will surely ask my friend in Dubai to sign up in cashy.me and get in touch with you. I don't yet exactly know what "money make over" means, but I will tell her and encourage her to share her experience and the struggle she is currently going through. That people like you are willing to give her a listening ear would be a lot of emotional help already. Thank you.

  • nima

    Click here to see Money Makeover stories. All she would need to do is click on the link in the box on the right of that page. It's free & means she'd get a professional, detached opinion regarding her financial situation. I do hope she reaches out.

  • tamirahamam

    Thanks so much for your comment and offer of help martino and please check your direct messages!

  • salver

    Are there any genuine debt consolidation agencies in Dubai? I have got debts of circa AED 250,000 from various sources. Whilst I intend to clear all my debts, I would very much prefer to go for some sort of debt consolidation.

  • salver

    Thanks Martino! I am talking with my banks to see if they are willing to negotiate. I have found three agencies in Dubai, namely, ISDM consultancy (noone answers phone/fax/emails), Instant Debt Management Services (IDMS)- noone is answering the phones, and First Solutions Management Services (FSMS). FSMS is willing to offer deb consolidation services, however, as I have recently changed jobs, they are saying that they cannot help me before a period of six months. I am thinking to talk direcly with my banks. would it be of any use?

  • salver

    By the way, I have got a cash convertible insurance policy and I am investing regularly in investment funds. Can I mortgage/pledge or assign them as a collateral to secure a loan to pay off my liabilities?

  • martino

    Hello, Salver

    Banks or lending institutions may accept an insurance policy with cash value as collateral for loan. You will need to talk to the bank or lending institution where you plan to get a loan about this.

    You can find an instruction how to use a life insurace policy as loan collateral on this web site:


  • nima

    Hi Salver. From what I am told (by no means the whole picture) you need to negotiate with nerves of steel. If we go by other people's experiences it seems that the banks want to 'make sure' that you really don't have any money that can pay down debt - a chunk of it anyway - and so you'll be squeezed (some have said they've been intimidated), but yes, I would advocate talking to the banks directly.

    Sadly, I haven't heard anything helpful re agencies here... in fact, am told they charge you for the services (putting you further into debt). We'd love it if they would explain to us exactly how they work and why people should go through them...

    Can i please ask that you post your questions under Q&A too? So that people looking for this information there can benefit as well? 

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