Customer finds out 10 years on that his bank wants paying

On your side: JM left the UAE for Melbourne, Australia a decade ago - and now his old bank claims he owes it thousands of dirhams on a credit card. Fortunately for him, Keren Bobker is on the case.

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I was recently contacted by Emirates NBD about a credit card balance from 10 years ago. I had cleared all obligations before leaving the UAE in 2003 so was very surprised to be contacted. It has been difficult to obtain any confirmation of this outstanding debt as we have received a statement copy from June 2003, but have no records ourselves going back that far. We would like to clear this issue with the bank, but don't know where to start. We have been told that we owe thousands of dirhams, but I cannot believe this is the case. JM, Melbourne, Australia

After gathering the relevant information, the issue was referred to my contacts at Emirates NBD. It transpired that the credit card had not been fully repaid and there was a small outstanding balance that meant it could not be closed and that fees and interest were accruing. Following investigation, a spokeswoman for the bank said: "We are pleased to inform you that our recovery team has been in touch with JM and has settled the matter to his satisfaction. Kindly note that Mr M has settled the outstanding amount on his credit card through a payment received by us via Bank of America and as a gesture of goodwill and to close this matter, Emirates NBD has accepted to waive the accumulated charges." The bank has taken a long time to attempt to recover this, relatively small, debt but Mr M is satisfied with the outcome. My advice to people when closing an account is to always get written confirmation from the bank.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at