Former Dubai expat finds unpaid UAE credit card debt has grown significantly over time

Keren Bobker advises a former UAE resident who wants to return but has an outstanding police case over unpaid debts which have since increased in size.

I left Dubai in the middle of 2009 with about Dh32,000 in unpaid credit card debt. I left when the company I was with closed down and I was made redundant. I contacted the bank a couple of weeks ago and they have outlined a number of options for me to repay the debt. I want to return to Dubai and get a job there. I am prepared to pay the debt provided agreeable terms can be arranged, but I am concerned about getting into trouble with police on arrival. MW, South Africa

I have seen the repayment options given by the bank, which has also confirmed that there is an outstanding police case involving MW. Given the time elapsed and the fact that no payments have been made in the interim, the debt has increased significantly in size because of interest owed and annual fees. The lack of communication with the bank over the intervening years has not helped. He has been given options to repay in one go or in multiple tranches, and the quicker the debt is repaid the lower the amount the bank will accept in settlement. Both legally and morally, a person should repay the money they borrow, and unless the outstanding debt is repaid, at least in part, a police case will remain current. The correspondence from the bank confirmed that they have made a police report and this will remain in the system until such time as the bank requests that this be removed. This means that MW would be arrested and detained on entering the UAE. I would not expect a bank to rescind a police case for debt until the majority of the amount outstanding, if not all of it, has been repaid and formal confirmation of this being done should be requested. It would be wise to travel with this confirmation document in case there are any queries.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 20 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

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