The Debt Panel: ‘How can I get a $12,000 refund for unauthorised credit card transactions?

The Dubai reader is seeking advice on how to deal with the fraudulent transactions made on his card in Turkey

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I would like to share my frustration with my bank regarding seven transactions totalling Dh44,169.57 ($12,026).

I have held my bank’s highest-tier credit card for 11 years without a single dispute and have never missed bill payments.

I am also very well aware to never let the physical credit card and my mobile phone out of my sight, as well as never sharing the one-time password (OTP) with anyone regardless of the reason.

On May 11, between 1am and 1.20am, seven transactions were made on my card in Turkey.

I was asleep at that time and did not receive any notification regarding an OTP request on my registered mobile or email ID.

I never went to Turkey during that time nor made any purchases in shops mentioned in the credit card statement.

I noticed these transactions on May 14 and raised a complaint through the bank’s customer care department.

I was finally told that the fraud team has concluded that the “OTP had been sent to my email ID and my mobile and the customer is liable to pay”.

At this stage, no further explanation from the investigation or an alternative solution has been offered. I am left alone now without any help.

Can you advise me on how to solve this issue and have my money refunded? SS, Dubai

Debt Panellist 1: Steve Cronin, founder of

We are seeing more and more of these cases. The transactions are done in a foreign country in the early hours of the morning. The bank refuses to do anything about it. Is anyone protected from card fraud?

If the answer is no, then the only way to minimise losses is to keep your card limit very low (paying it off regularly) and to lock or temporarily block your card via the bank’s website or app when you are not using it.

If your card provider does not offer such a service, find one that does. Ultimately, OTPs are not secure and the banking system needs to adjust to reflect that.

I share your frustration – clearly having the bank’s top-tier card does not mean top-tier service.

Firstly, you should check if you did receive any OTP messages by phone or email – check all your folders, including the Promotions folder (for Gmail) and spam folder. Your phone provider should be able to clarify if messages were sent to you or not.

If you didn’t receive any messages, you should challenge the bank over how the transactions were approved. They should be able to see from the data on which device the OTP was entered (or not entered).

Gather all your evidence and documentation, then take it to the bank. Call them and ask to escalate it to a manager. Go to your branch and ask to see the branch manager. Visit the bank headquarters and try to get ahold of someone senior in retail banking or the card department.

Be very clear – in writing – that unless you get a full refund of any fraudulent charges plus related fees or interest within 30 days then you will a) report the matter to the Central Bank Consumer Protection Unit, b) take legal action and that you are hiring a lawyer to investigate right now, c) ensure that everyone at your company is aware of the risk of using their credit cards and that nobody gets one of their cards in future.

If after 30 days you don’t get a satisfactory response, then follow up on all of these actions.

If the banks think they can get away with ignoring the current epidemic of fraud, then they will continue to behave accordingly.

Meanwhile, you should start building a relationship with another card provider and another bank. If the bank does not act on your requests, then move your salary somewhere else.

Debt panellist 2: Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching

I completely understand your frustration and concern regarding the unauthorised transactions on your credit card. This kind of fraud is becoming more and more frequent. And unfortunately, I am hearing reports of it becoming harder and harder to get a refund.

It’s important to monitor your bank cards and take immediate action to resolve the issue. It is no doubt frustrating for you to receive such a response from the bank’s fraud department.

If the bank continues to deny your claim and refuses to refund the fraudulent transactions, you might want to consult with a lawyer specialising in consumer rights or banking law
Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching

Do you have a relationship manager you can also communicate with? They may be able to help you escalate this within the bank.

I recommend you contact your bank again. Email the bank’s customer care department and explain the situation clearly.

Emphasise that you did not receive any OTP request on your registered mobile or email ID during the time the transactions occurred. Request a detailed explanation from the bank regarding their investigation process and the basis for holding you liable for the transactions.

Dispute the fraud team’s assessment. Provide any evidence you have to support your claim, such as proof of your location during the time the transactions were made and any other relevant information that proves you were not involved in the transactions.

Ask the bank for evidence that an OTP was used to process the fraudulent payments.

If you have a relationship manager, speak to them but it’s also very important to follow up in writing. Send a written complaint in response to the fraud team’s assessment.

Email it to the bank’s customer service department, outlining the issue, the steps you have taken so far, and your dissatisfaction with the response you received. Be sure to keep copies of all correspondence for your records.

The bank then has 30 days to respond and satisfactorily resolve the issue. If you are still not satisfied, you can then file a complaint with the Central Bank of the UAE.

I would recommend stating this intention when you email your complaint to the bank so they know that you are aware of your consumer rights.

Consider legal assistance: If the bank continues to deny your claim and refuses to refund the fraudulent transactions, you might want to consult with a lawyer specialising in consumer rights or banking law. They can guide you through the legal options available to you and help you navigate the process.

Remember to remain persistent and keep a record of all communication with the bank throughout the resolution process. Providing as much evidence as possible to support your case will strengthen your position.

Debt Panellist 3: Khaled Al Hammadi, general manager of personal banking, Commercial Bank of Dubai

I understand the distressing situation you find yourself in and the frustration caused by unauthorised transactions on your credit card.

It is disheartening to face this type of predicament, especially since you have consistently demonstrated responsible financial behaviour throughout your time as a customer of your bank.

To assist you in resolving this issue and seeking a refund for the disputed transactions, I would like to suggest a series of actions that may help.

First and foremost, it is crucial that you maintain open communication with your bank.

To strengthen your case, I suggest you file a formal complaint against the fraudulent transactions disputing that you should pay them.

You should provide as much information as possible about each specific transaction, including dates and amounts involved.

One way to minimise losses is to keep your card limit very low and to lock or temporarily block your card via the bank’s website or app when you are not using it.

You must emphasise the fact that you did not authorise any transactions in Turkey and should not be held liable for these charges.

I recommend that you insist the bank carries out a thorough investigation of your situation.

You should request specific details supporting their claim that the OTP was sent to your email ID and mobile.

It is a reasonable request to ask the bank for documentation or evidence that led to their conclusion.

If your initial complaint does not result in a positive outcome for you, it may be worth considering escalating the matter to senior representatives from the bank.

Politely requesting to speak with a supervisor, manager or someone from the bank’s customer relations or fraud departments can help ensure your complaint receives the attention and consideration it deserves.

You should, as much as possible, also gather any additional evidence that supports your claim of non-involvement in the transactions, as this information can significantly strengthen your case.

Presenting proof of your whereabouts when the transactions took place or any communication records demonstrating the non-receipt of the OTP can help your situation.

If your attempts to resolve the issue are not successful, then I recommend that you seek legal advice from a professional specialising in financial disputes.

These experts can offer personalised advice based on your unique circumstances and guide you through potential legal avenues you can pursue to reclaim your money.

I would add that throughout this process, maintaining clear and regular communication with your bank is essential.

It is very important that you document each interaction and make a note of important details such as dates, names of bank representatives you have interacted with, and any reference numbers you have received when corresponding with the bank.

Your persistence and effective communication will be crucial in seeking a resolution.

The Debt Panel is a weekly column to help readers tackle their debts more effectively. If you have a question for the panel, write to

Updated: June 08, 2023, 5:00 AM