Bounce a cheque and you could hop to prison

Is it true that if you write a cheque in the UAE, and it bounces, you will go straight to jail? Or is this only a story that is told to scare people? LE Abu Dhabi While bouncing a cheque is a criminal offence, according to the UAE Penal Code, you are not automatically imprisoned and the consequences depend on the actions of the person who is owed the money. They have the right to file a police report against you - and if you do not pay what is owed, you can be arrested, prosecuted and then fined or jailed if the courts see fit. Cases are often dropped if the outstanding money is paid in full before the court makes its final ruling.

I applied to change my existing internet connection to an e-life package sometime during the month of January over the phone by dialling 101, the Etisalat helpline. I was assured I would be upgraded sometime in the coming five working days. By mid-February, I started following up on the case and was informed that no application existed. Due to my own negligence, I did not have an application number noted down and hence was forced to make my way towards a business centre. I applied for the e-life connection in person and was again promised a response time of five working days. We are now in May and nothing has been done. I constantly follow up with the Etisalat call centre, and the agents always have an excuse, ranging from a service disruption to an application problem. I have called Etisalat almost once each week from the date of my original application in January, and I have always been promised a resolution, but to no avail. I am just wondering whether Etisalat is genuinely concerned about their customers, or if saying there is a standard five working day turnaround is simply a tactic to get people to go away. I am completely disappointed by the lack of service. I do not think that a company as big as Etisalat should make their customers go through all of this. They are certain to cut off any services if any bills are unpaid, and yet they take several months for a simple service upgrade. Can anybody at Etisalat actually explain what is going on, and can I expect my complaint to be resolved? WS Abu Dhabi

This matter was referred to the PR department of Etisalat, but I am disappointed to report that it took several weeks after that for the problem to be solved. Etisalat sent me the following statement: "This has been quite a complicated case. We did not disconnect the service until the customer got the new one. The installation of GPON and Fibre-To-The-Home (Etisalat's new networking hardware, which it has been installing in buildings throughout the Emirates since last year) is not a simple process and requires significant engineering work.

We are still in the process of deploying the system across the country, and some homes, such as our customer's residence, were not yet equipped. This is why there was a delay initially. The problem was solved on June 3." In response, WS said: "The service was indeed installed on June 3. There was someone in touch with me from Etisalat - I don't recollect her name - who explained the delay was due to some fibre-optic cable problem, but this went on for quite some time before the service was actually installed. I had to cancel an application, raise a new one, and was always promised functionality within a week. There have been no calls from Etisalat to apologise - or at the very least, explain what went wrong. No compensation or complimentary offers either. And frankly, I don't expect it from Etisalat. I'm just glad the service is finally installed, but they've made certain that they've lost me as a contented consumer. I have switched my phone service to du, applied for an Orbit Showtime connection and will disconnect eVision once I have Orbit installed. Sadly, we don't have a competitor for the internet yet.

I cannot explain the frustration that they've made me go through but I'm glad I will not have to speak to them anymore over this issue. Had it not been for you, it would've probably taken several more months. Thanks for your help." I feel that Etisalat would gain more support if they took the time to communicate properly with their customers and offer a better service.

I would like to bring my sister-in-law over from Australia to work for my family as a nanny, but I have not found any information on how to go about this. Can you provide me with some details or point me in the right direction? SK Dubai There are specific residency rules that apply if a person wishes to sponsor a maid or domestic servant. Due to the heading that the position of a nanny would come under, such as minimum salary, not being a bachelor, age restrictions and so forth, it will not be possible for you to employ and sponsor your sister-in-law for two main reasons. You cannot sponsor a "maid" to whom you are related - special dispensation would be required even if sponsor and maid are of the same nationality.

Also, under current legislation, maids may only come from one of the following countries: Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Indonesia or the Philippines. Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at Letters can also be sent to

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