On Your Side: Late car registration incurs Dh100 per month fine

The National's consumer advocate takes questions on Carrefour restricting the use of loyalty cards, denied access to pool and gym facilities in a Palm Jumeirah development, end-of-service payments for voluntary leavers and more.

People try a locked beach-access door being locked at the Palm Shoreline residence complex. Residents have been blocked by the developer Nakheel from going to the beach adjacent to their apartment building. Silvia Razgova / The National
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I live in Abu Dhabi, but am currently back in the US due to family issues. By the time I get back, probably next month, my car will be severely overdue for its annual registration. I am concerned that I will be in trouble with the police even though the car is parked off the road, in a private car park. Will I be penalised? MH Abu Dhabi

As you are aware, you have to register your vehicle with the Traffic and Licensing Department annually. You get a one-month grace period if you let the registration expire, but if you exceed that date you will be fined Dh100 for each month. You will have to pay this upon re-registration, but I understand that there are no other consequences if the vehicle has been off the road.

I live in an apartment on The Palm Jumeirah and have been renting it for nearly two years directly from the landlord. The building has a pool and a gym, which is one of the reasons I decided to take the apartment. Recently, I have been stopped from using some of the facilities, despite my rent being fully paid and being a trouble-free tenant. The security staff in the building have keys to the pool and gym and are only allowing certain tenants to use it. I have tried to speak to my landlord, but he is travelling. Can you tell me what the legal position is so I can follow this up? AW Dubai

This issue has been in the press a few times recently and Marwan bin Ghalita, the chief executive of the Real Estate Regulatory Agency, Dubai's property regulator, has stated: "By law, no one can stop an owner or a registered tenant from using the communal areas once they have paid service fees." I understand that Nakheel, the developer of properties on The Palm, has announced plans to introduce fees to use the facilities, but this cannot be legally enforced in respect of residents, whether an owner or registered tenant, provided all the agreed fees have been paid. AW needs to check that his landlord has paid the service fees.

I have a Carrefour MyCard loyalty card. I usually shop in the Mirdif City Centre store and have only used it there. On March 4, I was in Mall of the Emirates and picked up a few items at Carrefour, but was told that the card was not accepted there. I have since checked the company website, which does say that it is only valid in a number of stores, but this seems rather restrictive and certainly not anything I am aware of from any other company, even in the UAE. Why would a major company launch a loyalty card that only permits loyalty to certain branches? Doesn't that defeat the object? I could understand if redemption of points was restricted to one branch, but not the collection of them. No one in the branch could give me a sensible answer. It seems crazy that I would have to get different cards for different branches of the same store. SM Dubai

I tried to contact Carrefour on several occasions, but no one responded. I then tracked down its PR agency, which passed on my query, but they also had no joy in obtaining any kind of response. For such a major company to ignore a query shows a lack of interest in customer feedback.

I have been with my current employer for just over four years, but will be leaving soon to take up another opportunity. I have spoken to the HR department about my end-of-service benefit and have been given a figure. I was chatting to some friends and they told me my employer was not paying me the full amount and I should tell them they have underpaid me. I want to leave on good terms, but also don't want to lose out if I am entitled to more money. Can you take a look at the figures? SP Dubai

Having reviewed the figures provided by SP, it transpires that her employer has calculated her end-of-service gratuity correctly. While employees are entitled to 21 days' pay for each year of service for the first five years, this is reduced if they leave of their own volition and are not made redundant. Article 37 of the UAE Labour law states: "If an employee under a contract with unlimited period has left his work at his own option after a continuous service of not less than one year and not more than three years, he shall be entitled to one third of the end-of-service gratuity. If the period of his continued service is more than three years and less than five years, he becomes entitled to two thirds of the said gratuity, but if his continued service exceeds five years, he becomes entitled to the entire gratuity." Because SP would have worked for the company for between three and five years, her end-of-term gratuity will be reduced by one third of the full amount.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com or onyourside@thenational.ae