Dubai Consumer Mirror

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Parking Charges in Dubai Malls..

There are a few reasons why I believe we will see more malls start charging a fee for parking in 2009.

Posted on January 1st, 2009 posted here on Dubai Consumer Mirror.

Dubai malls may soon introduce parking fees to limit the number of Dubai Metro users leaving their cars in their car parks.

Posted Today on Arabian Business

Metro or not, I think it will only be a matter of time until all malls in Dubai to start a charge for parking.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Art of Complaining

“I’d like to speak your manager!” is typically the first thing that comes out of one’s mouth when feeling wrongly done by a bank, shop, restaurant.... etc

As paying customers, we tend to walk around with the notion that – no matter what the situation is – we are 100% correct, just because we are paying customers.

Though, that could be true, if you look at it from an extremely narrow perspective. However, in our pursuit of good customer service, it pays much better when we, the paying customers, come closer to our service providers. Attempt to see things in their perspective and accept that fact that things tend to go sour from time to time.

Here a few tips of how you can get what you want (and even more) from any organization you are dealing, and before you go all gung-ho on everyone in the company:

First of all, be honest…
To yourself mainly; did it really bother you THAT much? For example: if you had to wait 5 extra minutes on hold when calling an organization… Doesn’t that beat having to drive all the way to the place, look for parking, take a number, wait for your turn, see an exec, explain the situation, get a “we will look into it and let you know… NEXT”.

Be Objective
Strip off the emotional, ego bruised side of things and stick to the facts. When complaining, make sure that your complaint comes from the fact that you are not receiving what you paid for and hence, is rightfully yours. Full stop.

Some people get under the impression that they earned the right to get ANYTHING, ANYWHERE in ANYFROM they wish.

Here is a trick. If you feel you’ve been shafted, take a deep breath, sleep on the problem for a couple of days and then decide to act, if you still feel like its worth it.

You’d be surprised how faster/better people respond to a calm, reasonable person on the other side of the line.

Be Positive
Demonstrate goodwill. For example, tell the company that you have always admired the product/service. Such positivity will most likely get the company to act faster/better so that they don’t loose you as a long-time loyal customer.

Be Understanding
Express in your letter/call that you actually understand that shit does happen sometimes (don’t use the precise wording, but you get the gist of it, I hope). Such recognition demonstrates modesty and humbleness – this can get people become more compassionate with your case and respond faster/better to your problem.

Be Selective
Seek the right people to talk to. Saying things like: “I’d like to speak to your supervisor,” “get me your manager,” or “take me to your leader” .. does not usually take your complaint far enough. It might get you to speak to a ‘team leader’ or whoever is ‘in charge’ during that shift.

I’ve managed to get Senior VPs, CEOs and Chairmen to call/email me back in response to complaints I’ve made about their originations, products or services. I got their names (and sometimes their emails) from my only highly trusted and reliable source: Mr Google.

Even when you don't get to speak to them, mentioning their names can get the customer service agent to be more alert to your complaint, hence respond faster/better.

Be Respectful
No body likes a cynical smart ass. So, resist the temptation to get on your snappy, sarcastic side and stick to straight factual language. And I believe it goes beyond saying that name-calling and personal attacks are the most guaranteed ways to get your complaint to a dead end.

Remember, its not about YOU or the PERSON you are dealing with. Its about a situation you both are trying to resolve.

Be Precise
Last, but not least, document –whenever is possible- everything. Every encounter you had during the complaining process. Save sent emails, fax confirmation slips, record telephone conversation if you can and note down names, time and dates of every person you spoke to.

That doesn’t only show that you’ve ‘done your part’, it also helps the company get to the bottom of your complaint, hence help you resolve your problem much effectively.


If you’ve done most of the above, I truly doubt that you won’t get a decent reaction to your complaint, to say the least. However, if you get zero response or one that is lukewarm, then my advice is to black list that comapny, look for alternative and move along. Life is too short to dwell over spilled milk.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Be extra nice to TGI Friday's staff at Mall of the Emirates

Not because otherwise they'll serve you sneezers or anything - a friend emailed me why:

Last weekend, my mom invite me and the kids for a mother-daughter-grandchildren get-together. We met at Mall of the Emirates and went to TGI Friday's. We ordered, had a good meal, mom paid the bill and left.

The next day, mom called telling me that she is missing Dhs 500 from her wallet, and thinks she was short-changed the day before at TGIF. She told me that she left a Dhs 1000 note to pay the Dhs 320/- bill. All she has on her was Dhs 150 and some change (we left a tip). I asked her to double check before we contact (or accuse) anyone. Later that evening, she was sure she didn't lose or spend that Dhs 500 anywhere.

The following day, I phoned TGIF and got to the manager. I explained to her the situation. Of course, I didn't remember the server name, table number, nor had a copy of the bill (who takes the bill with them anyways?!).

The manager started asking what we ordered, the value of the bill, any distinctive feature our server was wearing (she had a funny Dalmatian print hat), and worked with me on the phone until she retrieved a copy of our invoice. She said it was logged that day that we paid Dhs/500 and got the correct change. However, she said will call back again in 30 minutes.

About less than an hour later, she called and said that she went through her records and it shows that on that evening, upon closing the books, the cash registrar noted an extra Dhs 500/- over the total day earnings - and left a note of it. It seems the 1000 note was mistken for 500. So, the next day I went there, thanked everyone there and got my Dhs 500 back.

With these tough economic times, mall visitor foot fall on the downside, less tourists and lesser tips, I say hats off to the honest, hard working staff at TGIF at Mall of the Emirates.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Al Habtoor takes ur car for service, crashes it, asks for your insurance to pay for it.

My friend drives a 1 year old Mitsubishi Pajero. Few weeks ago, he called in to renew his car insurance policy. The next day, he received a revised policy with premium increased. My friend didn't have any accidents or claims, the car is brand new, so there was no legitimate reason to increase the premium. As a matter of fact, it should go down due to car value depreciation.

"Its because you have one claim, sir" the broker said. My friend's wife doesn't drive and a man would know if he had an accident, and claimed it, mind you or not! So he requested to see his file, the details of the claim, date, location, police report ..etc.

It turned out from the claim report that while his car was at Al Habtoor service for regular Oil Change service, the staff there rammed my friend's car into another, right there at the Mitsubishi service centre, then they called the police, filed a claim report, repaired the it, claimed the damages from insurance firm to themselves AND didn't even inform the owner of the car!

I've heard stories of bad service from car dealers and service centers. But this is a whole new level of incompetence. Can you believe this?!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Always seek a second opinion

A couple of months back, my laptop screen split in 4 quarters, exactly like this guy's problem here. So, I googled the problem and read in a forum that it may be a faulty graphics card or screen. So, I dropped it at HP's service center, Emitac, in Garhoud.

After 10 days and a numerous phone calls to Emitac, they emailed me an estimate stating that my screen needs replacement, along with other internal components- and it will cost me about Dhs 1800/-.

The only problem here was, I bought the laptop for Dhs 2000 and -except the split screen- everything in it is working fine. It was just a display problem. So, I paid an "inspection fee" of Dhs 200/- and took it back without the repair.

It was a personal laptop (I use an IBM ThinkPad for work), and i didn't feel like paying all that money to fix a relatively new (13 months), lightly used laptop. I'll connect it to an external monitor and use it for downloads only - it has a 160 GB hard drive.

My brother visited me and told me that he knows an IT shop that could fix it.

So, showed it to them and to my surprise, the screen didn't need replacement and was working fine - the engineer took it out and tested it on another laptop and it worked just fine. The graphics card was fine as well, it is built-in with the motherboard.

The problem was in a connection between the two that needed replacing. So, they fixed it and the laptop is working like a charm now.

Oh, and it cost me Dhs 150/- ONLY, that is including home pick up and drop off service.

Can you fucking believe these Emitac rip-offs?