Dubai Consumer Mirror

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dubai's most hated brands

Yougov Siraj is the Indian UAE version of Yougov, a global polling company that pays people $1 for every poll they participate in. These fine chaps decided found out that people here digg Nokia the most, as a brand that is.

And the top 3 are: 1. Nokia, 2. Google and 3. Sony. Riiiiight. Why can't anyone say what is Dubai's worst? I mean, if Yougov's really got it, it should have the balls to reveals Dubai's 3 worst and most hated brands. Right, we didn't think so either.

Lets agree on one thing. A hated brand is one that's whenever causally mentioned, you are hit with queasy gagging feeling and an urge to regurgitate your last meal. Its also one that you simply rather caught getting intimate with a goat than telling people that you work for that brand/company.

So, since no one has the kojones to say it outloud, here it is: Dubai's most hated 3 brands:

No. 3: Etisalat.
For helping the UAE achieve global accolades such as (1) offering one of the worlds most expensive iPhone plans, and
falsely blaming the regulator for it (2) making the UAE one of the most highly Internet-sensored countries (3) Keepign the UAE telecom sector as one of the world's least competitive by deliberately delaying systems that allows competition in the UAE.

I've contemplated including du for its nightmarish coverage and the never-ending dropped calls, but lets face it; du’s competition with Etisalat is like locking up a confused Chiwawa with a constipated Pitbull: Pointless that ends with shit splattered all over the place.

No.2: RERA
I am sure the guys at The Real Estate Regulation Authority (RERA) are genuinely nice people. Unfortunately, they haven’t succeeded in doing anything to ease one of the most painful things about living in Dubai: Cost of accomodation.

When rents were uncontrollably going thru roofs and landlords were butt-raping every tenant they see, RERA decided to launch a
Rent Index that, more or less, gave landlords more thrust for their tenant deviant conquests (just read the comments there!)

Not only that, but RERA has drastically
failed to keep up with this index, which till today, no one seems to find it a true indicator of how rents should be.

....And Number 1 goes to….

Think of everything you loathed about living here:
congested traffic, endless road works, random fines, parking lot suffering, renegade bus drivers, unreliable taxi service and … wait a minute… SALIK; and now, give it all to one organization to handle: That’s Road and Transport Authority for you.

I have mixed feelings toward the RTA. For fairness, they’ve been trying, not too hard though, to perhaps get on Dubai’s better side by saying stuff that sound like ‘Calm down people! A Dubai Metro ride
will cost less than we actually wanted to’. Still the negative sentiment (abdominal restlessness, blurry vision ... etc) that comes along the 3 letter logo; it has rightfully earned that organization the rank of Dubai’s most hated brand.

Who else do you think should be there?


  • The think about etislut is that the broadband is so inconceivably overpriced but they can get away with it because people have no choice. du is taking over some of the new developing areas and Nakheel projects which is again an enclosed monopoly as people who live there do not have a choice but to take up du's services.

    I won't comment on RERA if such an authority existed.

    RTA is committed to killing people. Their random road works almost cost my life a couple of times on weekends. I haven't seen as many cones or red and white dividers in my life as I have seen in an hour of STILL traffic.

    Maybe they should start learning that you can't have a one or two lane single entrance to an entire community/shopping mall/area/emirate.

    By Blogger KJ, at July 10, 2009 at 11:53 AM  

  • I disagree, I think Etisalat is worst, and RTA 3rd. I'm not sure RERA and RTA count as brands though?

    Etisalat has by far the worst customer service of any company I have ever dealt with on Earth

    I don't think the RTA has much choice what they've been doing as they are more like damage control for the insane traffic, they do actually publicly respond to queries through its facebook page and they have also managed to improve traffic a bit.

    KJ: The price of broadband in the UAE is fair if you think about how much it costs to get it out here in the middle of nowhere.

    By Blogger samuraisam, at July 10, 2009 at 3:54 PM  

  • I actually like Etisalat - it's quite sentimental, you know. I don't anything about the other two.

    By Blogger rosh, at July 10, 2009 at 5:42 PM  

  • I am one of the people who participated in that poll on Yougov Siraj (yeah I got paid $1)... and we were given the option to choose the best brands and the worst brands..

    funny they didnt mention the Worst brands as I remember choosing Etisalat as worst brand along with Arabian Airways and Mashreq Bank

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 10, 2009 at 6:33 PM  

  • Absolutely agree with your top 3. As a good number 4 I would add banks. And with that I mean any bank in the UAE. Doesn't matter if they are supposed to be coming from Europe or the UAE. All of them have absolutely no idea what banking is about, or what the word 'service' means. Love it!

    Great blog by the way :-)

    By Blogger saskia, at July 11, 2009 at 12:14 AM  

  • agree with the top 3 and banks at 4th place. I would also put DNRD there.

    By Anonymous Umar in Dubai, at July 11, 2009 at 12:24 AM  

  • Modhesh?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 11, 2009 at 12:55 AM  

  • KJ - crazy motorists are committed to killing people. I partially agree with Sam that RTA has, more or less, inherited worst Dubai's problems. And many people there aer working very hard on solving them. The problem is, in my openion, their solutions are extremely disruptive and borderline radical. It takes them quite a while to figure out .. "umm.. maybe we actually should listen to the people". A clear example is forcing taxis to pay Salik and transfer the charge to the passengers. That neggated the whole "declared mission" of Salik, which is to encourage people to use public tranfer. 4 people using a taxi is taking away 4 cars off the road. why should they pay Salik then? Sadly, it took them a couple of years to realise that.

    Sam - A brand is not just a corp ID/logo. It is a set of feelings and attributes one experiences upon engagement with that brand. It is a component of goodwill, driven by the company's ongoing activities such as customer relations, product/service development and rollout, giveback to community and so others... Customer service is a tiny aspect that can influence how one feels towards a company, hence build a perception/brand attribute, but CS is not everything.

    For example: The worst CS i always get is from Nokia dealers (delays in repairs, ignorance in product knowledge, overpricing ..etc). But did that impact Nokia from being ranked as a top brand? no, 'cause the satisfaction i get from its quality product offsets that.

    Also, I like Etisalat, they do a lot of give back. They invest alot on infrastructure development. They have, improved waay more than what they were 5 or 6 years ago. But, people still bitterly remember that Etisalat is behind taking (or keeping) away things they'd like to have. Affordable iPhones, cheap call rates, unblocked VoIP, free internet, fair competitiveness with the other telco the benefits the consumer, not the service provider.

    On their pricing, for example and that’s according to news sources and my personal experience, is still ranked very high in comparison with global standards. In Morocco, 2 years back, at friend's house he had 16MB ADSL that he paid the SP less then $100 per month ... Etisalat is one of the most technically advanced service providers in the world (You know what i do for a living, so trust me on this one) - and UAE is ranked No1 most networked Arab country for the past 3 years and has always had the highest Internet and mobile phone penetration... Why do we pay for a 2mb what less developed countries charge for a 10 and 16 MB? And Dubai/UAE isn't exactly in "the middle of nowhere" .. i think the guys at Emirates will beg to differ... :)

    By Blogger moryarti, at July 11, 2009 at 7:31 AM  

  • Rosh - me too, thats why they got 3rd place ... I believe Etisalat has the capability to become the most admired company in the UAE if they just lossen up a bit.

    By Blogger moryarti, at July 11, 2009 at 7:34 AM  

  • Naseem - You mean Air Arabia? the sharjah based one .. no? I haven't heard many bad things about it. Maybe a couple of disgruntled customers. But nothing major ... do share.

    Saskia and Umar - Banks here have earned their own ranking and DO NOT deserve the right to be compared to other companies - its not fair to the other companies :)

    One day, i dedicate a post to banks and the mofo's that work there. Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by as well ;)

    Saskia - thanks :)

    By Blogger moryarti, at July 11, 2009 at 7:40 AM  

  • asecretwindow: hahaha ... indeed :)

    By Blogger moryarti, at July 11, 2009 at 9:06 AM  

  • "Why do we pay for a 2mb what less developed countries charge for a 10 and 16 MB?"

    Because we technically don't pay tax (:
    and the middle of nowhere thing is meant literally, the UAE isn't adjacent to Europe or the US which is where the internet is.

    I see your point about brand feelings etc; I would say what makes Etisalat the worst is the customer service, it is absolutely pathetically bad. Sometimes they are good, but when you have a problem and you have to call them every day and they tell you it is against policy to speak to a manager it really doesn't do them any favors. I'd also agree with your comment to rosh that they have the potential to become a good company however I don't think the RTA and RERA really have that chance as they are responsible for putting people through salik gates and kicking people out of homes respectively.

    By Blogger samuraisam, at July 11, 2009 at 6:59 PM  

  • Absoluely second your comment on etislut. It's priceless how they rape their customers while at the same time they can't (or won't) provide such with decent backbone bandwidth. Just run with a server in Abu Dhabi vs. one in London or New York.

    RTA, absolutely, yes. I live in an area where we are routed through a SALIK gate while they could save us two kilometres of driving through the worst rubble of a construction site (a.k.a. road) by moving a few cement road blocks by 30 mtrs.

    But No Uno goes to the Dubai Malls. If you want to put Dubai on the map as the number one shopping destination it might help to not charge your customers an average of 60% mark up over prices in europe or the US, not even talking about asia. There is only so many morons around until people catch up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 11, 2009 at 9:44 PM  

  • Kilma!

    By Blogger Salim, at July 14, 2009 at 9:04 AM  

  • oh you don't like RERA?
    I gonna try to convince you otherwise :)

    love your last few blog posts.. amazing stuff.. and finally Gulf News is reporting proper stuff

    By Blogger BuJ, at July 15, 2009 at 7:15 PM  

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