How The Debt Panel helped our readers

Case 1

Debt Panel case: Dubai expat with terminal breast cancer cannot return home to South Africa due to debt issues.

From: IC, Dubai

Date: March 21

IC was suffering with terminal cancer when she contacted us. She has now had her debt cancelled by a bank that filed a police case against her because of a bounced cheque. IC has been battling breast cancer since 2014 and currently has a life expectancy of between four to 10 months. After losing her job in 2012, at one stage she owed Dh500,000 on a loan and two credit cards. She paid off the loan but not the credit cards. Then, in late 2015, police contacted her to say a police case had been raised against her for Dh39,000 for a bounced cheque relating to one of the two credit cards. At the time, she still owed about Dh65,000 on both cards. The police case had prevented her from returning home to her native South Africa when she reached out to The Debt Panel for help. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) cancelled the debt after the case was featured in The National.

In an email to IC, an employee of ADIB said: "I wish you a quick recovery and [hope you] overcome all the difficult circumstances that you [face] with courage and patience. After studying your case, ADIB has exempted you from the rest of the amount and has worked to write it [off]. Also at the same time, the legal action that was filed against you has been released from police station."

IC said: "I am incredibly grateful and overwhelmed by ADIB’s decision and The Debt Panel’s assistance. Many thanks to everyone concerned."

Case 2

Debt Panel case: The Debt Panel passes verdict on UAE residents in dire financial straits

From: Marcus, Sharjah

Date: April 29, 2016

Marcus, whose monthly repayments total more than his entire salary, says his case is close to being resolved. The National has been following his story since he first approached the Debt Panel for help last year. At the time he had debts with three banks, totalling Dh284,600. His repayments amount to about Dh11,112 a month. He earns Dh9,283. Marcus, from the Philippines, who did not want to reveal his full name, took out four loans with annual rates ranging between 28 per cent and 33.36 per cent – two with one bank and the other two with a further two banks. He borrowed the money to finance the rebuilding of a family home that was destroyed in a typhoon, and to cover his mother’s medical bills.

Two banks agreed to reduce his repayments, but a third to which Marcus pays Dh4,836 each month – almost half of his monthly salary – refused following a review until last month. "The sales guy told me that I am entitled for a top-up loan of Dh179,000, so congratulations to me. So there has been an answer to all the prayers that I have been asking for one year now," he says, adding that the amount will cover his other loans too."

Case 3

Debt panel case: Dubai aviation sector employee too stressed to eat or sleep over Dh170,000 debts

From: JR, Dubai

Date: March 7, 2017

JR, an aviation industry employee drowning in Dh170,000 of debt, says a consultant will aid him in his plan to restructure his debts.

JR arrived here from the Philippines in 2011 and started taking on credit. He contacted The Debt Panel because he has seven credit cards, all of which have been maxed out, and a loan. He is still struggling to make ends meet, but is hopeful. "Unfortunately my salary is not enough so I’m still trying to borrow from my friends and family, which I have done before, but unfortunately I didn’t get positive feedback from them," he says.

However, he has been able to restructure his card balances with two banks, and is still in negotiations with others. He has also managed to secure a Dh2,000 refund and the return of a cheque for Dh13,000 he gave to a debt consultant who was unable to help him. "I have a solution in mind to close my dues one by one. I asked the banks for help and they said it was not possible. I already did a restructuring plan myself on my own and it is still continuing," he says.

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