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Mon 22 Apr 2013 08:36 AM

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Resident banned from leaving UAE after 'irregular' cheque

Dubai resident detained by police at airport after landlord filed case over dishonoured cheque

Resident banned from leaving UAE after 'irregular' cheque
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

A Dubai resident was prevented from leaving the UAE last week after a police case was filed against him by his landlord due to an “irregular signature” on one of his rental cheques.

The resident, who asked to remain anonymous, told Arabian Business that he had previously contacted Dubai Properties Group (DPG), his landlord, due to the fact that one of his rental cheques, dated January 1, had not been cashed.

At the time, the man claimed, DPG informed him that there was no need to worry, and that the company would be in touch if there was a problem with the cheque.

However, when the resident tried to pass through immigration at Dubai International Airport to attend a business event in Germany last week, he was detained due to a case being filed against him by DPG.

The man then spent four hours with the police at the airport, before finally being released at Bur Dubai police station.

In a statement, DPG said that it had tried to contact its customer.

“DPG can confirm that the customer’s cheque was rejected by the bank due to the fact that the signature was irregular,” the company said.

“The customer service team subsequently tried to contact the customer on the number provided in the tenancy contract, however this was unsuccessful and as per DPG standard procedures, the case was referred to the authorities.

“DPG can also confirm that the issue has now been resolved.”

However, the resident said that no such attempt had been made to contact him.

“I can confirm that there was no missed call from DPG, no text message, no letter and no email – they have my correct number, and they did at the time,” the man said. “Neither the landlord nor my bank got in touch to let me know that my cheque had not been honoured – and there was certainly no issue with regard to the funds in my account.”

The resident’s bank, Emirates NBD, admitted that it was not its policy to tell customers that their cheques had not been cleared.

“We have reviewed this case and we would like to clarify that the cheque issued has been returned due to signature mismatch and confirm that the same is in line with the bank guidelines set to protect customers’ financial interest and prevent the misuse of cheques,” the bank said in a statement.

“Should there be any technical or human errors, perhaps pertaining to the signature or date on a cheque, it is customary bank procedure to notify the beneficiary at the time of the transaction and it is up to the beneficiary to discuss the matter with the payee. In the case of this dishonoured cheque, the beneficiary was notified.”

Cheques are used in the UAE to underwrite credit cards, loans and guarantee future payments, such as rents, which are charged annually. Bouncing cheques is a criminal offence and not a civil one.

However, no instances of landlords filing cases against clients who have signed cheques incorrectly have so far been made public. 

“It’s a real black hole for renters, and a real lesson for everyone to make sure cheques are cleared properly,” the resident said.

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Aadil 6 years ago

Being detained because of someone else's incompetence. What a disgrace.

George 6 years ago

Strange isn't it. As the tenant is staying at the property, would it not be sensible to leave a note at the house. Or does Common Sense not work anymore.
A lot of trouble for a simple mistake which could have been cleared off professionally. It looks obvious that the tenant was not cheating or running away.

nimby 6 years ago

DPG behaved disgracefully over this.

The bank equally so.

Why would they not tell their own customer that they had rejected his cheque?
Incredible.

Hisham 6 years ago

When are we ever dropping this 20th century payment method? Checks should just be made obsolete as they are highly sensitive to fraud, easy (yes, despite the security measures built in) to replicate and seem to keep getting people in trouble. In many countries checks have even been dropped from history class curricula. How can you make sure your signature is exactly the same if you have to write 10 checks at once?

Red Snappa 6 years ago

I thought all was plain sailing toward implementing a direct debit system in June to replace PDC's, or have medieval opponents from the dark ages managed to get that derailed?

A return to neanderthal financial practices does not send a good message.

RBH 6 years ago

Hisham, as long as the mob are happy with using this 20th century method, then as we Arabs say: "rafa3na el 3ashra."

Sam from Canada 6 years ago

Typical UAE ....jail first...ask later (only if you must..). I think soon the UAE jail population will equal that of the United States (on basis of per capita).

Vicky 6 years ago

Absolutely disgusting. I am sure there are a good number of horror stories of collusion between insensitive land lords and lazy banks, misusing the law of the land. When I was in UAE, I was advised to 'never, ever to let a phone call go un-answered' because a simple act of missed call turn you into an absconder. Well, in this instance apparently even a call wasn't placed. More power!

raj 5 years ago

why does the bank need to put its own customer for criminal offence. why does the bank not inform the account holder about the cheque before returning. atleast the account holder can make some arrangements to clear the cheque.or is it that the bank wants to bounce the cheque and eat fine
i faced the same thing with emirates nbd.
atleast for courtesy sake and humanity basis, bank need to call account holder and inform before bouncing the cheque. or does that 30 fils call costly for the bank