Debt in Dubai

What happens next if you leave Dubai – and your debts – behind? Time Out investigates 91 Comments

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Picture the scene: you’ve just lost your job and you can’t find another one. You have a loan for your car, another for school fees, and one more for your year’s rent. Or you might have a much bigger mortgage for a property that is now in negative equity. What do you do?

Some people have concluded that their only option is to cut their losses, book a flight, accept that they are never coming back and leave without paying the debts. But is that the end of the story or the start of a much bigger problem?

Calum McClure is managing partner for Decol Debt Collections, a company with associated credit offices in 105 countries. Not surprisingly, business is booming. ‘The phone is red hot, it’s on a scale like never before,’ he says. ‘When you think about the amount of credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and auto loans out there, what we’re seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg. When you get house prices dropping by up to 50 per cent, who is going to cover that?’

He says new tools will be introduced that will make it far easier to trace individuals overseas. And with more and more money at stake, it won’t be a case of debtors ignoring a few toothless warning letters. ‘You’ll be on record and the laws of that country will be applied in order to reclaim the money,’ says McClure. ‘In some countries like Jordan, for example, you go to jail till you can pay, so you are really in trouble. But I will send that notice everywhere. German law doesn’t let you get away with anything. And if I need to find you, you’ll be found, unless you’ve got an awful lot of money and get plastic surgery in Brazil. I’ll hire private investigators. It’ll be a skeleton in your closet for the rest of your life.’

To avoid the worst, McClure suggests that people talk to their bank in advance. ‘Ultimately they would like their money back,’ he says, ‘so I suggest you talk about rescheduling your payment plan.’

Unfortunately that doesn’t always prove to be a simple procedure. Steven, an architect from the UK, moved to Dubai last October. He joined a respectable company where business seemed to be booming, but literally two weeks later, everything changed. ‘They shed about 20 per cent of their workforce overnight and I had to go as I was still on probation,’ he says.

It was the start of a night- mare that is still not resolved. ‘The week before I was made redundant, I took out a loan to cover a year’s rent on an apartment. My employers were obliged to tell the bank that I no longer worked for them, which they duly did. I went to see the bank to reassure them that I could make the first couple of payments while I looked for a job and they said that was fine and to keep them posted. Then the next day they froze my bank account without telling me.’

To make matters worse, the bank told Stephen he wasn’t allowed to leave the country for Christmas unless he had a guarantor in place for his loan – something which he said he would never expect a friend to do. ‘It was actually quite frightening – one minute I was treated like a valued customer, then suddenly I was made to feel like a criminal,’ he says. ‘You would imagine that as long as I could pay my instalments it would be OK. I told them that I had enough money to pay in January and February and that my partner would pay from then on when she arrived here, but they weren’t interested. You tell them, “I can’t eat, I can’t get to job interviews,” and they’re not interested.’

Steven’s situation hasn’t yet been resolved, though his partner is now in the country making the payments while he looks for work. His bank account is still frozen, however. ‘I like to think I have a responsible attitude,’ he says. ‘But paying a year’s rent upfront is a disaster waiting to happen. In other countries you have a get-out clause from your contract and all you lose is your deposit; here you have no recourse at all. I imagine that a lot of people will just get out of the country before their bank finds out what has happened to them.

However, Stephen Ballentine, a senior legal consultant for Galadari & Associates, warns against anyone contemplating a swift exit. ‘It’s not just a question of being blacklisted for credit in the future. Someone could commence proceedings in the country where you go and your assets might then be vulnerable.’ And Jim Delkousis, head of litigation and regulatory at DLA Piper Middle East, agrees that the debt-related problems won’t necessarily disappear the moment you board an outbound flight. ‘The question of whether your debts will follow you is a complicated one and certainly one that you should look at very carefully, as well as take advice on. There are circumstances in which they could make life very difficult for you.’

By Jeremy Lawrence
Time Out Dubai,

User reviews:

Posted by: shobha on 07 Nov ' 14 at 05:36

I left Dubai due ot some family emergency and when i approached th e bank to clear my credit card bills and close my account they obliged and did so accoring to me. But after 2 yrs of returning i get a call from a collecting agency in India saying i have a pending amount on my credit card. I have no papers on repayment as i had come on emergency. I was ntoable to pay the money as i had lost my hubby by then and havign financial crises. Still i want to clear my debts with a minimal amount how can i do this and be out of ban.

Posted by: zoir on 01 Nov ' 14 at 02:55

hi . im a partner in the company and we dont have the bank statement, and our company is not working at the moment, it will be working in 2 months so thats why i am requesting for the loan ,if there is some private lender who can provide loan with high or low interest its ok, i am agree, i can deposit a cheque and passport

Posted by: Ismat on 10 Apr ' 12 at 02:30

Hi everyone,

My name is Ismat and looking to help out my boyfriend in providing him the right information it might sound like a Cliche!!! however this is what had done to him self and seeking answers to his question

My boyfriend had used credit cards of around 10 local banks in uae though due to drecit crunch he recently lost his job the process was slow but finally it took place 4 months back,he is no more in dubai and sadly had to vacate the place in feburary without informing anyone and resides now in New york

What we want to know is he is now missing in dubai for last 2 months is there a chance to return back?

Since he is not able to pay these local banks anymore due to "No-Job" dillema can these bank trace him in Newyork by any chance and bring him back to dubai for any charges?

Any one who can help us we shall be grateful frankly what im suggesting him is not to come back and live his life even if he wanted to pay he needs a job and current market is pothetic ami right in my sugesstion as he dealt with all local bank who might not be able to trace him all the way to new york??

We are looking for a geneuine answer,it is agreed that what he did would be a crime but what should one do when there is no excape plan?? should he die behind bars for the rest of his life??

please reply me in personal at it will be great if people with personal experince or advocates can share as it is all about helping a person in need

Thanks a bunch

Posted by: anonymous on 13 Dec ' 11 at 11:44

I was on the same boat with Stephen. When I finished my contract in my previous company I decided not to renew my contract since salary is already delayed for 4 months. And I could no longer cope up with my finances. I got my gratuity for working with my previous company and it was in a for of cheque, and it should be deposited in my account in a bank where i got a personal loan and a credit card which is around 65000AED. I deposited my cheque and yes my account was blocked and I could not use my gratuity fee to search for a new job. Luckily, I got a new one and now I only have 15000AED left loan and still paying. Hopefully I will be finishing all my debts by next year and will never entertain any loan or credit forms again here in UAE. NEVER!!!!

Posted by: Raja Ali on 10 Sep ' 11 at 12:09

Hi I'm Ali and due to reasons i had to leave dubai leaving behind a card payment of around 75,000 from 5 diffeernt bank/NBFC....and also a loan of around 24000aed. if i dont pay what can happen????
can the banks do anything? the collection agencies in india already called me few times and it was told to them that i m in dubai!!!
Please i really dont want to pay !!!!!

Posted by: Dudu on 08 Sep ' 11 at 18:20

IS there any local institute or company who'd advise you on how to deal with your credits?

Posted by: bull dog on 30 Aug ' 11 at 11:48

Just a word, dubai and the UK do not have a reciprocal agreement so nobody can chase you for a dubai debt wthin England, Scottland, Wales or Ireland. Harrassment from debt collectors is a crimminal offence, nobody is allowed to send heavies around to your door. lastly owing money in the UK is NOT a criminal offence in the UK so there is no arrest warrents issued or upheld. Just do not go back to dubai.

Posted by: sami on 26 Aug ' 11 at 13:51

Guys im in a nightmare, I left 3 loans behind me 20k each and they still chasing me by phone although i left in Oct 2008. My problem is that im applying for a family reunion in Europe with my wife and im afraid to be rejected because of my criminal record in dubai. I have never done fingerprints for any crime in dubai and never been to a police station..Do i have a criminal record in Dubai?????? plz answer me
Im egyptian by the way.
Thx Guys

Posted by: tom tolna on 12 Jul ' 11 at 12:03

This article is utter nonsense. I left Dubai with about 200,000 in debt from credit cards...In the past year they have sent me a couple of snotty emails but's that's it....They don't have my phone number or correct address, or even my correct name...I filled in one application saying my address was 10 Banana Street!!
Really if they're going to be that idiotic then they deserve to get people skipping.....I f I get a call from Callum Maclure, I'll tell him to come and get it!

Posted by: D. Dennison on 06 Jun ' 11 at 09:29

Interesting articles. As an investigator I am amazed that while holding of passports in Dubai is illegal, it is commonly practiced, and ignored by local officials. That debtors prison is used to extort money from the relatives and friends of those iimprisoned. It is easy to say, "live within your means," difficult to do when employers lie to you, jobs are lost, and wages are cut, when you must pay a year of rent upfront, and landlords frequently will not allow you to have a roomate to share expenses. Dubai's systemand laws amount to nothjing more than sanctioned kidnapping. I have a friend in this situation, and I will get her and her son out of Dubai, at all costs.

Good luck

Posted by: no other option on 02 Jun ' 11 at 15:41

i left dubai in june 2009 with nearly 300,000 AED in debt. all becasue i was told not to come back to work in in the summer of 2009, this was when the credit crunch really effected dubai. owing money but with no job, and having no benefits system like the uk or HR procedure to give you the best advice... what do you do? well it was the head of collections at my bank who told me to leave the country while i could otherwise i would go to jail. so the answer is, if you dont have a choice but to go to jail then our chouce has already been made. such a shame really as i loved the pleace and people but now i will never return.

Posted by: R on 09 May ' 11 at 18:58

I had to leave dubai because my father passed away and i lost my job. now i started to get emails about the debt i owe to the banks

i am starting to pay little by little as i do not want to be in trouble but i know i cannot enter dubai again

Posted by: pinkyred on 15 Apr ' 11 at 18:52

is there a chance that the bank will file a police complaint to the guarantor even though the person he/she guaranteed are still in the country and still has contact but can't afford to pay the debt?

Posted by: Naveed on 14 Apr ' 11 at 23:58

Hi All,
I lived in Dubai since my childhood and I am 33 years old now
It's really hard to leave the place where u have spend ur whole life
Leave Your friends culture and many many more
I pray for all ppl who are stuck in this unpleasant time and request The Greatest visionary Leader H.H. Sheikh Muhammad to find a solution for the expartirates which may comfort both the lender and debtor

Posted by: georgina on 02 Feb ' 11 at 22:34

shame on you, dubai laws does not apply to other countries...

Posted by: Ana on 24 Jan ' 11 at 13:18

My friend paid all his debts and still rotting in Dubai prison

Posted by: Angry on 04 Jan ' 11 at 12:51

Edited by

Pay your debts and then there will not be problem... simple as that! Whether Time Out or other publications are in the wrong, any country where you do not pay your debts with ask you repay them. Dubai or the Middle East in general has banking culture which is a little odd, however, what do you expect from a country where most of the locals dont work drive around in 'daddies' cars, and money grows on trees... its not NORMAL place... plastic, full of ************ and it attracts people who are drawn by the glamour of the place. Given there are some people here who are here to earn money and help family etc.. Enough... PAY YOUR DEBTS and then there is no problem...

Posted by: Muhammad on 26 Oct ' 10 at 11:27

Can we ask the debt collectors to get our money back from developers??

Posted by: Belle on 01 May ' 10 at 13:34

Please check this site and they can help you. I am now getting their program to ease my debt. I pray that we succeed. I will keep you all posted.

Posted by: anonymous on 18 Apr ' 10 at 06:16

Calum McClure is managing partner for Decol Debt Collections
i think we know where this article came from...banking procedures are very different here compared to other countries..its like they set up a trap and waiting for you to end up with..
i had a friend who lost her job becoz of the economic crisis and she was paranoid to look for another job that would end up the same kind of company giving them delayed salaries for she went back home ( Philipines) and left about 800 dhs unpaid in her credit card.she said that the bank keeps calling her about 2 weeks telling her to pay her debt which rises now to 4k dhs and keeps threatening her. and then the bank finally told her that they will issue legal actions and put her to jail if ever she will come back to dubai..thats i!!t..all the banks can do is threatened the debtors.i agree to the most commentors here..the bank wont waste their money and time just to pursue those tiny,mini amount of debts..they'll be spending much more than the debt if they pursue you in other countries..these debts are called international debts and the banks foresees it and expacted that to happened.thats why there are interests and credit shields to cover those unpaid advice is..if possible and if you still can,pay your debts even in a minimal amount.and if ever your life in UAE really smudged into worst,well you might consider getting a ticket back home.and expect the bank to call several times and arranging a deal not to come back in UAE or else...spend time in fortunate enough to still have my job..and can pay for my cards..but if worst comes to worst..i know what are my options...

Posted by: jarim on 04 Mar ' 10 at 08:42

Its absolute shame that the article is used to scare people instead of providing them a way out in sucha situation. The banks here are not very professional to aproach these issues correctly, If they approach it correctly they would be able to get more money back rahter than blocking the man from doing anything.
the other side of the story. If you escape from UAE, banks can do nothing to get the money back (at least in India) by law except using some Debt recovery agencies to intimidate people of dire consequences. Legally they can do nothing. so if anyone approaches even for a reduced amount or with A THREAT , SIMPLY TELL THEM TO TAKE WHATEVER STEPS THEY WANT TO TAKE AND I AM NOT GOING TO PAY ANY SINGLE PENNY. CAUSE BY LAW THEIR HANDS ARE TIED AND IF THEY COME UP WITH THREAT FILE POLICE COMPLAINT OR PRIVATE COMPLKAINT BEFORE COURT AGAINST THIS DEBT RECOVERE AGENCIES

Posted by: brian on 10 Feb ' 10 at 15:00

i think, the best thing that this magazine can do is to give sound advice to the people who are in the same situation with steven,i know a lot of people who ran away from their debts,nobody chased them.last nov 2009, while in singapore,i met 10 people who escape from dubai and they are all hqppy because they escape from hell,which is dubaim have you seen any country where the debt collector is the police,it is only here in dubai, in the 1st place, why they are helping the banks to clear their own mess,all the banks are greedy

Posted by: jun on 09 Feb ' 10 at 06:00

People nowadays are focused in solving problem. How about preventing it? Of course we can....


Leave within your means. Avoid extravagant lifestyle and unnecessary expenses for the family. Simple people are more happy than those people with extravagant lifestyle.

Negotiate or pay your debt/loan. Otherwise it could make your life/generation difficult in the future. Its only time could tell for the aftermath of good deeds or wrong doing.

Posted by: BT on 18 Dec ' 09 at 12:28

Distasteful indeed.

Like everything else, this also seems to have been overdone to the point of irritation.

Any debt in Dubai holds very little or no water in your home country. It will cost the bank more to recover and is viable if its a million dollars or a huge sum. 50,000 AED is not something the bank looks at as money. Its not even loose change even if you multiple that by a couple of thousand.

It would be right to find ways to pay your debt like restructuring or finding a new job etc. But Banks are totally un-co-operative in this regards. They all feel you have some money here or in your home country which you can bring to rescue yourself.

I arrived here when the disaster already happended. But the attitute of banks and Govt. organisations hasn't changed yet. They still are living that luxury coz they still have a job.

I am not suree why I am writing this but I feel its about time people realise that there is more to things then building infrastructure.

Posted by: zaza on 16 Dec ' 09 at 06:52

I left Dubai on July, and im now living in Egypt, my home country. and finally they got my phone number and called me and they wanna capture me.., if anybody tell me what to do

Posted by: Bob the Builder on 27 Nov ' 09 at 17:49

Simple, don't go to Dubai!

A country that stops you at the airport and sends you back to your hotel to pay a $3 phone bill doesn't deserve your skills.

Posted by: :-( on 17 Nov ' 09 at 12:40

well i was unlucky enough to be in the horrible position of jumping ship......My debt was not extortionate less than 50, 000 and i have returned to my home country and the debt has been sold on to debt collectors here, who phone me up to 7 times a my new place of work....appalling ! it was never a decision i wanted to make to leave dubai with such debt but could not be in the country any longer due to personal circumstance and felt due to the strict laws of the country i had no choice but to leave...Be warned they will follow you....and they will add a hell of a lot onto what you originally owed !!!

Posted by: ali on 03 Nov ' 09 at 01:41

you can undrestand the mind of maneger of dubai by reading this article
it is really horrible to be in this situation but they want to kill you for nothing you did
is this my fault that i loos my job ?
the best way is scape
ok come i catch me
i have talked to bank they told me it`s not our problem we want our money back
i loos all of my life 6 years working and i scaped now they are want to put me in a closet for rest of my life tank you dubai the city of dream

Posted by: tumakbo na on 29 Jul ' 09 at 14:45

Stupid article...everybody knows that the laws in dubai does not apply to any other countries, debt in dubai is punishable by imprisonment whereas in other countries its only a civil case, it is imposible for banks in dubai to track anybody who fled and also very expensive...this article is only to scare people, and besides what is the insurance for, they deduct it when they approved any loan...

Posted by: Shafqat Rasool on 17 Jul ' 09 at 11:03

Hi i have arround AED 65000/- credit cards loans on my head, unformtunatley i have lost my job in January 2009 and found an other job in Dubai but with low salary but now the minimum payment of credit cards is more than my salary and i am unable to get a person loan at this time, i dont know what should i do at this time because banks are calling me everyday and make my life miserable. any advice

Posted by: vhinci on 11 Jul ' 09 at 20:40

Dear Time Out Dubai

First and for most u dont have to scared poeple who has a big problem about their debt, instead incourage them or help them how to solve the problem that they are going through right now, like just giving some advice how to settle their debt. Thanks.


Posted by: fazal on 19 Mar ' 09 at 01:35

After reading all the comments, I think it the high time for introducing debt consolidation in Dubai. There are a lot of people who still has a good job and want to clear off debts but high intalments of loans force them to take abother loan or a credit card and this situation becomes never ending story.

Posted by: Malik on 15 Feb ' 09 at 07:38

I would like to say "Leaving UAE is easy with the debts but the consequances are worse for the career and family of debtor to bank".
I would like to share my story, I lost my job in December 2008. Fortunately I got another job with a Multinational Company in Dubai with more good package. I contacted bank and informed about the change. They blocked my Account as I was having a personal loan. Finally after providing the salary certificate and stamped visa page of passport they unblocked. Here is my question. IF SOMEONE COULDNOT FIND A JOB, IS HE COVERED UNDER INSURANCE WHICH WE ARE PAYING AT THE TIME OF GETTING LOAN FROM BANK, ALSO WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF CREDIT SHEILD INSURANCE ON CREDIT CARD. Kindly shareyou prefect knowledge on this issue to help so many people who lost there jobs and are in UAE. As this is not the intention by the debtors for non payment, this is natuaral disaster in the whole world.

Posted by: unknown on 13 Feb ' 09 at 14:19

Dear Sir,

I am seriously scared after reading you article.

However in my opinion & to encounter situation like this, I thought banks should send a letter / email / SMS to all the customers having personal loan, intimating the various ways to tackle the situation.

Since I believe that in this situation none of your friends would come forward to take your guarantee & if you don’t have money to pay back all money at once.

I believe that this sort of information would help people to deal with this issue with more responsibility.

Posted by: Harry Nurpan on 13 Feb ' 09 at 10:44

I did read with interest the comments on this side. Whilst I was appalled about the Storie of Time
Out. It raised the question in me do they do the same research with the other Articles as well?
Is the Time Out award done in the same way?
Highly subjective and influenced by very minimal or no research
I think Time Out is feeling the pressure as well as with decreasing Numbers of Expatriates in Dubai (left or in Jail) less People will have the time or the money to buy you magazine, especially if you Bank account are frozen.
However as we all agree it did not help one single bit. Hope there will be a Report in short with some solution.

Posted by: NO HOPE on 13 Feb ' 09 at 06:47

this is realy a scary article. Instead of giving us a solution, you come to us with STRAIGHT up threats!! WE WILL HUNT YOU DOWN!!!

This was very dis-tastefull :( I have my family here and we also need to pay our rent up front, schools up front. You can not avoid it. I am lucky to still have my job, but if i would to losse it...I would not go to the bank...i would get my family out of here VERY VERY QUICK!! I will stay and try to find a job..if not...I WILL GO :-) happy hunting for me then!!

Posted by: george on 12 Feb ' 09 at 19:55

i have lived in the uae 4 years i lft the uae and i didint pay my debt,do u think they will follow me,se any advise thx

Posted by: Billy Bob on 12 Feb ' 09 at 11:17

Time Out is the worst publication on the planet. All it contains is a bunch of PR and Ads that go to the highest bidder.

Posted by: car hunter on 12 Feb ' 09 at 10:54

good afternoon, what happens to the cars after they have been abandoned or repossessed - do they have an auction as they do back home ??

any clues and advice !!

Posted by: Sandra on 12 Feb ' 09 at 09:59

What a shameful article!!!

Posted by: fayssal on 12 Feb ' 09 at 08:25

AAhhhhh!!!!! the propaganda! looool

It looks as someone has been asked from someone to publish this to scare someone from leaving the country without paying someone!

Shame indeed!

Posted by: BD on 12 Feb ' 09 at 07:58

This article is so obviously a 'Goverment Warning' on behalf of the banks and other local commercial interests in Dubai designed to intimidate the expatriate community.
I imagine Time Out was instructed to publish this quasi piece and in doing so slavishly cast aside any journalistic integrety it might have had.
If you do not have the courage to write honestly and resist external influences then your magazine and the other newspapers that follow your example will not be worth reading save for a moment of brief cynical amusement.

Posted by: Anita2 on 11 Feb ' 09 at 14:32

I agree with Ravi - great idea, poor execution. The real issue here is the bank's refusal to negotiate payment plans and general common sense. The article would have been better centred around this issue as well as the up front rent problem although this appears to be changing as landlords become desperate to rent their properties in the crisis. I am currently looking for somewhere to live and have seen some advertised for a more sensible 6 cheques.

The banking system here in general needs to catch up with the rest of the world.

Posted by: Martin on 11 Feb ' 09 at 14:21

For those people who get stuck with a 1 year upfront rental agreement and no longer able to pay, you can always opt to end the agreement and minimize damage. By ending an agreement you pay max. 2 months rent. The remaining period of paid rent should be returned to you by the landlord. This is part of the rental committee policy. Of course, if your landlord himself is in a financial crisis, I am not sure he will pay back. He might not have the money.

Posted by: Annon on 11 Feb ' 09 at 14:18

You must have definitely been sponsored by a couple of banks to write such a dispicable article. Instead of giving helpgul hints, this article literally scare you out. Ahame on you.

Posted by: Mazhar Mohad on 11 Feb ' 09 at 12:40

I quite fail to understand all those people calling this article a disgrace and threatning will never read Time Out... Ya right. Oh come on, do you all just whine on everything and anything? There is tv, beach, creek, malls etc you can spend varities. Instead of calling Time out disgrace, why don't you give some valuable advise if you have any or suggest a solution so if a person from concerned authorities read, he may put it up with decision makers. Use your energy in positive manner rather than see everything through negative eyes.

By all means, I see this article as a warning only, not threatening. Do not take loans to pay rent, do not take loans to pay school fees. We all need to stand up and force this market into monthly payments structure. If they fail to gain a customer for one cheque, we will all see a shift. Don't we all see it in real estate already.

When i call in to enquire about rent and the moment they say anything less than 12 cheques, I tell them, talk to me if only 12 or more and i hang up. And you will be amazed how many people called me back after few days asking if i was looking for rent and would not only offer low

Posted by: default on 11 Feb ' 09 at 12:37

Can anyone actually give some usefull advice concerning this???

Posted by: Carlos on 11 Feb ' 09 at 12:11

I don't think the banks paid Time out for this article: After teading this who is going to speak to his/her bank unless they already have left the country?

The bias comes from the guy running the collection agency: I don't know about Europe, but regarding North America, he is completely wrong. He couldn't touch me and if he kept harassing me I would be the one to have His assets frozen (his nice international offices).

The reality is that the bank do charge higher interest because of the risk of debt default. Here they charge even higher rates probably to reflect the high proportion of expats. It is unfortunate that we are going through a global crisis but I don't think that people want to cheat their creditors, and the vast majority don't.

Finally, why am I not surprised too hear about these kind of practices from the bank? With such crappy service in the best of times....

Posted by: Keep the Faith on 11 Feb ' 09 at 10:32

No one wants to be on this situation. This article provides information to the public and it matters on how you will perceive it. Rather than being sour grape why not conceive it in practical and constructive way. I maybe still have a job and hopefully fortunate to stay towards the end of the year. Banks do provide different loans depending on individual requirements, we all have full responsibility of whatever the outcome of misfortunate events considering we have enjoyed this bank money. Any loans or debts will always have consequences at the end. Banks in UAE are different when dealing with delinquent, they are mean, rude and no hold bars! An experienced i would never forget with bank collectors and i feel sorry for them as they have the most stressful job and degradeable profession. Have you ever not wish, clock should turn back again......and maybe we can amend things that we should have not done before and could have avoided this middle east calamity.

Posted by: Lyndon on 11 Feb ' 09 at 09:37

to timeout: why don't you publish another article that follows this one up re rent contract laws in connection with the labor law?
i didn't feel good after reading this one

Posted by: unknown on 11 Feb ' 09 at 09:29

Unreal and such a horrifying presentation to sad saga. Problem was highlighted about debts in dubai and no solution was provided to its valued reader.
Is there any legal coverage for redundant expats? how do you get by in case you are stuck in a situation? is travel ban and jail time only option in UAE? would timeout investigate and let its reader know?

Posted by: unknown on 11 Feb ' 09 at 09:29

Unreal and such a horrifying presentation to sad saga. Problem was highlighted about debts in dubai and no solution was provided to its valued reader.
Is there any legal coverage for redundant expats? how do you get by in case you are stuck in a situation? is travel ban and jail time only option in UAE? would timeout investigate and let its reader know?

Posted by: Ahmed on 11 Feb ' 09 at 08:52

I think this is all really Humbug.

If the banks were really so efficient at tracing & recovering payments...would we have a credit crunch in the first place?

I may tend to agree that this article may have been sponsored by some of the banks exposed to credit risk?

Posted by: ap on 11 Feb ' 09 at 07:01

Get real people - I'm absolutely dumbfounded how many idiotic responses there are on this page. Time Out has addressed an issue that is often glossed over, but which we should all be aware of. It doesn't matter whether the fundamental issues are right or wrong, these are the facts, which means this is the Government of Dubai's position. Instead of spouting vitriol at the bearer of bad news we should all be putting steps in place to cushion ourselves if the worst should happen. Whether that is multiple bank accounts, keeping savings abroad, minimizing loans by asking your company for a rent cheque that's deducted from your salary - there are lots of ways to lower the risk factor. This is a reality folks, if you don't like it, leave now before your employer shoves you out the door.

Posted by: unknown on 11 Feb ' 09 at 06:21

please take note of the first few lines from the writer mentioned the company name and debt collecting firm where this article is obviously promoting. i pity on your way of advertising. shame!

Posted by: Anonymous on 11 Feb ' 09 at 06:21

whatever the article stipulates...if scaremongering, biased, sponsored by banks etc etc.....I think we need to be honest and admit that lots of people have taken out loans for cars/houses etc. which they would never have done, or could have done, in their home country, i.e. lived above their means.......and it is their obligation to cover their loans and I don't think banks can be blamed for trying to get their money back.

Banks are also partly to blame for having given loans too much and too easy.......

Posted by: David Hanson on 11 Feb ' 09 at 05:56

I definitely think this is a pathetic piece of journalism... I'll give TimeOut the benefit of the doubt that they were lazy in not bothering to write any genuine article around these loosely veiled threats rather than that they suucumbed to outside pressures. However, I did expect better and will take anything they write from now on with a large pinch of salt!

Posted by: notafanofhsbc on 11 Feb ' 09 at 05:32

My friend went to hsbc to try to extend the term of their existing loan for rent, after 6 months of already making payments (to make the monthly payments more affordable) and the bank refused. They are still employed in the same job and have a salary cert showing a pay increase since they applied for the loan. How is this kind of inflexibility helping the bank to recover its debt?

If the banks lending criteria was too loose, contributing to these problems initially, the least they can do is provide some assistance to the existing customers who want to pay off their debt.

No wonder there are record numbers of cars being left at the airport as people just try to survive the "crisis" by skipping.

Posted by: DO THE RIGHT THING on 10 Feb ' 09 at 17:17


Posted by: Nasir on 10 Feb ' 09 at 11:50

I think the banks need to relaize that they have taken a risk when they provide a loan and thats why they get interest.

If somebody is unable to pay back their loan the only recourse the bank has to liquidate the security they have e.g sell the property however for personal loans/ house rent loans they cant do any thing . may be take over the rented place and put it on rent themselves.

whats the benefit of the credit/life insurance

Posted by: mohamad on 10 Feb ' 09 at 11:35

I agree that this article is not called for. Instead I think a more balanced articel would have addressed the lack of balance between the rent contracts and the laws regulating them with the labor law. If a person that takes out a loan for his rent based on an employment contract and then is made redundant, the company that made him redundant shold pay the rent loan off since they arbitrarily fired him with no work related cause. Hence in a country where you need to make one year rent in advance, the labor law should not include a limit on the compensation for arbitrary termination but should be linked to the financial damage that result from sudden termination. Instead companies should provide accomodation and hence when they terminate an employee he can have a clean exit with no debt for rent. I trust from now on no expat is going to buy a house here and would rent a car rather than buy one

Posted by: shocked on 10 Feb ' 09 at 11:18

Terrible piece...I am totally shocked at Timeout for publishing this. What about the real people who are facing sleepless nights, stress, worry and anxiety over their situation. Shame on you. Last time I bother to read the Timeout for anything. I am totally disgusted!

Posted by: Dhiraj on 10 Feb ' 09 at 11:10

Dear Timeout Dubai,

How much were you paid to write this by the Banks. Shame on you for scaremongering.

Posted by: Edward Rodrigues on 10 Feb ' 09 at 10:58

shame on you guys........instead of providing useful tips to manage ones finances for people who have been victim of this credit crisis u guys are threatening people to make things more scary.............i suggest you shut down this site immediately

Posted by: unknown on 10 Feb ' 09 at 10:55

Yes - it is scary and everybody who made this experience knows how hart it is to solve the situation. The people who shouting around that this article stresses too much...guys - if you know what will happen then you have a minimal chance to prevent you from that!

I made the same experience though I had a new job!!! I lost my job, got in trouble with the bank because of exactly "talk to your bank" found another job but no new visa because of a previously filed case. Do you think your bank is friendly enough to give you a chance to solve the situation? They should start to think more logical. It would help even them to get it done!

And yes it is right! They will search you everywhere! I got emails to my personal accounts with very "rough" informations what will happen with me and my family if I am unable to pay... I don't think so it is the finest way even if they know where I am.

At the end to finalize it: YOU ARE A CRIMINAL when you loose your job and are unable to pay. Forget federal law or whatever they tell you in Dubai... YOU ARE A CRIMINAL - means you will go to jail!!! And the question now: How you wanna pay in jail? Try to answer that question!

Posted by: Anita on 10 Feb ' 09 at 10:52

The article is what it is - "A TYPICAL "- you cannot offer a solution when there isn't one! In the the UAE you have no rights or bankruptcy laws so people have no other recourse BUT to leave!

Good luck to anyone who makes the mistake of trying to speak to the Bank and get help. I made the mistake of trying to do exactly this - consolidate my cards - started the process on 15th June 2008 - till today it is not resolved! AND it is not from a want of trying!!!

Posted by: Unknown on 10 Feb ' 09 at 10:46

I don't have enough swear words to describe how despicable this article is...
So to summarize, you, Time Out are a disgrace to journalism...I will never buy or read your magazines again

Posted by: Ruth on 10 Feb ' 09 at 10:31

Coping with Debt in Dubai is the title of this article so why does it not give ANY advice on coping with Debt in Dubai? Why is it a endorsement of a gloating idiot who is trying to scare people into a heart attack?

Shame on you time out I am unsubscribing to your online magazines and will NEVER buy your print magazine again as I know understand where your loyalties lie, with the Banks, with the property developers, with the Hotel owners but not with us your readers!!!

Posted by: Aiden Sullivan on 10 Feb ' 09 at 10:10

I am shocked that Timeout have published such an article, it was completely uncalled for, thousands of people are worried enough through no fault of their own, and with no laws to protect them - and then this. It's timeout in buying Timeout in the future.

Posted by: David on 10 Feb ' 09 at 10:10

Which bank paid you to write this article ?

Posted by: ___ on 10 Feb ' 09 at 10:10

absolutely pathetic article, i expected something from timeout that would be constructive and offer advise!! this is a spineless article, Your readers look to you for different pieces of advice and information, not to be threatened!!
i havent lost my job (yet) but after reading this, i know what risk the majority of people would take! this is not civilised

Posted by: Bill on 10 Feb ' 09 at 10:08

The article may seem brutal, but it's just stating the facts. As other people have pointed out, though, the advice to "talk to your bank" is worthless, since as soon as banks think you can't pay your debts they will place a travel block on you. If you can't leave the country to find work and you can't find a new job here, then you're going to end up in jail.

Seriously, who would decide to own up to the bank and face the real possibility of years of jail time when they can simply go home and work out a new repayment plan there, without the fear of ending up in prison?

For most Western expats, the legal consequences they face in their own countries are far more humane and sensible than those they face here. Robert is right - until the systems here change, things will only get worse.

If just one tiny bit of good comes out of this whole sorry situation, though, it will be the long-overdue realisation from the authorities here that the system of paying for a year's rent in advance is ridiculously outdated and utterly unsustainable and needs to be officially outlawed. More people are probably in debt here due to rent loans than anything else.

Posted by: Julia on 10 Feb ' 09 at 10:07

What a nasty article, unhelpful and scaremongering - shame on Timeout for adding to people's worries and stresses. Enough to push some people over the edge! Absolutley nothing positive or helpful in publishing this article apart from a freebie advertisement for Mr McClure's company. What a threatening thug of a man McClure sounds. Still someone has to make money out of other's misery but Mr McClure needs to remember what goes around comes around! ... Nothing at all helpful about this article, just a threat notice.
Perhaps Timeout should now consider publishing a follow up article to include a more positive and helpful approach to the problems people are facing at present.

Posted by: The One on 10 Feb ' 09 at 10:01

An outrageous article at a time as such...instead of giving people advice on what has to be done this article is just trying to scare the people reading it.Looks like its an hopeless effort to keep people from making a swift exit because once you reach your home country there is no law to recover the money you owe to the bank.So that is that!!!!!

Posted by: unknown on 10 Feb ' 09 at 09:57

Shame on you Timeout, who ever wrote this article should be fired!!!!I thought this article would be constructive and helpful not threatning and useless! Thankfully I am not in a difficult situation but if I was thanks to your bully like article I would jump on a plane a face the music in another country!

Posted by: unknown on 10 Feb ' 09 at 09:53

I m seriously scared from this article, timeout should have writen about what we can do to have a safe exit, if we don’t have a guarantor in this country, don’t have enough money to pay or neither any job.

Posted by: Carlo Gregorio on 10 Feb ' 09 at 09:43

I think everyone knows that each one of us are potential victim of this global crisis and it is NOT helpful to everyone if we will read some threathening (as some says) articles regarding this crisis. I'm not against with the article issued by Timeout but I think its better to issue some articles pertaining to some solutions or "ways how to...".

Posted by: Jorjiea on 10 Feb ' 09 at 09:40

I think the question here now is, what will be the next step when you just lost your source of income and you got an existing liabilities to take care of. The suggestion of McClure is really a good idea and every people in this country (everyone,i assumed got loans and credit cards, and if height is the basis of this kind of status we will all be as small as dwarfs ;P) everyone should know how to communicate and talk to their banks and on the other hand, banks should now be more helpful and considerate on their valued customers considering the current situation and am sure that their customers had helped them a lot by then by giving them a business way before this things happens and i am sure that nobody as in NOBODY in this world would want to have a Centavo of DEBT from anyone or in any financial institution.

I just got into the same situation like Stephen and it is really the worst days of my life, i don't know if Stephen and I are having the same bank???-- And, being honest to this bank just turns me into a Criminal begging those Judge at AUH and Dubai Court just for me to get out of the country and change my visa from residence to visit coz running away from my debt is my last resort-- However, i am still a criminal coz i lost a job.. how is that? And to make it worst, they freeze my account for 9 months even though i haven't been a deliquent customer coz i do have enough funds to pay my monthly obligations andthe banks suddenly realized after checking my bank history that i have never miss a single payment coz it was covered by my end of service benefits and they checked when i am already transferring to another bank..

The situation right now of everybody in this country is really at risk and no matter what kind of position you have, where you from --- I think,banks here needs to change their procedures in doing their marketing strategy of getting a customer, they are nice calling you when they obviously need you to run their business and in just one second they will tell you a lot of things that you can't believe as if it's your bestfriend or parents should be telling you and all without HUMANITARIAN CONSIDERATION- and i know for sure, that this colectors themselves got their debts tooo....(wake up you people!!!)

I t's just a matter of consideration i think and understanding as well as giving everyone else a hope that everything has it's ending-- just like what happened to me. By the way, not all collection officers are rude, some of them are nice too... Just need to know how to communicate with them properly...But running away from your debts will just lead you to the worst situation.. there is always a solution to every problem and you just need to talk to the Right Person with AUTHORITY..

Posted by: unknown on 10 Feb ' 09 at 09:39

i think the article was sponsored by a bank or debt collector company.

Posted by: HASSAN on 10 Feb ' 09 at 09:38

Trust me its to espansive fro the bank to pursure a case if the amount is lower than a million.


Posted by: Ravi Shankar on 10 Feb ' 09 at 09:31

1st the rubbish about redundancy rights - now scaremongering on the dont run away rights.

And you simply cannot claim that you have investigated. It is so one-sided that it is absurd.

Did you ask a single bank how much 'bad debt' it rights off each and every year? It is part and parcel of doing business, particularly in the Middle East

Did you talk to any of the many, many people who are currently in jail for debt - looking at a bleak future becuase they are unable to pay their bills? And if you did would you still be advocating the same advice?

All you did was talk to debt collectors who said that could / may / would find you. More appropriate for the Daily Mail that Time Out!

Great idea - poor execution.

Posted by: Valerie on 10 Feb ' 09 at 09:23

I have to agree with the above comments. I was made redundant last December. Till now I didn't get my final settlement and I have no idea if this will ever be done. I went to labour, but as usual, they weren't helpful at all and they made me very clear that I was really bothering them with my questions. So I don't have any money getting in and I've been made very clear by my previous employer that she won't give me an NOC. Which means that I can't work for another 6 months once my visa gets cancelled. I have a mortgage for the appartment I bought and I have a car loan. How will I be able to pay if I'm even not allowed to get a new job???

Posted by: Patrick on 10 Feb ' 09 at 09:18

some 'investigation' !

Posted by: Raji on 10 Feb ' 09 at 09:10

in my opinion there should be a way to facilitate these money and debt issues so that all of us can make our payment with our own convenient ways , the amount of people getting released every days is huge and every one here has a loan or a mortgage to pay for . people should be able to live here to cover the mortgages and loans .
basically this article should be revised and a solution should be given instead of threatening people .

Posted by: M. Eledwy on 10 Feb ' 09 at 09:08

Goodluck trying to go after the debtors in countries like India , Pakistan , Egypt...etc.
This guy Calum is dreaming, he's just trying to solicit business.
On the other hand, if you're out of work, your bank account is frozen ann your chances are slim to none to find a job, what will you do? Wait until you're dragged to jail for not paying your debts? I don't think so... I am out of here on the first flight.

Posted by: Withheld on 10 Feb ' 09 at 08:52

I feel so sorry for Steven's story and so many people that have been treated unfairly including us. The fact that we have to pay the rent upfront for a year is one of the most cruel problems in Dubai. My husband and I are so loath to take any kind of loan, but we have to for the rent. We have just finished paying off the one for last year as our company subsides part of it and we pay in the rest. Now we are busy renewing our lease and we will have to take a loan again this year. (if we can get one) Its hateful to say the least. Half the problems would go away if you could pay monthly. The problem is though we are upset with Dubai not behaving like other city's, its not going too because Dubai does not want us to stay, only work, spend money and leave. The things that would make it perfect are not going to happen, because then we would all want to stay forever.

Posted by: Arun Mathew on 10 Feb ' 09 at 08:44

Very poor article. I'm a human resource manager of a company and I eagerly opened this article thinking there might be some valuable information. All this article tells you is that your worries may not be over even if you fled the country. What about perspective on bankruptcy law, moral issues (govt/bank/self/employer etc), recourses that may be taken etc etc.

Posted by: Susie Legge on 10 Feb ' 09 at 08:40

I find this article to be totally unhelpful and very threatning. Shame on you Timeout. So many people are in the circumstances you describe and they need constructive help and advice. So how about an article labout what help is out there, or is it the case that Dubai just does not give monkeys about these people and have not even started to make provision to help hardworking residents who through no fault of their own find themslves in the middle of a nightmare!

Posted by: Swidine Bilhazio on 10 Feb ' 09 at 08:38

This article just creates a scare, it is no way helpful for any debtor

Posted by: Robert on 10 Feb ' 09 at 08:38

The Arrchitect is right. Its all very well saying "talk to your bank" but when the bank is legally entitled to freeze your accounts and block your passport it is utter stupidity to do so. You are better off leaving and negotiating from outside the country. Unless they change the law and stop banks behaving like prison camp wardens this situation will simply get worse.

Posted by: unknown on 10 Feb ' 09 at 08:36

So please enlighten us to exactly what you are supposed to do if you are in this situation and have no kind partner who can bail you out while you fight for the potentially non-existent job to pay off your debts?! Rot in jail springs to mind, or jump ship.... it won't take me long to figure that one out.

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