UAE lenders hire UK debt collectors

Lenders chase defaulters who have fled back to the UK

UAE lenders have begun hiring British debt collectors to chase defaulters who have fled back to the UK without settling their debts, according to the head of a UK-based charity that advised people who have fallen into legal trouble in the emirate.

“I have spoken to people who have said they are being chased by debt collectors,” Radha Stirling, founder of the London-based charity Detained in Dubai, told Arabian Business.

However, she said that the UK debt collectors “are not following through on their threats” as they do not have any power to force the repayment of loans owed to Dubai lenders.

“I think it is a scare tactic and I think the Brits are on to it and pretty much ignore them anyway,” she said.

“As there are so many debt collection agencies in the UK, it is very easy to employ one and their terms are quite good,” she added.

However, she believed it was only those that owed a considerable amount of money that were being chased in the UK as “as it wouldn’t be worth chasing the smaller debts.”

In January, the Emirates Business newspaper reported that Dubai mortgage lender Tamweel had hired a company to pursue an Indian customer and is threatening to take legal action in India and the UAE if the customer does not repay its loan.

“If the customer chooses not to cooperate, then, under the legal framework, we reserve the right to recover our dues," Tamweel was quoted as saying in a statement.

Last week, a Dubai-based financial consultancy ISDM told Arabian Business that the average debt load of its customers is Dhs500,000 ($136,121) with its most indebted client carrying Dhs26m worth of real-estate linked liabilities.

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