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SAUDI ARABIA: Remittances can get off track

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By Tariq A. Al-Maeena

The Kingdom is among the leading countries in the world in the amount of remittances sent abroad. This is primarily due to the large expatriate workforce that has been helping the Kingdom forge its present destiny. Most of the remittances are sent to loved ones back home eagerly waiting for that monthly stipend, often for survival’s sake.

But does all that transfer of money get to each and everyone safely and in the promised time? A guest worker wearing a forlorn mask on his face was obviously one dissatisfied customer who in appearance seemed to be carrying the world’s grief on his shoulders.

He told me: "I sent some money to my family in India three weeks ago, and two days ago I was told that they still had not received it. Now they do not even have any money to contact me.

“I then took time off from my duties at my expense and went to the remittance company which boasts that it can deliver money to any part of the world in minutes.

“After waiting for a long time, the agent who had taken my money seemed uninterested in my problem. He told me to wait a few more days and then come back if the money still hadn’t arrived at its destination. You see, my family in India completely depends upon my monthly contribution, and any long delay puts them in a very insecure position.

“When I kept pestering him for more information and the reasons for the delay, he then referred to the original money transfer application and I verified with him line by line that all the information I had given him was correct.

“He shrugged and told me to give it some more time, even though this company promises to deliver our hard-earned money in minutes. He also told me the company was not to blame for this delay. I was upset, but what could I do. I am just a simple worker, and yet it is my hard-earned money they took and by not delivering it, my family is facing problems.”

Sensing his mounting anxiety, I asked him if he had a copy of the wire transfer document on him, and if he did to show it to me. He nodded in the affirmative and quickly disappeared only to reappear just as quick with a copy of the money transfer.

Taking the document, I began examining it. “Okay, now let’s see. All the information you have written here is correct, including the full recipient name and address back in India including the bank details?” When he nodded, I flipped over the page of the contract to check the company’s liability. It was an internationally renowned company whose agent in Saudi Arabia was a well-established bank.

While the worker excused himself momentarily to complete some unfinished task, I started wading through the legal mumbo-jumbo of the company’s terms and conditions in fine print.

One of the paragraphs stated: "In no event shall Company X or its agents be liable for damages, delay, nonpayment, or underpayment of this money transfer, or non-delivery of any supplemental message, whether caused by negligence on the part of their employees or agents, or otherwise…"

As I read on, another paragraph caught my attention: "Company X will refund the principal amount of a money transfer upon the written request of the sender if payment is not made within 45 days.

“Company X will refund the transfer fee upon written request of the sender if the money transfer is not available to the recipient within a reasonable amount of time, subject to the business hours of the location selected for the payment and other conditions…"

As my eyebrows furrowed deeper, questions began to form in my mind. This company advertises its prompt global delivery service. It is an international company, and yet considers it unnecessary to shoulder the liability caused by negligence of its own staff here?

Why claim delivery in minutes, and yet allow a window of 45 days to get the goods to their final destination?

And finally, why should a customer provide them with a written request to get his money back or even the service charges paid for the transfer if the money has not been delivered?

Most customers would not usually take the time to read through the fine print and realize the limitations and liabilisties involved in the transaction, and usually it is the uneducated who suffer the most. How many others find themselves in the same situation?

Perhaps businesses should highlight their liabilities in visible areas in their establishment for all to see in case services promised are not duly delivered.

Meanwhile, those who can should read the fine print, no matter how reputable the business they are dealing with appears to be. Ramadan Kareem.

[The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena]

(Courtesy: Saudi Gazette)
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1 comments:

  1. Assalamu Alaikkum,

    We are currently working to “Save Beggar In Bangladesh”. We are individual and working for 70 Blind beggars to develop their beggaring life! Like: Giving foods, clothing, water, medicine, Islamic education and trying to beggar’s house venture. So, we request you to kindly help us and send your Zakat/Fitrah and donations at this Ramadhan a Karim directly to Beggar here is Bangladesh!

    We started this works last year by the name of Allah, we need your help. Beggars are found in the villages, in towns and cities. In a word, beggars are found begging every where in Bangladesh. Mainly they gather on Friday near the mosques in the towns, bus stand, railway stations, in front of markets, and in the traffic signals and people streets. Most of the beggars are unable bodied. Most of blind and some are lame. Some boys and girls are also found begging in the streets.

    Those who are very poor, landless or helpless may. During the rainy season poor people of rural areas come door to door home for begging alms. They lead very miserable life. At the bus stand, market place and in the traffic signals old beggars and beggar children stretch their hands for taka (money). They causes are trouble!!! Web: http://www.mashallah.net

    While begging in the street some of them utter peculiar sound to draw the attention of the passers-by. Some of them carry testimonial of the local chairman or from any important person, or from the physicians to help them for the time being. Some beg for the treatment, some for the help of his daughter’s marriage.

    Blind beggars are going to beg to door to door by the help of his wife. We are working for three hundred Blind beggars, they are also foods and landless. The rural beggars are mostly above sixty years old. Beggars can not engage in any income generating activities.

    Islam commands us to be GRATEFUL to ALLAH (SWT) by using His favors in proper manners. We should share ALLAH's favors on us, with others. Allah can provide them (needy ones) better than what He has given to us, but He wants to test us: Is the love of Allah more in our hearts or the love of money?

    We are working for Blind beggars, we request you to kindly help us and send your Zakat/Fitrah and donations at this Ramadhan a Karim directly to blind beggars here in Bangladesh.

    We request you once again to kindly help us and send your Zakat/Fitrah and donations at this Ramadhan a Karim directly to Blind beggars here in Bangladesh! May Allah bless your family!

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