UAE: Customer Money Stuck in UAE Exchange Inquiry

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Some UAE residents have become victims of the ongoing shutdown of operations at UAE Exchange Centre, with their funds getting stuck for two weeks and more after remitting. Now, with the UAE Central Bank conducting an investigation into UAE Exchange activities, these customers are hoping there will be a swift resolution to their problems.

Michael D., one of the residents facing this issue – had wired just over Dh19,000 on March 12. But on March 15, when the funds were still not credited to his overseas account, he made the call to UAE Exchange.

“I was informed that it will likely take longer to forward my funds to the beneficiary and that, instead, I should process a cancellation whereby the funds would be transferred back in 3 to 4 working days,” said Michael D.

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“They advised that this was due to technical issues they were experiencing and no further details were given. I agreed that this could well be the best course of action – so a cancellation request was initiated.”

It didn’t get any better after that.

“Having heard nothing after the 4-day period, I once again called customer service only to be told the same thing,” said Michael. “I asked to speak to a manager and was then informed that the UAE Central Bank had frozen all transactions pending company investigation and that at least an additional week would be required to process them.”

Michael D. is not the only one to be facing this issue with UAE Exchange. Online portals are rife with others who have gone through the same experience and awaiting some clarity on when their funds would reach the intended party. Or at the very least, get transferred back to them.

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The UAE Central Bank has not issued an update on where the investigations stand or when UAE Exchange will restart operations. UAE Exchange, before this crisis erupted, was the biggest name in the local remittance space – apart from individual fund transfers, it also had a key role in handling corporate transfers, which was where it derived a significant share of their past revenues and profits.

An internal investigation found that about $100 million worth of cheques were issued of whose existence the Board of Directors had no previous knowledge.

Michael D. is still waiting for an answer, along with many who are yet to hear from the Exchange firm.

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