My beef with my bank (my lawyer said I can’t say which bank)

Post by Mark

Around a month ago I was at the airport early morning, I had just finished checking in and headed towards the money exchange to get some currency. I gave the exchange employee my Knet card but got an error saying my card was declined. I tried it again but got the same error. I knew I had money on the card since I had double checked the night before. In any case I decided to log in with my banks app and double check but I got an error logging in as well. I then told the money exchange clerk I would be back and headed to one of the ATM machines at the airport to withdraw money but also got an error. So I called the banks call center number and spoke to an employee who proceeded to tell me their system was going under maintenance and I wouldn’t be able withdraw any money or use any of my cards for the next two hours.

I was furious.

Here I was at the airport about to travel and I didn’t have any cash on me and I wouldn’t be able to get any cash either and not because I didn’t have any money but because my bank wouldn’t give me access to it. When I asked the employee why they didn’t inform me and their other customers about this so that we would be prepared (I could have converted currency the night before and withdrawn money), his response was we did… on Instagram and Twitter. And this is where the problem lies. I hung up with the call center employee and headed to the lounge where I proceeded to tweet my frustration as well as send their customer care an email. I didn’t get any response from them until 30 days later when I had to tweet and remind them that it had been 30 days without a response.

Now this is where I would be interested to hear from you guys since maybe I’m over reacting here or maybe it’s me being an asshole but wouldn’t you agree it would be best if the bank SMS’ed their clients important information like when you won’t be able to access your money or any of your cards for two hours instead of posting that kind of important information on twitter or instagram?

First of all why the hell would I want to follow my bank on twitter or instagram? I follow only 15 friends on twitter and I follow around 100 friends on Instagram. The image above is a result of me following my banks twitter account (I had to so I could send them a direct message). They tweet so much and so often they ended up taking over my twitter feed. Why would I want to flood my twitter feed with their tweets on a daily basis?

Secondly, my bank have my phone number and I receive a ton of useless advertisements from them all the time. Why is it ok to SMS me useless adverts but not ok to SMS me important information like when I will not be able to use my ATM or credit cards because their system will be down?

So this is my suggestion to my bank (you know who you are):

1- SMS or Email your customers when there will be a major disruption in the service

2- Be clear about what the disruption will be. “System will be undergoing maintenance” could mean anything from I won’t be able to log in to your website to your call center employees won’t be able to order their daily fix of Caesars pizza. It’s too generic, instead tell your customers clearly that on a certain date at a certain time they will not be able to use their ATM cards.

3- Respond to emails. 30 days with no response means you’re ignoring me. I sent an email to Zain the other day and got a response in 15 minutes so if they can do it so can you.

That’s my 2 cents. And yes this post was censored by Fajer.


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This is frustrating

Post by Mark

I would have thought they would have fixed this by now. All I’m trying to do is submit a request to renew my Civil ID online and the Public Authority website doesn’t work until after 2PM. Unless there is someone that comes in at 2PM and sits inside the computer answering queries, this should not happen. The internet doesn’t take a coffee break.


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Who’s responsible?

Post by Mark

Local blogger Frankom shot the picture above this morning on his way to work. Not sure what kind of school would lack basic child safety regulations… [Link]


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Airport Security

Post by Mark

Why do we have three different security checks at the Kuwait Airport? You have the baggage security check before the check-in counters, you then have one before the emigration counters and finally a third one before entering your departure gate. Can’t they all be combined into one proper security check like most airports? I think at least the one before the check-in counter should be scrapped since in the summer at peak travel season the lines it generates is just ridiculous. From the three security checks that one is the least strict.


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Saudi iPhone App to report citywide problems

Post by Mark

Back in 2011 I posted about how a team of students from Kuwait came second place in the GCC Microsoft Imagine Cup. The idea that got them there was the creation of an App that would use crowd sourcing to inform the authorities of various problems around Kuwait. Using your phone you could snap a picture of overflowing garbage, large pot holes, accidents etc.. and then send the photos to the proper authorities with a GeoTag of the location.

Fast forward a couple of years and the Riyadh municipality just launched an iPhone App that does all of that. The screenshots above are in Arabic but the App also has English. Another example of a great local idea that gets implemented by another GCC country. [Link]

via @ahmed


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Expats getting deported for speeding

Post by Mark

According to Arabian Business, the minister of interior and undersecretary have given the go ahead to take strict actions against expats who jump red lights, drive without a driving license and those who speed. Already 86 expats have been deported. Jeez talk about overkill. I’m not sure how this exactly works but if I get caught speeding again (I’ve been caught a number of times) will I get deported? [Link]


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Criticism is a Good Thing

Post by Mark

Yesterday I posted the picture above on my Instagram account of a new tshirt I had ordered online. It took me a month to get the tshirt because it was on backorder and so when a friend of mine pointed out that a local fashion store was selling a locally printed version (i.e. imitation) I got upset for two reasons:

1) If its a good creative idea you support the designer who came up with the idea and you don’t get a local printshop to reprint the design for you

2) The store that was selling the fake tshirts (I won’t mention the brand and any mention of the brand in the comments will be deleted) is actually a very well respected brand and one that I actually liked

So I visited their Instagram account and found the tshirt listed for sale there and in the comments I read the following:

The tshirt was by a local designer and not the official one in NYC so I left the following comment:

To my surprise instead of them apologizing for selling imitation goods they responded with the following comment:

I stayed diplomatic and responded highlighting the fact that they themselves said it was by a local designer and not that they had permission from the official brand to reprint it in Kuwait. I also tagged my friend Fajer the lawyer in the comments so that she was aware of the situation as well. A few moments later they deleted all my comments and blocked me from their account.

I decided to contact the original designer just to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake and turns out I hadn’t. According to the designer who created the orignal tshirt she never gave anybody permission to sell or reprint her tshirts. In fact the local store was sent the following email to cease sale of the tshirts:

VIOLATION OF TRADEMARK – Remove Immediately
We have been notified that you are in violation of our trademark ‘Ain’t Laurent Without Yves’. Please immediately cease sale of all materials with our trademark logo on it; Should you continue to sell these items we will pursue severe legal damages for profits lost.

We never gave you, or any other vendor permission to sell our product with our slogan on it. Your claims on twitter are false and are damaging our brand.

The reason I am pointing this situation out is to discuss how criticism is handled in the region. Even when I was right I got attacked and a lot of other people do too. We should be able to have freedom of speech and criticism actually helps companies (and people) to know how they can improve. People in the region need to calm down and start accepting criticism.

If you’re interested in the tshirt above you can purchase it directly from the original designer at whataboutyves.com


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The Ahmadi Park Zoo

Post by Mark

I didn’t know the Ahmadi Park had a zoo yet alone one that looks this depressing. Based on the pictures a reader sent me this zoo looks even worse than the Kuwait Zoo.

Thanks Meshal


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Martyr’s Park sliced in half

Post by Mark

Back in November a Golden Jubilee monument of Kuwait’s Constitution was revealed in Martyr’s Park in Kuwait City. The monument looked really cool surrounded by a beautiful garden and a water fountain. Fast forward a few months and the design of the monument and surround garden is being finalized and two things caught my attention.

The first is they’ve now erected a high metal fence around the monument and monument garden. There is literally another park inside the Martyr’s Park and one that is going to be closed off to the public.

The second issue is they’ve basically cut the Martyr’s Park in half by building the Golden Jubilee monument park across the Martyrs Park from one side to the other. The oval running track which people used for exercising now ends in the middle as roughly demonstrated by the yellow box in the image above.

These two issues kinda seem like poor planning to me. I understand they probably erected the high metal fence to stop barbequers from barbequing inside the monument park but I think they could have created some sort of path way that would still allow people to at least walk up close to the monument but keep them outside the monument garden. Right now there is a hole in the metal fence which is how I got in a took my picture but once the hole is closed you won’t be able to stand in front of the monument or even get near it. It also sucks that the running track has been sliced in half since they could have shrunk the Golden Jubilee monument space slightly and built the whole thing inside the oval instead of over it. Oh well…


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A new garbage dump

Post by Mark

I have no clue who’s smart idea it was to turn the empty piece of land behind my building into a garbage dump. That yellow truck on the left actually came, dumped some garbage and then left!

Update: Another truck just came and dumped more garbage. Kinda reminds me when the garbage contractors were having a turf war on the HBO show The Sopranos. Someone is really pissed off at someone.

Update2: Looks like we’re in a handover transition period between two different garbage contractors and this issue should be temporary. According to Arab Times the new contractors are charging around KD5,000,000 a month to clean up the garbage, a lot more than the previous company because they’re supposed to do a much better job and adhere to a higher standard. You can read the article on Arab Times [Here]


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