Thursday, July 13, 2006

Red tape: Red anger

Exactly a year ago last month, I moved into my flat in a new building in Ajman. The building itself is owned by a prick (I would soon learn) and managed by a bunch of monkeys (I should have known). But at that time I was too distraught to care about the details, and needed a home.

It wasn’t long after I moved in that light bulbs started exploding on a weekly basis, or pipes would burst almost as frequently. There wasn’t a day that my kitchen floor wasn’t covered in water, because the pipes were leaking somewhere in the wall and I couldn’t find the source of the problem. And all of this was on top of Ajman’s electricity & sewage problems, that meant at times I’d be stuck in the middle of the day on the sixth floor of the building, sweltering in the heat of my house, knowing the only way out was to walk down six flights of stairs that also stored big buckets for the tenants trash. At other times, I’d come home after they drained the sewage and my house would smell much like a public bathroom that hasn’t been washed down or had a toilet flushed in any less than a year.

Being in the building was a nightmare. Dealing with the pricks on the other end was something on top of a nightmare. Sometime during the first two months, my toilet overflowed. No, overflowed is an understatement; it started spitting up waste that I’m sure come from other apartments as well as my own. At the time, I had my three-year-old son and my housemaid with me. There was only one bathroom. I was working in Dubai, but traffic meant I had to leave my house at or before 6am and I wouldn’t reach home before 7pm.

I called the building management about the problem, since I’d paid them a fee for maintenance, and they informed me that they could only send someone to my house between 7am and 5 or 6 (I can’t remember) pm. This didn’t work for me. There is no way I was going to let some sexually deprived man into my apartment, while my housemaid was virtually there alone. And missing a day of work would mean a day I didn’t get paid, thus meaning I’d end up paying the same maintenance fee twice. I argued with the real-estate company for a full day explaining, insisting that they either send someone to my house at 7.30 in the evening or allow me to hire someone from outside and have them pay the bill.

They refused. On the second day, I asked them to give me the owner’s phone number. They refused.

The sales man for the apartment had liked me from the start. I called him up and asked. He gave me the mobile number, under the promise that I would not tell a soul where I got it from.

I called the guy, Mohammed something… He didn’t answer immediately, but called me back an hour or so later. I introduced myself and before I could say anything he responded with, “I know who you are and I know your problem.” He continued with, “I will not help you unless you tell me where you got my phone number from.”

“I don’t see how this is relevant.” I responded, “You are the owner of this building. I have rented a service from you. It’s now been two days that I don’t have working toilet.”

He continued pressing about where I got his number, as if he were a Shiekh and I had somehow invaded his private circle, and I continued refusing to explain based not only on my promise to the sales guy but also the sheer conceit in this man’s tone. Soon, he simply hung up on my face.

I was pissed right off. I have never met a person so arrogant, so incredibly rude, and so condescending in my entire life. But I’ll be fucked if I’m going to let some prick get the best of me; especially if I’m putting money into this mans bank account. I left my office and headed to my lawyers. I had them call him. You can bet your ass he arranged for a plumber to be at my house that evening at 7.30pm.

Since, I’d dealt with all plumbing or electrical problems on my own. I can’t be bothered with the stress dealing with these people causes.

Three months before my contract expired, the building management sent me a note asking me to sign whether or not I’d be staying and informing me of a rent increase if I did stay. Three months before I left, I had no idea what I’d be doing. In fact, I knew nothing up until the last couple of days I was in that house. I’m sure many of you read it in this blog. None-the-less, they kept harassing me almost daily. I refused to sign, they refused to leave the letter with me, only to return the next day or week and ask the same thing over again. They called me every-single-day, five or six times until I answered and each time, I still told them I didn’t know and thus couldn’t answer them. They insisted on trying back, even though I told them I would inform them when I knew what I was doing.

Finally, I flipped at the calls and told them to stop harassing me. I told them it didn’t matter how many times they called, I won’t know till I bloody well know. So they needn’t waste their time or increase their damn phone bills with these pointless, harassing calls.

They then left me alone. And when I knew for certain that I was leaving, I informed them. It’s funny because it seemed like the whole building was moving out in that same week. I remember one guy telling me in the elevator that he also wanted to go, but stupidly paid for two years in advance. He told me the owner of the building was a prick; which meant to me that it wasn’t just my experience with him, the guy is a prick through and through.

When leaving I inquired about the 1500dhs security deposit I’d given them. I was told it’d take a week to process and informed I needed the receipts. It’s a good thing I kept them, but when I looked at them last week I realized a few things. For starters they were printed on two different companies’ letterheads. I remembered the day I first looked at the apartment and how they told me that if I wanted them to hold it over the weekend (until I could arrange the cheques), I needed to give the majority of the deposit to the salesman at the building because the office was already closing for the day. I refused without a receipt, so they had us drive the sales man to some other office where he issued one.

That done, I thought all was well. I went and finalized everything after the weekend and got a second receipt for the remaining of the deposit.

The second thing I noticed about the receipts was that on one of the deposit ones, the larger one, the man had written, “This amount is non-refundable,” in Arabic. On inquiring, I was told I wouldn’t get that money back. I called the real-estate two days ago, and swore up and down that if they didn’t refund me my full amount I would take them to court over it. I’m sick and tired of people taking advantage of others, in such ways in this country. I’m fed up of people literally stealing money from me without an ounce of shame.

The guy promised me I’d get it all, before I closed the phone.

Today, T went to pick it up. While at the office, he called me and put the very same manager I had talked to two days ago on the phone. The guy told me that I was only getting 1300Dhs, as they’d deducted 200Dhs for maintenance. I flipped. I don’t give a shit if it is just 200Dhs. I don’t care what excuses they have. I refuse his ‘offer’ and told him that one way or another, the company would pay for it. He can take it out of his own fucking pocket, seeing how he’s the one who promised it to me just two days ago, and take it from the owner whenever the guy shows up.

I asked T not to leave with the cheque until it was made out in the full amount. I simply refuse to pay this fee. The guy argued that the owner will only be there at 1pm, so we needed to wait. I argued that I’m tired of waiting and I will take these fuckers to court. I will pay more for lawyers and I will endure a messy legal battle for a measly 200Dhs.

When companies are already getting away with daylight robbery through rent increases, maintenance fees that are literally useless and your average person, like me, is starting to feel the real consequences of the rising expenses in the UAE, enough is enough of this shit.

I’m thinking it’s a good fucking thing I’m not working or expected to be a professional under any circumstances these days. When someone is seriously willing to go to the fucking courts in this place for 200Dhs, I’d say they’ve about reached their capacity for stress-induced frustration.

**By the way, 200Dhs works out to about $54 USD.


Blogger Tainted Female said...

You've got email tt. ;)

I'm sorry you're going through similar crap. ROAR.

12:53 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger adevents said...

take the damn 1300 Dh you need it, if u going to act like that , u better go to canada or somewhere else but UAE this is normal

1:07 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Destitute Rebel said...

Tainted, you go! keep up the fight, these people think expatriates dont know their rights and can be pushed around, i'v heard of a lot of people leaving this country in recent days thoose who have been here for decades due to these types of problems.

Adevents, its normal in the UAE because people are not bothered with fighting for whats theirs. The day these property guys realzie that they can and will be taken to court for their sorry attitute it will not be normal anymore. I'm sure tainted won't even have to go to court, just the threat will make them part with the 200 dirhams that rightfully belongs to tainted.

1:13 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

Thank you DR.

And Ad... you're right. I should leave. And leave the expats here that just bitch about the problems in their blogs, drawing international negative attention to the UAE, rather than acting on them to enforce a change.

Those who are grateful to this country and actually try to improve something should get the hell out. Those who just want to gripe and bitch about it... they should stay.

1:17 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger adevents said...

Tainted, I am saying this out of my frustration I faced a lot of incident just like that did I try to fight? I did, did I succeed? never I even lost a big amount of money with other thousand of people local and expats with a RAK investment company which the case in court now for more than 6 yrs and believe the case is clear but u cant fight when the owner of a company a building or whatever is a big shot there is always a red tape here u can not go beyond so I learnt either to live with it or leave, I know u can call me a chicken or a cowered, but when it is very hard to return to ur own country than u have to be a chicken ,, maybe people like you who have the choice to go back or them here know that you always have this choice to go back than maybe 2 or 3% u get back your right but for a lot of people leaving is far worse than staying and learn to live with it

2:26 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

’but u cant fight when the owner of a company a building or whatever is a big shot there is always a red tape here u can not go beyond so I learnt either to live with it or leave,’

You can’t fight because no one dares to try. But the truth is, you CAN and you can WIN. If you’re patient. Listen, I divorced my ex. The entire world told me to run away with my son, everyone said I’d never win. Everyone thought I was crazy. But I won. TWICE.

Prior to that, I was falsely charged in RAK with stealing 100,000Dhs worth of contracts. THEY WANTED TO CHOP OFF MY HAND. Three YEARS I fought in an incompetent court, with judges who drank tea and answered personal fucking phone calls, while they were supposed to be listening to the case; judges who made every woman whether Muslim or not cover their faces, and forbade us from saying a word… AND translators who lied throughout the whole damn thing. The Canadian embassy told me to leave while I still had my passport; issued a bloody letter telling my company that I HAD to keep it on me for ‘personal’ security reasons. They wanted to put in me in that witness protection because of my accusers status. I NEVER GAVE UP. And I’m still here, while he ended up running away; probably STILL has revenge in his mind when it comes to me.

And by the way, FUCK YOU for the ‘You can leave to Canada comment’. YOU HAVE CHILDREN. COULD YOU LEAVE THEM? My baby will NEVER leave this country with me. Remember the connection between mother and child will ALWAYS be stronger than that of the father. NO ONE has to LEARN TO LIVE WITH IT. But if you choose not to stand up for yourself, YOU WILL spend the rest of your life suffering while others walk on you, and the ONLY PERSON to blame will be you.

2:43 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger adevents said...

all i can say you are stronger tainted maybe you are , but i dont know if i had an embassy that can stand behind me or even notice me as a citizen i might be as strong as you
this is complacted issue all i can say what would u do when things here far better then in ur own country. thanks i will keep on blaming my self coz if i should fight i should fight in the right place my country not here

2:57 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Extinct Dodo said...

i truly admire your take-no-bullshit-from-anyone attitude and your unyielding strength. Bravo! you show them nitwits :P

3:02 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

AD, wasn't it you who gave me shit when I asked where you were from? Wasn't it you who said, "Why does everyone alway ask this question?"

How dare you make this a nationality thing. Your embassy this, and my embassy that.

It's not about nationality. It's not about sex. It's not about anything other than whether or not you have balls.

If you're willing to let people walk all over you for the rest of your life because you don't want to fight for what's yours... go ahead and do it. But don't think the rest of the world should follow in your footsteps.

3:22 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

And thank you ED. :)

3:22 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Herlock Sholmes said...

Terrifying I tell you, Terrifying!!

3:24 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Taunted said...

Oh here we go again, poor missguided tainted etc. etc. etc.


7:25 PM, July 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't give up without a fight kiddo! It's not about 200 Dirhams or US$ 54. It's about right and wrong, it's about these nincompoops taking people for a ride, fuck em all! You got that right when you say about the bond between a Mother and Child is stronger than that with a Father. My old Lady is 8 feet under but there's never a moment when I don't wish she were around. You bet she was a fighter that stood her ground. You take them on, we're with ya you hear. Here's wishing you immense luck for you to get that quality time with your Kid, you both deserve it. Just don't ever succumb to any kind of pressure; ever. Take care :-)

9:53 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

Taunted... again... Shut the fuck up.

& thank you Louis...

My friend who was there accepted only to go back there on Saturday, when they've promised the full amount.

We'll see then...

11:01 PM, July 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember, nothing short of AED 1500, any thing short, we kick ass, take off our gloves. Good luck :-)

11:58 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Taunted said...

So have you got the cash yet?

9:36 AM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

Tomorrow Taunted... Read three comments up. Tomorrow.

12:01 PM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger flamin said...

oh tape. i know the feeling. going through it now...grrrr...

1:52 AM, July 15, 2006  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

Kick the SHIT out of your real estate company MD. Seriously, it's ENOUGH.

5:46 AM, July 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember to post once you get back the AED 1500 so that we know you got back what's rightfully yours :-) Maybe you have set a precedent for others not to get fucked over should they find themselves in a similar or any other predicament.

10:10 AM, July 16, 2006  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

I'm still working on it Louis.

The guy holds a person grudge against me because of the fuss I made over the toilet in the past. He's refusing 100%.

Today, I will try and file a complaint with the Sharjah Police department as that's where the real estate office is located, (because this is blind theft if anything) and see where that goes, Inshallah.

I'd really rather not have to take 200Dhs to court if I can avoid it. But I will not give up without a fight.

It's simply not about the money. I'm blessed yeah, I live in my parents house now and there's always food to eat even if I don't have an income. But people who live in Ajman aren't always in the same boat; most of the time they're in far worse situations. This 200Dhs could mean a weeks worth of food for some, and it's just not fair that rich are stealing from the poor and no one wants to do a thing about it.

10:24 AM, July 16, 2006  

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