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July 16, 2017
Question: I had run up some debts on my credit card and had arranged a settlement with the bank providing the card. My debts amounted to Dh30,000, Dh5,000 of which was interest, but the bank agreed that I could settle the debt by paying Dh25,000. After paying, I went to their office to get my clearance letter. To my surprise, the staff told me that they cannot provide me with a clearance letter unless I paid the "discounted amount", which is basically the interest they agreed to remove. I am stunned and distressed that they lied to me from the beginning of the settlement. I do not want to pay this since this is not what we had agreed before. Will I have the right to get my clearance without paying this "discounted amount" that they are now claiming? What are my legal rights in such a case?
Answer: If the bank confirmed in writing or via email that your full settlement amount would be discounted to Dh30,000 and if you paid off that amount, then the bank's email could be considered as their offer and you paying off the amount could be considered as acceptance. Therefore, you would have the right to file a commercial case against the bank to enforce this agreement and enforce them to provide you with the clearance letter. Article 243 of UAE Federal Civil Law 5 of 1985 states the following: 1 Unless the law provides otherwise, the contract's provisions apply on the object of the contract and its consideration immediately upon its formation without making them dependant on payment or anything else. 2 As regards the contract's rights (obligations), each of the contracting parties shall fulfill what the contract has bound him to do. Also, the bank does not have the right to amend what was agreed upon without your consent or a court order, in accordance with Article 267 of Law 5 of 1985, which states that "if a contract is valid and binding, none of the contracting parties may revoke, modify or rescind it except by mutual consent, order of the court or a law provision".