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“Despite repeated reminders”

The Gulf News runs a laudable consumer issues column, seeking to address injustices perpetrated on individual customers by large corporations. Usually the format is that a customer feels aggrieved by a failure of service, finds the organisation completely unresponsive to complaint, and turns the matter over to the Gulf News in hope of finding a champion for their cause. That this process should ever be necessary is an indictment of service standards here generally, but the UAE is far from unique in this respect: a number of popular UK newspapers enjoy a similar role, taking on national institutions on behalf of disenfranchised individuals. And generally enjoying a degree of success.

The same process applies here, and a number of local organisations both small and large are learning the benefits of a swift and positive response.  Most now reply with some form of conciliatory gesture “We would like to thank Customer X for this opportunity to address his concerns” and go on to note that the issue has been resolved. The only shame is that the newspaper had to be involved in the first place.

But there is one group of organisations that is utterly beyond the pale, and should be held accountable. Too often, we read “Despite repeated reminders.the RTA failed to provide a response” and “Despite repeated requests, Etisalat did not respond”. Government bodies should be model institutions, fully responsive and accountable. That they choose not to address issues raised by concerned individuals and citizens brings shame on all who work there, and on the management that allows them to shirk their responsibilities. Above all, National institutions must by held accountable.

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