Saudi Arabia ( 20 )

ms1sm vs Samba Bank

One fine morning, SAMBA bank on its own decided to upgrade my status to Gold. They did it without asking me or consulting with me. And because they chose to upgrade me, they also chose to cancel my credit card and my ATM card, leaving me without money for the whole weekend. I had to take time off from work, go to the branch next week and withdraw cash for daily expenses. It took the bank almost three weeks to issue me a new ATM card for Gold membership. Furthermore, almost 3 months have passed and the bank has not been able to re-issue a credit card, which is always in the mail when I ask.

ms1sm vs Saudi Airlines
I missed my flight because the flight information/ guidance screens at the airport gave wrong information. They showed gate 10 for Beirut and a blank for Dubai. Thinking Dubai is still not open, I kept waiting and missed my flight to Dubai. Saudi airlines did not accept that the wrong video screens could be considered as a valid reason for a refund.

Magnet vs Samba Bank
My credit card is frozen and I have a credit balance on it. I am trying to transfer the credit balance to my account, which is not allowed, but if I transfer money to my card it happily receives it. A system that helps the bank to take money from customers but denies the customers their own money back.

sohelmugal vs Saudi Airlines
If you miss your outgoing flight, Saudi Airlines assumes that you will miss your return/ incoming flight too, and will cancel it without even informing you that your return flight has been cancelled. The worst part is that the airline will not even provide a refund for either of the legs or try to shy away from the refund - making the process extremely difficult

Anonymous vs Saudi Airlines
On a 5 hr flight between Jeddah and Islamabad, it so happened that there were only two passengers travelling in the business class and the check-in clerk had placed both of us next to each other in the front row, where the TV screen is fixed to the wall far away from you. the screen is not adjustable, and you can not see a damn thing if there is light being reflected from somewhere.

30 minutes after the take off, I asked the purser, who was walking around with a rosary in his hand, if I could sit on one of the all empty seats in the back. He very strictly said, no, "you can only sit on the other seat in the front row". I did not understand his logic till about 30 minutes later, when all the serving staff including himself came to sleep on those seats. Imagine the plight of all the passengers on a five hour flight when about 12 servers/ waitresses are sleeping for the whole length of the flight in the business class.

After disgruntled by the situation, I started finding things which I never notice. The unhealthy mold growing in the corners of the floors/ aisles/ bathrooms/ seats, the dinner table tilting to the right so that you wont be able to eat unless you hold the tray with one hand, the sound of the entertainment system with no noise reduction, the ottoman part of the recliner never staying where it should be etc etc.

Anonymous vs Saudi Binladen group
We all know of Saudi binladen group fired by Saudi govt from the project of expansion of Kaaba. We all know the annoying experience one goes through with the construction not ending since the last 8 years. We all know how a simple circular arena with exiting pathways looking like sunrays would have fixed the problem rather than the time taken in eleborating the arches with chandeliers. Today I arrived in the haram premises 3 hours before jumma prayers hoping to complete an umra before the prayers and I was not allowed because of spaces closed and blocked by construction everywhere. When will this stop. And then I saw this unsafe practice. Technician with no helmet standing on the barrier on top of a scissor lift.

Anonymous vs SAMBA BANK
Samba Gold boasts access to a world of superior banking services including a private environment to perform your transactions. A dedicated SambaPhone 24-hour toll-free number (800 124 5000), and a number (+966-11 479-7500) to call from overseas, just for Sambagold customers.50% discount on fees for most banking services (including money transfers, cheque books, and safety deposit box), international cash withdrawals from ATMs abroad, and money transfers through SpeedCash. Preferential exchange rates on foreign currencies. Special offers and discounts at a wide selection of shops and brands, BLA BLA BLA. NONE of these HAPPEN. There are no dedicated officers. Samba Gold counters are not manned. Phone calls have long wait times. There are no preferential rates.

Anonymous vs Samba Bank
Adding a beneficiary to a samba bank account can make you hit your head against a wall, drown yourself and hang yourself by your hair at the same time. The bank account portal/ website asks you to enter a host of information, verify requests via SMS messages, send texts to certain numbers, wait and receive for acknowledgements and then says, "Please call SAMBAPHONE". SAMABAPHONE got to be the most annoying banking auto-attendant one has even called. Today I called, went through the security checks, and found that there is no option to verify a beneficiary. I chose to talk to the customer service. The customer service asked me to call again, go through the security checks, SMS verification and then press 1-1-4-9. I did it and the phone went blank and after a few seconds gave me the busy tone. I called again and went through the same procedure and picked options 1-1-4-9 and managed to receive a live voice. The person said something in Arabic, even though I had chosen to communicate in English, put me on hold and vanished. After a few minutes I heard the busy tone again. This happened almost 6 times. I could not authenticate the beneficiary.

Anonymous vs ZAIN
Many service providers in Saudi Arabia ensure that they do not have adequate English speaking staff so that non-Arabic speaking customers get frustrated easily and end up paying whatever the companies force them to pay. Sometimes you end up paying just to avoid a nuisance, even if you don't have to. No one listens and no one wants to listen. They keep repeating the same replies again and again, whatever you say, cause those are the only sentences they know.

I bought a SIM for a month and asked the teller to cancel it after the end of the month. The teller said, if you don't pay, it will not work, and will be automatically cancelled. Obviously it did not get cancelled and ZAIN kept charging monthly fees, even if the SIM was not used for months and months. Then I received a call that I owe them some money, I tried to argue with the caller and she asked me to wait and called someone else who knew a few more words of English, but not enough to understand what I meant. I ended up paying the amount and I am still not sure if the phone has been cancelled or I will still get a bill next month. The teller who received the money kept saying yes and yes and yes, and I am sure the did not understand a damn thing and did whatever he thought was made sense to him.

Anonymous vs Saudi Council of Engineers
I am a licensed engineer in Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan and Canada. To maintain my work/ resident permit in Saudi Arabia, I am bound by the immigration law to renew my membership with Saudi Engineering Council every year.

The Saudi Engineering Council does not provide a receipt for the fees received. Every time you call, a receptionist repeats the same sentence to you again and again. "YOU can not PRINT A RECEIPT of your payment FROM YOUR PROFILE, PLEASE VISIT THE SEC OFFICE." This is happening in an organization which is trying to represent 201,000 non local/ expat engineers. This is happening in a country which has a population of around 35 million with only 18 thousand Saudi licensed engineers. The specialties that lack Saudi engineers are planning, construction, marine, technology, health and safety, electronics and information technology, technical industries, nuclear, technical civil engineering, mechatronics and medical engineering. 4 of these specialties have no Saudi Engineers at all.

In such a scenario, the SEC with the help of the Government has devised a money making scheme. No expat engineer will get a resident/ work permit renewed, and/ or be able to work as an engineer, unless he/ she obtains a valid or renewed membership with SEC. Saudi Engineers can work as engineers without having a membership.

If SEC had a service level that was acceptable then the above requirement of membership wont be such a big issue. The problem is that the SEC has a website that crashes all the time, no one picks up the phone, and even if they do they can not respond or satisfy and will put you on hold and transfer you to an answering service. People complain of the delays, lack of responses. One has to question the existence of a so-called regulatory body that has not been able to deliver but only take money from engineers providing no returns/ benefits, or services, and even basics are not provided like membership cards, receipts for memberships and answering phone calls by a reasonable person experienced in membership processes of engineers.

On the websites of Professional Engineers Ontario, or the Engineers Australia, or Pakistan Engineering Council, I can print my membership card or the receipt of payments made whenever I want. Why not on Saudi Engineering Council.

Anonymous vs Zain
The government wants to ensure that every SIM issued by a telco is associated with a distinct user whose identity no and fingerprints are known to the government and the telco.

The fingerprinting services of Zain offices/ outlets have not been working for almost a month. This means if your SIM is blocked you can not have your SIM activated. And if you are a post paid monthly customer, Zain will keep charging you a minimum monthly fee, even if you can not use the SIM, because the fingerprinting services are not working.

There is no way out but to keep paying the monthly invoices even if you can not use the SIM. If you dont pay, someone will come and blame you for stealing and cut your hand.

Anonymous vs Flynas
On flynas website, it costs 50-100 Saudi Riyals (USD 15 - 30) extra to buy a seat with more leg room.

But if these seats are empty; the air stewards and stewardesses would let anybody occupy them after the flight takes off.

While I have nothing against people who occupy empty seats I think the staff needs to be mindful of people like me feel cheated for having paid more than others for the same level of service.

Anonymous vs Dr Soliman Fakeeh Hospital
My company forces me to go to this hospital only. If I go to some other hospital my insurance will not cover the expenses. The hospital is a chaos. No place to park. The staff is rude at the reception. Hospital is being run as a money making machine. The website of the hospital is so slow that its hard to perform any online functions. It keeps crashing and showing errors. Since the website uses SMS based authentication, getting back on the site is a painstaking process, it crashes again and again.

My wife wanted to see a gynecologist. It took us a dozen attempts to reach the page where we could select a doctor. Turns out none of the doctors shown in the boastful list were available. Booking an appointment either results in "no appointments available" message, or a system crash. How can no appointments be available unless the doctors don't exist. Then the available appointments with some doctors are a month away. In a conservative society like Saudi Arabia, more than half of the gynecologists are male doctors.

We started looking for other options on and booked an appointment via phone at lower scale Jeddah National Hospital at Macarona Street, and found it very organised and welcoming. Of course we paid from our own pocket, but the payments were less than half of what we would have paid at DSFH. (less)

Anonymous vs Saher
Saher is an automated system for control and management of traffic. It uses high speed digital cameras and networking technology and is linked to the National Information Center at the Ministry of Interior of Saudi Arabia. Saher system targets and captures information about reckless drivers who are dangerous to the safety of others and their own lives.

While Saher system has played a major role in controlling the recklessness of drivers on Saudi Roads, and saving numerous lives, I find it necessary to point out the difference between reformative control and entrapping. In many countries, Police and Governments have been accused of "Big Brother tactics" in over-monitoring of public roads, and of "revenue raising" in applying cameras in deceptive ways to increase government revenue rather than improve road safety. I have the following examples and suggestions;

1. Installing a speed detection camera right after an entry lane is not a good idea. Drivers need to accelerate in the entry lane to meet the speed of traffic on the highway so that they do not disturb the highway traffic and do not force other drivers to perform sudden and dangerous lane changes. In the same way if someone is not merging at the required speed, the highway traffic has to speed up or slow down to accommodate the new entrant. All these maneuvers at the merging point require increasing speeds to avoid accidents for a few seconds sometimes. Installing as camera right at the the merging point seems like entrapping.

2. There are areas where the speed limits are posted to be increasing from a slower to faster speed. Installing a camera in such areas where drivers are about to be allowed to increase their speeds seems like entrapping or unfair. It is understandable to install cameras where drivers are required to reduce speeds but not where they are required to increase speeds.

3. Installing speed cameras at intersections is inappropriate. Pictures from the San Diego red light camera systems were ruled inadmissible as court evidence in September 2001. The judge said that the "total lack of oversight" and "method of compensation" made evidence from the cameras "so untrustworthy and unreliable that it should not be admitted". Drivers need to speed up if they are caught in the middle of the intersection due to traffic blocks or when they are unable to dead stop due green turning to amber in the middle of intersection.

4. Cameras have tolerances in one direction only. Normally 5% above the posted speed is not penalized and caters to probable mistakes in accuracy. Cameras do not penalize drivers going slower by 10% or even 50% than the posted speed. This sometimes causes other drivers to speed up and pass the trouble maker.

Anonymous vs Ministry of Interior
Just a week ago, I noticed two speed detection cameras installed by the MOI on the Thuwal-Rabigh road. The problem is that there are no speed limit signs anywhere near these cameras, for miles and miles and no one knows what is the acceptable speed limit. Seems the purpose is to collect money only by hooking the mis-informed drivers. In Saudi Arabia a road with 4 lanes or a dual carriage should be with atleast 100kmph limit but these radars have been known for taking pictures of drivers at less than 100kmph also.

Anonymous vs Saudia or Saudi Arabian Airlines
I was sitting behind 8-10 members of Saudi Arabian Airlines flight crew which were probably returning from their duty or training or whatever. They have the seats with the best leg room. They are extremely loud. And right during the safety presentation before take-off, when the TV screens are asking to turn off all electronic devices, these guys are totally ignoring the safety requirements and keeping up with their ignorant behavior.

Anonymous vs Samba Bank
If my iqama [residency visa] expires and is not renewed for some reason, or if i do not visit the bank to show my face, every year, even if my visa is renewed, my bank account will be frozen. Once my bank account is frozen, no money can be taken from it, even if your kids are dying of hunger or your pregnant wife needs medicine.. Your driver's license will also be frozen, credit cards as well, your phone number may also be disconnected. It is my hard earned money but because of the laws based on the principles of slavery, your money is not yours if the masters decide to do so.

Nowhere in this world will this happen. Actually most countries want you to deposit your money in their banks and try to give you a sense of security, so you keep the money invested with them.

Anonymous vs Arab Open University
An open university that is running in almost 8 different countries has no easy method of verifying transcripts of international students and makes the students waste time on getting attestations from multiple Ministries, Embassies and Notaries. On top of that the University Venue in Dammam shifted recently to an unknown place with no intimation on their website. The old venue merely mentions of the move on a badly handwritten piece of paper stuck to the main door. "We have moved to Airport Road". Its written in one single language whereas the university provides courses in multiple languages to students who speak different languages. Meanwhile airport road is almost 40 km long and finding the university on the airport road will definitely be a nightmare.

Anonymous vs SAMBA BANK
Whenever you want to send money to someone a business or a person, even inside the same city or within the same banking institution, you have to get the beneficiary approved by making a zillion calls and what not. Yesterday, I had to send money to a travel agent, I created the beneficiary online, and then going thru all the procedures, was asked to call sambaphone.

I called the number I was given and I was taken into the system when I entered my ATM card number. Instead of verifying the card, the auto attendant said, I have to call another number, which was the same number I had called. I have been trying for the last 2 days and No one in the bank has noticed that there system is going in circles...

Anonymous vs Abbas Makkah
This Abbas-Makkah is trying to look holy and sending phishing emails by scaring us that our mailboxes with Microsoft will be closed unless we provide some information by following the link.