Ian Edelman in Doha

Expat exploits in Qatar


One year on…

It’s precisely one year since I left Doha, which coincidentally also marks the severing of the last remaining link to Qatar. This morning I received an email from Ooredoo saying that I owed them nothing, well at least the 4QR I still owed had been waived.

My mistake when departing may have been not to change my phone from a Shahry contract to a Hala Pay as You Go account. Without a Qatar phone, I would have been unable to access my QNB online bank account after we left. At one point, about 2 months after I’d departed, they decided to close my phone account, which would have meant a trip to Doha from the UK just to retrieve money from the bank.

I persuaded them to keep it open and paid the monthly charges from my QNB account. Once the need for the bank account was finished and the outstanding Ooredoo bill paid, I attempted to cancel my account. Easy, you would have thought.

Ooredoo customer service said I would need to come to an Ooredoo shop and provide my Qatar ID, which I obviously no longer had and now living 3,000 miles away, popping into an Ooredoo store was not an option. I repeatedly emailed cancelling and explaining that, not only was I was no longer in Qatar, I no longer required the phone account. In the meantime my account charges grew by 100QR each month for a phone number I no longer had. Emails (maybe 40) went back and forth. Their replies as always ‘Dear Valued Customer’, each time reassured me of their concern to help, but not really helping by actually terminating the account.

Eventually the account was terminated in October, but with an outstanding amount of 279QR. Although I argued that I didn’t owe the money as I have tried to cancel three months earlier, it seemed expedient to pay it just to finally close the account once and for all… so I dutifully arranged an international transfer of 279QR.

When I emailed repeatedly to ask if the account was now paid up and closed, I was eventually told that only 239QR of the 279QR had reached the account. So where did 40QR go? My own UK bank could not explain the discrepancy, but generously said they would give me 80QR to send to Ooredoo. I transferred 80QR to make up the shortfall of 40QR, however only 40QR was credited to my account, which had also now grown by an additional 4.27QR.

You know the ending. I am now debt free in Qatar. It would appear that Ooredoo (or perhaps QNB) collects 40QR from each transaction, so I would advise checking any payments you make from an international account to a Qatar business.

So that’s it… definitely no more posts about Qatar.