The problem will be familiar to people who have had run-ins with jet-ski owners in the past; the company demands the renter’s passport as security to ensure that if the bike is damaged, repairs will be paid for.
The arguments begin when renters return the bikes without damaging them at all, or with small scratches, and the owner demands sums for repairs that the customer regards as excessive.
If they don’t pay, they don’t get their passport back.
“This is not the first time, Mr Qin told The Phuket News. “It has happened a lot of times – some people tell us about it but we believe others don’t.”
He said that on March 31, a Chinese tourist rented a motorcycle and was asked for B9,000 for repairs to damage when he returned the bike. The following day, a Mr Xue from Nanjing was forced to pay B13,000 for damage, and on April 3, a Mr Li from Shanghai was relieved of B10,000.
Phuket Tourist Police Superintendent Capt Urumporn Koondejsumrit told The Phuket News, “If a tourist encounters this sort of situation, the first thing he or she should do is to contact the police nearby or call 1155 [the Tourist Police hotline] and officers will help you to negotiate. We will look into the case and ensure justice for both sides.
“There have been cases in which tourists rented a vehicle and crashed it or collided with something and then refused to pay, so we need to be fair to the renters as well.
“If they don’t take the renter’s passport, then if the tourist damages the vehicle and refuses to pay or runs away, then it causes pain for the renter.”
Kathu Police Superintendent, Pol Lt Col Jirapat Phochanapan, told The Phuket News, “If an accident happens and the two sides do not agree on the payment, you should call the police to take care of it.
“But we have two main suggestions: first, the vehicle owners should all get insurance. Second, customers should check the contract carefully before renting, and before signing it.
“We have also conducted public relations exercises on this topic among hotel owners, vehicle rental companies and tourists.”