As if expats dumping their cars and fleeing credit liabilities in Dubai was not enough, a recent report by Khaleej Times highlights how some cheating expats have taken rent-a-car companies for ride. Rental companies have shared their frustatio and despair over clients damaging cars, not paying violation fees, and sometimes not returning the vehicles at all, infact not coming back to collect their passports / identification documents.
In Sharjah, around 250 rented cars that were dumped by the renters were recovered by the police and handed back to the companies in 2008. Car rental agencies reported 386 cars as missing in the same year.
The General Department of Criminal Investigation of Dubai Police received 50 complaints in this regard in 2008. In some cases, the police forced the renters to pay the dues amicably instead of referring them to the court.
The police have suggested to the companies to enter the number of a valid credit card of anyone who wants to take a vehicle on rent.
“Although it is illegal to keep someone else’s passport, we are forced to keep them as deposits to protect our rights. But that has become ineffective as many renters have left their passports with us for years and never turned up to pay their dues and get the documents back,” said Badr Al Deen Abdull Raziq, manager of Al Tayseer Rent-A-Car in Sharjah. His company has suffered a loss of Dh300,000 due to such renters.
“At present, I have the labour card of a person named Ottuparakal Vasu Sanil from India who has not shown up for the past two years. He dumped the car somewhere. I had to lodge a complaint with the Sharjah Police whose patrol recovered it and handed it back to us. His dues had run into Dh30,000 and it’s very difficult to find him as he might have left the country somehow,” he said.
Abdull Razaq, owner of another company in Sharjah, said a renter, identified as Narayana, who came on visit visa, took a car on rent three years ago and didn’t come to take his passport and pay the dues which had gone up top Dh48,000. He left the car behind the company’s premises.
The owner of another company, who did not want to be named, said a visitor, Kuthirakode Abdulla Kunhi, took a car on rent three years ago and left his passport with the company.
“I wonder how this man has managed to leave the country if he has done it,” he said.
Bu Khatir, manager of a car rental company in Dubai, said that some of the customers take vehicles on rent and rent them out to others. Some such people do not pay the dues or even sell the vehicles.
“I had to face a case of a renter, Husham Abdullah, who rented out a car taken from us two years ago to an Iraqi man who stole the car and disappeared. Husham’s uncle had to ultimately pay the total price of the Land Cruiser,” he said.
Colonel Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Deputy Director of the General Department of Traffic in Dubai, said once they get such a complaint, a circular with descriptions and registration number of the car as well as the number of the passport is sent to all exit and entrance points and the police departments in the country.
The police patrols also have the information and they search for the vehicle within the emirate.