Unfair repair charges on rentals..advice pls

Discussion in 'Technical' started by DavidFL, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Transferred from old message board
    and posted by Willy Wombat 24 November 2007

    Hi everyone
    I'm hoping to rent a bike on several occasions in the near future but am concerned re getting a massive over inflated bill and being held to ransom (as a result of them having my passport) in the case of any damage incurred .These anxieties have been fuelled by regular online stories of travellers being fleeced for small scratches etc with the repair costs being determined purely by the unscrupulous hirers greed. I just wanted to ask what one can / should do if you are faced with obviously over the top demands for an unreasonable compensation sum or you are accused of pre existing damage. In the latter case I expect a suggestion is to photo any damage beforehand but in reality one could argue that photos can be taken after new damage also and claimed they were of a pre existing nature. basically if all goes pear shaped how does one reach a fair settlement? I've heard of people contacting the tourist police who often intervene only if they can cash in themselves.
    call me paranoid but i'm sure many people would like some well thought out advice on this perennial problem. advice/suggestions/anecdotes would be most appreciated as would recommendations of outfits who have a certain amount of integrity and won't attempt credit card extortion if you do have trouble.(visiting chiang mai area soon).One last question ...when checking a bike over is pre existing damage generally written down ....in the west we often have a silhouette of the vehicle on paper where crosses and comments can be put to show marks/cracks etc ..this is then signed by both parties and a copy kept by both.I presume many people accept a verbal agreement but is this wise? i hate to be untrusting but also wish to protect myself .
    I await your views and comments
    many thanks
    Bill (currently in Hua Hin)
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  3. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ol'Timer

    Well, I guess its a case of if the rental shop does not have a duplicate system of recording pre-existing damage, you could / should make some notes yourself on a sheet of paper and ask them to sign it before you leave.

    The problem works in reverse as well... there are reputable rental shops here who give great service and then get ripped off by scumbag customers. As an example, a guy takes a bike out for a few days, has an accident and bends the frame or breaks something. He does some dodgy repairs to hide the damages, and brings the bike back in the late evening darkness, parking it as far from the shop lights as possible... :(

    Sometimes it works - he gets his passport and does a runner, leaving the shop out of pocket for the repairs, and with no income on the bike while its being fixed. Thats a pretty dirty way to treat a small business owner, and its not like the repairs were even going to be a major cost, given local wage rates.

    Sometimes, a guilty demeanor attracts attention, prompting the shop owner to take a closer look at the bike. The discovery of the attempts at damage concealment are sure to promote a confrontation of some sort. This is usually going to result in absolute maximum damages being charged, because the customer has just lost all pre-existing goodwill.

    Honesty is the best policy - be aware of any damage you do, and be the first to point it out. That will maximise your credibility, and minimise your costs - and you'll be a respected customer next time you visit. :D
  4. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Almost everyone carries a digital camera. Take photos of the condition of the bike before you leave the rental shop and any existing damage, they will be time and date stamped by your camera. Also show the owner you have done this.

    Although it may not completely avoid disagreements, it will certainly add to the credibility of ones claims of pre-existing damage when you return the bike.
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah it certainly can & does work both ways. ..
    I know of another case in Chiang Mai right now, & still not settled where a certain rider, known to us on this board, rented a bike from Mr Mechanic a week ago. Took it out for some rider training on the dirt, dumped it, broke the friont brake lever, scratched the whole right hand side of the bike & bent the sub frame, all on their best "new" XR250. He returned the bike & he was not happy with the 2,000 baht damages claimed, gave them a mere 200 baht (an insult) & stormed off.
    Meanwhile the bike is off the road losing them 800-1,000 baht a day in rent.
    Mr Mechanic are talking to the police & the "gentleman" in question might want to do the right thing & pay some satisfactory & adequate compensation for bending someone else's bike.

    If you take a look at
    http://www.gt-rider.com/motorcycle-tour ... rvices.htm
    you will see "Hire prices in Chiang Mai are very cheap with most of the shops struggling to survive in kow season. So take care of your bike, don't try to screw the shop owner, and they'll be there when you come back next year."
    The guy who rented the bike from Mr Mechanic & refused to pay is wealthy, on an expat salary, owns several bikes & is not doing anyone any favours. Fair go mate!
  6. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    As with the posts above... I think it is a two way street...

    The bikes don't make a whole heap of money for the shop through renting, and I know that some of them supplement that by overstating repair prices for damage...

    but remember also, that you can expect prices for parts to effect repairs to be WAY more expensive in Thailand than most other places... limited market, multiple relationships, etc...

    personally, I would rent from a reputable shop, treat the bike like you would your own (no better :D or worse), and be confident that if you do bin it, the costs should only be about as high as they would be to repair your own bike if you stacked it...

    and as with Dave's post, whilst some of the shops may be doing better than some other Thais, I don't think many of them are living the high life, so treat them with respect as well... it is the food for their family you are toying with...

  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Correction, the bill has / was settled for 1,000 baht after the police were involved. As Mr Mechanic said, just a lever alone was 400 baht, so why insult people with 200 baht offers..
  8. katana

    katana Active Member

    The easiest way is to go to the local honda/yamaha/kawasaki dealer or in the case of big bikes your local big bike shop and get a quote from them.

    We always take the customer and the damaged bike to the repairer so the know exactly what the price is and where it will be repaired.

    The only time I've been hot under the collar was when a yank refused to pay for the bottle of 2-stroke oil he asked me to put in for him and came back with the tank bone dry as well. A 250baht x 2 day rental that he rode 600k's on -200baht fuel and -100baht in 2-stroke oil ........

    If you think you are being ripped off then call the tourist police and they will sort it out.
    THX Mark
  9. penetrator

    penetrator Ol'Timer

    Think I struck gold with the Thai lady I rent from in Pattaya. Any problems with the bikes she gets it repaired straight away without trying to blame me, even when I lost an indicator lens she didn't charge me, fills up the bike with 2T whenever it gets low without charging me and only costs me 2000 baht a week for a CRM250 - thinks that's a special hansum man rate though :wink:

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