Rental bike stolen with RED plate advice

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by Joelthailand, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. Long story short, my friend rented a brand new 80k value scooter from backstreet bike rental shop. The bike was parked for a few days without moving one kilometer from the rental shop & mysteriously went missing! They won't give back his passport unless he pays the bikes full value!

    1. Is a rental shop allowed to rent a bike on a temporary RED number plate? He went to the police & they cannot help as the bike doesn't exist yet on any computer system to even check if it's been found or reported etc. (A red plate bike has no official number plate or green book or tax issued yet btw).

    2. Does a person have insurance if driving a scooter with a red plate? I would have thought a top end scooter would come with free 1st class insurance for the first year & my friend could pay the excess.

    He really wanted to rent an older Honda Click but the guys were very persuasive & wanted him to take a brand new bike for the same price as the Click. This sounds like a scam.

    Never rent a new bike with a RED plate, it seems to be a very grey area in regard to the illegality & the even just reporting it stolen when it doesn't really exist yet is difficult. With so many opinions I wonder if anyone else been in this situation?
  2. What's he going to do?

    Police don't seem to want to get involved. I wouldn't pay anything just yet as it sounds like a scam. Ask to see the bike's insurance document from the shop. If they don't have one, take a look at the rental contract, re: insurance and liability in case of damage and theft. See what's he liable for and try and enter into some form of 'discussion / negotiations'.

    I wish him the best of luck...
  3. Yes it sounds like a scam. If you're not getting help, I would make a complaint to my embassy saying that the bike shop is refusing to return the passport - theft.
    I think technically it is illegal for the bike shop to refuse to give the passport back - all Aussie passports are stamped " This Passport Remains The Property of the Australian Government;"

    & I suspect that most if not all other passports are printed with a similar notice.
    Worth a try.
  4. Out of curiosity I checked my U.S. Passport.

    "This passport is the property of the United States [statute quoted]. It must be surrendered upon demand made by an authorized representative of the United States Government". So, technically it seems you would have to get the consulate involved as 'an authorized representative of the government'.

    It also says loss or theft must be reported immediately. I would certainly try that route as it is no longer in his possession and state the circumstances.

    Keep us posted on how this turns out.
  5. 1. Motorbike probably only has compulsory insurance what is worthless if the bike is stolen
    2. You are actually prohibited from giving "your" passport to other people as government officials
    3. The shop must have at least applied for registration, the red plate is in theory registered in the name of the shop
    4. If the shop cannot show any papers of the motorbike then they probably still have the motorbike (they do not want you to register it stolen)
    5. Go back to police, report your passport stolen and demand report of stolen motorbike.
    6. Check the rental contract but you probably did agree to be responsible for the full amount of the motorbike.
  6. On a historical note on the same nature....

    "Funny" how it goes.....once upon a time in Chiang Mai - 25 years ago - there was a fatherly rental shop that had the reputation among us locals, that if you rented from them the bike was either stolen & you had to pay for a replacement, or drugs were fund under the seat on their bikes ( on a regular basis) & you had to pay off the police.

    But now for me if any rental shop asks I say no passport no rental, such are the scams run by the renters. I would NEVER rent a bike to a customer without their passport for deposit.

    How time flies.

    Chang Noi how do you go renting a bike without a passport - what surety to do you advise people give?
  7. Thanks for all the replies so far, still hoping to hear a first hand experience with a rental red plate theft.

    I spoke to a guy with a bike rental shop & he said (in bad English) if bike is bought from dealership in the rental company name for the purpose of renting out, then a red plate is OK but if the bike is bought in a private name then the bike cannot be legally rented to a stranger for business use especially when on a red plate! Still a bit grey!!

    I also spoke to a farang tourist police & he said there have been quite a few cases of stolen new bikes being riden around on dodgy red plates & this is getting more common in Phuket.

    He also said never rent a bike with a red plate!! If it's your only option then write down the frame number or take a photo of the frame number, it's the only way to report or identify a bike with only a red plate. When a bike is given a white plate then the renter can easily check the frame number is printed on the road tax disc & you can see at a glance that all the bikes numbers match.

    There are many big bikes being rented in Patong & now I cringe when I see tourists zipping around on brand new 400,000Baht+ R1's, MT-09's, Gixxer1000's, z800's & Ducati's on red plates!! Bar hopping at night or parking near secluded beaches by day or generally riding them like idiots.....and all on RED plates.....that's gonna be expensive should they smash them up or they get stolen!!

    My friend will talk to a lawyer in a few days & work out a plan of attack! If all else fails report your passport stolen I guess & get a new one, a big hassle but better than being scammed for 80,000baht.
  8. I recall something like this happened before.

    They were forced to return the passport, or the passport was cancelled and the person was given a new one. I forget which.

    When they tried to leave the country they were taken into custody and charged with some crime referrring to the incident. I think they had written it off and not had it stolen from them. Either way, they were charged and had their visa status effected so that they could not exit the country until they paid the amount. Not a nice thing to happen as you're boarding a plane to go to work or go home.
  9. David I agree with you, on the other hand I will never give my passport as deposit for anything.

    So the motorbike rental should get real and do like car-rental companies do ... ask for credit-card.
    Of course that is not going to happen as I think many motorbike-rental companies have a second agenda of laundering money. And that is a bit difficult with a money trail via a credit-card.

    All people renting out bikes and demanding a passport for the bike do probably have no full-insurance for the motorbike. I rent sometimes a bike in Pattaya, I pay a cash deposit of 1500 - 5000 Thai baht (depending on the bike). That is my max. risk even if the bike is stolen. No deposit of my passport.

    The fact is that many people have a rental-company but put ALL the risk at the person who is renting. That is not a fair way of doing business.

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