How the scam works:
If you are visiting Pattaya, Thailand, and want to rent a jet ski, be very careful. Thousands of tourists have complained about a scam that is being pulled there.
How does it work? When you bring back the jet ski, the agent will “find” damages on it (big, pre-existing ones-- or something that he could pull right away).
This happens to almost every customer, as every successful scam could potentially bring the agents their wage for a full week.
Finding “unexpected” damages, agents will ask you to pay a fine of up to 50,000 Thai Bahts ($1,600US; 1,100 EURO; 1,000GBP). Surprised, you start arguing, and really think you got a good deal when you negotiate the final penalty to about 5,000 Bahts, while in fact, that’s what the scammers want.
On a different note, still in Pattaya, exactly the same scam is being pulled in lower rated hotels (the scammers are most likely in the same group of friends). At the time of the checkout, they will claim damages in your room, and ask for 30,000 Bahts.
How to avoid:
Especially in Pattaya (but you could do it anywhere else, too), don’t hesitate to take pictures of the room before the checkout, just so you have proof. When it comes to the jet ski, it’s really tough to avoid, since the scammers can disconnect wires or buttons within seconds. Have the jet ski within your sight, up to the second you are closing the deal.
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