3 young Brits released from Dubai after rental car ‘episode’.
Three 18 year old Londoners faced charges in Dubai over a rental car incident. The group had decided to take a few days away before returning to studies but they had no idea it would turn into a highly expensive and frightening experience.
The group rented a Range Rover from Rotana car rentals to enjoy throughout their stay. One of the drivers accidentally scraped a bin in a public car park from a distance of one metre. The bin owner called the police and the driver was charged with ‘driving without a licence’, although he held a provisional. Rotana demanded £16,000 for the small scratches but they still faced potential prison time. The bin owner also wanted to open a civil case for the damage to his bin.
“We got in touch with Rotana and asked them to drop the police cases against the boys which they were happy to do”, said Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai. “We also raised the case to authorities and fortunately, with our combined effort with the local legal team, we were able to get the cases cancelled and the boys home.
“In other cases, rental car companies have demanded excessive fees for damage, even where the customer had purchased comprehensive insurance. This has been a means to extort funds from visitors who are assumed to be wealthy. Travellers are advised not to pay such demands, even when under pressure. Rental car agencies should not be holding passports as leverage to extort funds, nor should they be using law enforcement in the same way.
“I’m glad this case was resolved promptly and the boys are now safely at home. Without intervention, it could easily have turned into a months-long stay.”