DO NOT RENT A JET SKI IN PATTAYA!
The Pattaya Jet Ski Scam is one of the longest running scams in town. My friends, don’t fall victim to this rip-off. This scam happens every single day in Pattaya.
I was down at the beach today and witnessed it happening again. The funny thing about it is that everyone on the beach is watching and knowing it’s happening except for the hapless victims.
Today’s episode happened in front of the Nautica Hotel. There’s a shifty bunch of jet ski operators that work right in this area. But don’t think that this is the only location where the scam takes place. This is just where I happened to see it come down today. The scam happens all up and down the beach and has gone unchecked for years.
Jet ski scammers seem to prey on single men who are out for an adrenalin rush on the waves. Most customers never take a second look at the jet ski when they first rent it. They just want to get out on the waves and race around. Most times the guys just race around madly until they are finally called back to the beach by the operator when their time is up.
Once the boys bring the machines back to shore that’s when the scamming begins. The operator will run the jet ski up onto the beach so that the underbelly is fully exposed. He then examines the “damage” that was caused by the customer. Meanwhile, there stands the customer, without a clue as to what’s happening.
Naturally the operator is upset about the “damage” to his jet ski. The unwitting victim doesn’t remember hitting anything or having a collision while out on the waves. The jet ski operator, however, is there with photos to prove the extent of the damage.
Yes, the operators now have cameras with “before” photos of the undamaged jet ski. For some reason, I have never seen anyone question the veracity of these “before” photos. They could have been taken months ago when the jet ski was just purchased. Who knows? They may even be doctored up. Nevertheless, in the latest version of this scam, the operators are able to produce photos.
Not long ago, the operators used to put some kind of substance like putty over the damage. The putty would come off during all of the bouncing around on the waves and the damage would be revealed back on the beach.
At any rate, now they appear to have the proof and now the negotiations begin. I don’t understand why these victims just don’t walk away, but they don’t. They just stand there and accept that there has, indeed, been damage done to the jet ski. What’s up with that?
Today was no different. The two customers actually went back to the shade and sat down with the operator to haggle about the amount of the damage. As this takes place, other beach vendors, who are in on the scam, show up to watch and lend support to the jet ski operators.
This can be a scary situation. Today there was a knife sitting right on the table which had previously been used to open coconuts. Now the operator has it in his hand as he is talking with his customer. Don’t get me wrong, today no threats were made, but the guy is sitting there with a knife, for God’s sake. What are you going to do?
The victim is plainly at a disadvantage. I sat and watched today for over an hour as this scene unfolded. The operator is in no hurry. In fact, the longer the negotiations take place, the more valid becomes his claim for damages.
Sometimes, the negotiations do turn violent and the police are called in to help. When the police arrive, they help to sort things out, BUT the vendor always wins in the end. The police will usually arrange for a pay-off of much less than the original exorbitant demand. But you can be certain that the money always goes to the operator. The victim never just walks away without paying something. So, if this happens to you, don’t expect the police to be on your side.
The operator always pleads that he is going to lose the use of the jet ski while it is being repaired. The loss of income plus the actual cost of the repair will be costly.
As tempers rise, other vendors and operators appear out of the wood work. Look out. Here comes another guy casually carving up a coconut as he watches the action.
They must have some kind of signal to call in the other guys, because they all seem to appear at the same time. Like I said, everyone on the beach knows exactly what’s going on and every player will get a cut of the action.
How much are we talking about? The Pattaya Daily News recently reported a demand for $100,000 baht ($3,400 USD). Yes, you read that right, one hundred thousand baht! That’s a hell of a good scam. In that case some Ukrainian tourists were actually beaten by jet ski thugs.
Last July and August, things seemed to heat up for the jet ski mafia as Pattaya city officials clamored for a solution. Town meetings were held. Laws requiring licensing and insurance were enacted. Everybody was up in arms for about a month.
Now things down at the beach are back to normal with more tourists getting ripped-off every day.
Today the police weren’t called in at all. The victims accepted their plight and called a friend who showed up with the cash. I have no idea how much money exchanged hands today.
Guys, come to Pattaya. Enjoy the nightlife and the Pattaya Girls, but, DON’T RENT A JET SKI IN PATTAYA!