Man gets heart attack after renter disappears with his BMW
Offering his car for rent on online marketplace Carousell landed a man in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), after he was so stressed out that he suffered a heart attack.
The man had rented out his BMW for a month at $2,300 and the renter disappeared with the car. Two weeks after the $35,000 car was due to be returned, he was still uncontactable.
Car jockey Taufiq Hidayat, 28, related his father's experience to The New Paper. His father did not want to be named.
"My father was so worried sick about his car that he suffered a heart attack last Saturday at about 3am and had to be warded in the ICU," said Mr Taufiq.
When told about the laws governing car rentals, Mr Taufiq said: "I'm sure if my father was aware of the regulations, he wouldn't have rented out his car."
The Oct 15 deal, made through Carousell, was between Mr Taufiq's father and a man who called himself Thomas.
"The next day, Thomas came with a man called Muthu, who was in his mid-50s. Thomas introduced Muthu as his uncle," said Mr Taufiq.
"He told my father that Muthu was the one who wanted to rent the car."
Mr Taufiq's father then took a picture of Muthu's identity card and made him sign a handwritten contract. The $2,300 was paid in full.
That was the last time Mr Taufiq's father saw his car.
On Nov 15, the day that the car was supposed to be returned, Thomas was uncontactable.
"My father first thought that Thomas was busy, so he just let it slide and sent him another reminder," said Mr Taufiq.
Two days passed but there was still no news from Thomas.
"When we called him, we could hear the dial tone but no one answered the call," added Mr Taufiq.
"Even when we sent him a message on Whatsapp, we saw the blue ticks (an indication that the message was read) but there wasn't any reply."
Mr Taufiq then went to Muthu's house to demand for the car.
"When Muthu saw me, he seemed quite afraid," he said.
Muthu told him Thomas' real name and admitted that they were not related. They weren't even close friends, he claimed.
Mr Taufiq made a police report that day.
Over the past month, he also found out from summonses that the car had been cited for traffic offences, including speeding and beating a red light. There were over 20 fines, totalling $1,000.
On Nov 27, Mr Taufiq posted on Facebook everything that happened. His post received more than 490 shares and caught the eye of Mr Shahrukh, who runs a car rental company.
Four months ago, Mr Shahrukh, 22, had a terrible experience when he leased a Nissan Presage to a man with the same name.
The man had said he wanted to rent the car for a week but after taking the car for a four-hour ride, he demanded a refund "because he didn't like the car".
Mr Shahrukh did not give him any money back.
In October, there was also a complaint against the same man on online classified site Gumtree.
A Gumtree member with the username Mouzzammil made a fraud alert alleging that he had been cheated by the man.
The man had taken Mouzzammil's car for a one-day rental and abandoned it two days later, leaving the keys on one of the front tyres. Mouzzammil claimed the man texted him the location of the car.
"Fuel nearly empty, and scammed of taxi fares and rent for a day," he wrote, referring to the money he spent taking a taxi to the car.
Police investigations are ongoing.
Laws for car rentals
According to the Land Transport Authority website, private car owners are allowed to rent out their cars only if they fulfil two main requirements:
- The car owner has to ensure adequate insurance coverage for the period of rental.
- Private cars can be rented out only from 7pm on Friday to 7am of the following Monday and from 7pm on the eve of public holidays to 7am on the first working day following the public holiday.
Lawyer Lawrence Lang said that many car owners are reluctant to pay for car rental insurance because of its high premium.
"The main stumbling block of the scheme is the insurance coverage. Owners pay insurance according to the risk of claiming it," said the insurance and construction litigation lawyer.
"So when you pay for car rental insurance, you are assuming that the person who rents the car is at high risk, hence the high premium."