Withholding a Car Rental Customer’s Passport Is Illegal in Dubai

Five Palm Jumeira Hotel and Resort

The Brit who racked up the $47,000 speeding fine in the Lamborghini Huracán in Dubai, is still playing hardball according to Gulf News. He has become a Julian Assange clone in the Five Palm Jumeirah Hotel and Resort, with the car in the street outside and not taking phone calls. His passport is still locked in the car rental safe.

This puts the car rental company somewhere between a rock and a hard place. If they take the car back they close the rental, then they are up for the fine. Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Director of Traffic Department in Dubai Police, confirmed police have no warrant to seize the car either.


Abdullah Nasir Says Withholding Passports is Illegal


Abdullah should know, He is a leading defense lawyer in Dubai, and looks like a smart sheik in his white ghutrah headgear topped with black agal cord. “It is illegal for a car rental office to ask a client to deposit their passport as a guarantee or security against a contract to rent a car,” he says.

“According to UAE laws, law enforcement bodies are the only ones permitted to seize or confiscate a passport that is regarded as a personal belonging. Laws are meant to protect retailers’ rights and to regulate the relationship with clients. The pertinent car rental office has the right to seek legal action before the Civil Court.”


But What if the Client Skips the Country?


Another Dubai car rental company has six similar cases worth a total $24,500 trundling through the courts. “I decided to sell my sport cars as the problems from them are more than the profit,” the owner told Gulf News. “We keep the passport as a guarantee if the customer has no credit cards. There is no proper quick way to get our rights from reckless customers.”

The ‘plop’ you heard was a crocodile tear crashing onto the floor. From what we’ve heard, there are no ‘proper ways’ for rental customers to enforce their rights under collision damage waivers either, so this sounds like a case of the biter bit back.

Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui recommends rental companies “protect themselves by putting a large block on credit cards to ensure fines can be paid if incurred”. We won’t be falling for that one anytime soon at Bonzah. Having the block lifted from the States could prove a challenge, we suspect. We will stick to providing affordable rental car insurance instead. It’s what we do best.

Recent News

Dark Side of Car Rental Shows Up in Dubai

The Four £500 Scratches the Client Didn’t Cause

Five Palm Jumeirah Hotel and Resort: Image Five Hotels and Resorts