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April 08, 2015


UAE Consumer Q&As: Help! I've Crashed My Rental Car

In each transaction we make as consumers, including both online or in person, a contract serves as the best tool to understand and avoid unnecessary issues; it also adds limitations for both parties. Being busy is not a reason to neglect reading the contract. In my recent column in The National, I explained the importance of the contract and/or terms and conditions - please, protect yourself as a consumer by allocating time to reading those terms.

Renting a car is common in the UAE as it offers convenience for those who often travel. There is a wide range of cars consumers can choose from that will satisfy most budgets. After signing the contract with the car rental company, you are bound to agreements covering all important matters, especially relating to the car's insurance and all the company's registered cars must be insured within the UAE. But this doesn't mean that if an accident happens the insurance company will cover all the expenses and damage to the car; this depends and falls under two different kinds of liability, criminal liability (under the criminal penal code) and civil liability (traffic claim under Law No 21 of 1995). If the accident was caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it will fall under criminal liability. In this case, the insurance company will not be responsible for covering any damage incurred in the accident.

In the case of any accident, obtaining a police report is a must as it dictates the cause of the accident and helps to determine which party is liable. After obtaining the report, it should be assessed by the dealership to check what is covered through the terms of the insurance. If the car was not registered or insured, the car dealership will be liable to all expenses.

Similarly, additional services should be disclosed and clarified when purchasing an airline ticket. Terms and conditions should explain all the airline's policies including those that apply to any promotional packages. If there is an issue or changes within flight schedules, penalties must comply with the stated terms and conditions. The contract created upon purchase gives rise to an obligation that must be performed by both parties as stated in Article 125 of Law No 5 of 1985. Revoking or amending the contract is prohibited, unless by the agreement of both parties according to Article 276 of the law. Before purchasing tickets or any products, it's advisable to carefully read the terms and conditions in order to prevent unexpected issues from arising.

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