In last chapter we lost the car keys, but fortunately not the car. This small fact made us learn a valuable (sic!) lesson.
3 days after unsuccessful attempts to find the keys we went once more to the Coral bungalow to look for them, unfortunately failing again.
But T. had an idea. As a proprietor of golden mastercard, he had extensive insurance included in it. We were hoping that it would cover lost keys as well. He spent some time investigating the matter before, and now was collecting the list of documents necessary for the refund to be done.
That was when the owner called, saying that the whole cost of replacing keys locks and ignition station would be 15,000 B. Almost twice the previous amount. Of course, it would be legit if he shown us some kind of garage estimation for such a repair on paper. Only then the insurance might work. But it was all by word. What we planned to do was give the guy the list of all the documents necessary (the insurance claim, cost estimation and so on). However, the insurance would only work if dealt directly with the owner ie. paying to him. Tricky, but we hoped it would work. After initial refuse by owner to do the payment this way, T. decided to go to police station to fill the claim for the insurance. When we arrived there officer first showed some compassion for the situation, agreeing that 15,000 for a key was overcharge.
We were about to fill the report, but forgot to take the copy of contract with us, so T. came back and I stayed in the station. In the meantime, I met 2 people whose motorbikes got stolen. And they were supposed to pay for them in cash, since no rental company on the island would ever include insurance. And the prices were quite hefty. For the bike of 250 ccm one of the guys was supposed to pay 170,000 B.
T. came back, so we got to the counter again. The officer wasn’t there anymore, but there was another. He was totally unfriendly, asking us questions in thaiglish sounding as if we were accused of stealing at least. We wanted to speak with previous guy, but were said that he left home (which was a bullshit, because he told us would be here until midnight), and we have to come back tomorrow. So we kept on explaining ourselves, but it was obvious that anything we said will not turn in our favor. After 15 minutes I took the walk and met the officer that was allegedly home… at the stairs. He told us to wait and call the owner to come here in order to claim the issue, and in the meantime served the poor guy whom motorcycle was stolen. Owner arrived in 15 minutes with some paper that was supposedly the repair estimation. It was all in thai, no stamp or anything, could be as well a bill from the restaurant. In the end of it were 2 numbers: 12000 and 3000. We sat down at the counter and 2 officers started speaking in thai with owner. From that moment once they switched into english it was no longer a conversation. It was repeating:
“15000 you pay now”
Of course we didn’t have that amount of cash with us, and even if we had, we would not pay it. Without asking us anything, officer wrote the report in thai, refusing to write in english or even translate verbally. T. was supposed to sign it, otherwise they wouldn’t let us go. It started looking scary, since it could as well say that we were accused of possessing drugs and by signing we admitted it.
The only thing owner had was T.s’ passport and now a paper from the police. In the worst case passport could be report as lost and within 3 days the new one would be issued in the french embassy in Bangkok.
After leaving we were almost decided to go this way, but T. was afraid of being stopped in the airport and not let go out the country.
Since T. was tired of the whole situation and we both wanted to get rid of the problem and get out of the island we paid 2 hours later. Whole amount.
The conclusion is that if there is any conflict between you and thai, the social system will do everything to make you pay. As I read before coming to Asia, in Thailand the farangs are always perceived as rich and thus are treated as walking ATM’s in many situations, which became nothing but the truth.
We made a mistake and paid dearly. Expensive lesson learnt. Mai pen rai