Phuket and Patong Beach Jet Ski Scam Info
Jet ski scams are unfortunately quite common in Phuket and the majority of these scams happen on Patong Beach which is the busiest beach on the island. Exactly how many of these scams have happened over the years is anyone's guess, as these incidents often don't involve the police and when they do, the police are in on the scam it anyway.
Ok, lets picture this scenario: You arrive in Phuket and it's you first trip and you decide to stay at Patong - Beach which is where all the action is. It's your first day down at the beach and you have no clue about any jet ski scams and are interested in taking one for a ride. As you walk down to the beach, you get approached by groups of guys who run the jet skis and are pressuring you to hire a jet ski and it looks like a lot of fun, so you take up the offer.
You jump on the jet ski and take it for a good spin and when you return it, the jet ski operators take a look at the sides and the bottom of the jet ski and point to some damage. The damage was already there before you took it out and the operators know this, but they are blaming you for this damage. You begin to argue with the operator that you didn't damage the jet ski, but then the rest of his crew gather around and start to argue. You continue to say that you didn't do it, but then the whole crew start to get restless and threaten you with violence if you don't pay a large sum of money to get the jet ski repaired. The stand over tactics continue and after arguing with them and getting nowhere, you say to them that you are taking the matter to the police and they say that they are coming with you.
You arrive at the police station and tell the matter to the police and the police don't seem to believe you that it wasn't you that is at fault. The police negotiate with the jet ski operators to reduce the repair bill which is less than half of what was first mentioned and you reluctantly pay the operators.
You walk away feeling the worst, as you just got scammed and had to part with your money and this nearly ruins your first holiday to Phuket. If you think you can just fight your way out of the situation, then this isn't going to work, as the jet ski operators are like a mafia and you will find yourself or your friends if you have any - up against dozens of guys and some of them carry weapons.
Scams like the above have happened many times before and will no doubt happen again. The jet ski operators will meet up with the police later on in the day or night and go halves in the money scam and the jet ski remains damaged for another helpless victim for another day.
With the police being in on these kinds of scams, they look set to continue for quite some time and it's scams like these that are giving Phuket a bad reputation.
Even if you were to go over the jet ski to check for any damage before you take one out, there is nothing stopping the dodgy dishonest operators from just blaming you for the damage on another jet ski and with the cops being on their side, you can't do anything about that. Also, you could actually have an accident out there on the water and hit another jet ski. This happens quite often and if you really do damage the jet ski badly, you could find yourself paying a ridiculously inflated repair bill.
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