Beware scooter rentals on Cozumel

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#1
15 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
We were aboard the Carnival Triumph last week (6/1 - 6/7) cruising to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios. During our stop in Cozumel we decided to rent scooters and ride around the island. We rented from Explora Rentadora, which is located behind the McDonalds. We actually had a great time on the ride and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I know...Carnival advises against renting scooters because unskilled riders are in danger from all the traffic in town. Riding in town was not fun but the traffic is nearly non-existent once you get outside.

The problem arose when my wife accidently hit the accelerator and bumped her scooter into another one while we were pulling out of a parking space after eating lunch on the far side of the island. The collision caused paint scrapes on both scooters - each about the size of a quarter. I knew we were in for a damage fee but I had no idea what was coming.

When we returned the scooters, the rental guy immediately started scanning each one (we rented 5) very carefully. It seemed odd to me that they didn't even check to make sure we had gassed up - but that was only a $5 charge per scooter if we didn't. (We did.) However, they were scanning the scooters for damages as carefully as a jeweler studies a diamond. Upon noticing the small scrapes, they hit us with a demand for $300 and would not back down no matter how much we debated.

While we were guilty of damaging the scooters, $300 seems ridiculous for something you know they aren't going to repair anyway. I was mentally prepared to be charged $50 or $100 and I probably would not have been upset by that. What really got me was the way they immediately started inspecting the scooters, looking for damage. It was obvious that was how they made their profit for the day. Rental fees and gas charges are chump change. The likelyhood that inexperienced riders are going to end up with a scrape or two, especially given the congestion in town, is pretty high. That's where the money can be made!

If you plan to rent scooters, expect to have a great time but beware that any damage, not matter how small, is going to cost you.
#2
Norfolk Virginia
5,605 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
I would not rent a scooter, but appreciate the heads up for those that might.....did you post this in the Cozumel section too?
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#3
56,618 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Regardless of paint scrapes, damage, whatever... renting these things is just a bad idea. EVERY time I've been to Cozumel someone has been carried back on board the ship after an accident on one of these rolling junk piles.

Get a cab, walk, do whatever but DON'T rent these scooters or mopeds...

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#5
8,002 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
They know they can get the money from you because protesting would just bring the police into it and that would take too much time and cause you to miss the ship and maybe even get arrested. Most people are just going to pay it. I probably would pay up too altho I don't ever plan to rent any type of vehicle in Mexico, ever. Years ago my aunt an uncle ran into a situation in Mexico that involved a rental car. I don't remember the circumstances (I think it was a minor fender bender) but they spent either several hours or overnight in a Mexican jail and were told they would stay there until they paid up.
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#6
Ohio
330 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Now that you are safely home, can't you dispute it with your credit card company? I know from the buisness that I am in, the rental company would have to prove you knew about the cost prior to taking the scooter out?
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#8
Southeast of Disorder
19,282 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by Host Mach
Regardless of paint scrapes, damage, whatever... renting these things is just a bad idea.
.

Get a cab, walk, do whatever but DON'T rent these scooters or mopeds...

Good advice Mach.

Taking a cab is probably the best idea although that was an experience - kind of like an "E ticket" ride at Disneyland.
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#9
507 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
I Agree Mopeds on vacation are a bad idea. I have done it several times and on several different islands. Having said that It is important to note that I have been riding motorcycles for 25+ years. If you have never ridden or have not ridden for along time, then being on vacation is not going to make you any safer.

Some people on vacation feel bulletproof. We were vacationing on Cozumel for a week. Some friends decided leave teh beach and to head back to the hotel. One Gal pal jumped on moped for THE FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE. She lost control, struck a curb and FACE PLANTED into a pole!

We..she was lucky we had a doctor buddy with us and he was able to meet her in the ER and take control of the situation. Freaky...and we were not trying to catch a big ship..

Food for thought....
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#10
11,387 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
I agree that renting scooters is a terrible idea. But the $300.00 charge is not unreasonable. Take your car to a body shop with a quarter size scrape on the paint and there is no way you'll get it fixed for $300. More like $500. And you had that much damage on each scoot. $300. is not bad. Doesn't matter if they fix it or not, you damaged their property.

My car was 2 days old when a girl backed out of a parking space and hit my BUMPER. Left a little tiny scrape on my bumper but I was PO'd. 2 days old! Took it to 2 body shops. $1018 and $1070. Got her check for 1070. If you look real close you can still see the tiny scrape.

Dan
#11
Houston
1,135 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
I'm sure it's just another money making deal for them. That's why they didn't look at the gas first. $5 gas or $300 scrape/ding.... I would contact your credit card company and see what they think of it..
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#12
15 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
There is no recourse with the credit card company because Explora Rentadora absolutely insisted on being paid in cash or traveler's checks. They only took the Visa as a security deposit. At first I thought they just wanted to avoid the fees Visa would charge, but now I realize it was to avoid the possibility of me disputing the charges.

I was stupid and trusting. Now I have learned a lesson. I posted this here mainly so others could learn from my mistake and avoid the same problem on their vacation.
#13
8,002 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Originally posted by ETBee
There is no recourse with the credit card company because Explora Rentadora absolutely insisted on being paid in cash or traveler's checks. They only took the Visa as a security deposit. At first I thought they just wanted to avoid the fees Visa would charge, but now I realize it was to avoid the possibility of me disputing the charges.

I was stupid and trusting. Now I have learned a lesson. I posted this here mainly so others could learn from my mistake and avoid the same problem on their vacation.
Did they say what would happen if you didn't have the cash or traveler's checks?
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#15
IOPSC
7,210 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
We were in Cozumel several years ago and were eating at an upstairs eatery when out the window we hear and see "bam" - Damn S**T/etc. I look down and a guy is getting up from where he slid going around a corner. The front wheel is crumpled in and he is holding his head. I felt like trying to help him but amazingly he got back on the moped/scooter and we saw him limp on around the corner. The wheel was going crazy - like thump/bump/thump - I cannot even imagine what his bill was nor what his head/shoulders/arms and legs looked like.

I would never rent/ride one in another country. I have to agree that sane people that would never get on one at home become insane and go merrily around expecting the ground to be soft when they fall... lol.
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#16
10,074 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by ETBee
We were aboard the Carnival Triumph last week (6/1 - 6/7) cruising to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios. During our stop in Cozumel we decided to rent scooters and ride around the island. We rented from Explora Rentadora, which is located behind the McDonalds. We actually had a great time on the ride and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I know...Carnival advises against renting scooters because unskilled riders are in danger from all the traffic in town. Riding in town was not fun but the traffic is nearly non-existent once you get outside.

The problem arose when my wife accidently hit the accelerator and bumped her scooter into another one while we were pulling out of a parking space after eating lunch on the far side of the island. The collision caused paint scrapes on both scooters - each about the size of a quarter. I knew we were in for a damage fee but I had no idea what was coming.

When we returned the scooters, the rental guy immediately started scanning each one (we rented 5) very carefully. It seemed odd to me that they didn't even check to make sure we had gassed up - but that was only a $5 charge per scooter if we didn't. (We did.) However, they were scanning the scooters for damages as carefully as a jeweler studies a diamond. Upon noticing the small scrapes, they hit us with a demand for $300 and would not back down no matter how much we debated.

While we were guilty of damaging the scooters, $300 seems ridiculous for something you know they aren't going to repair anyway. I was mentally prepared to be charged $50 or $100 and I probably would not have been upset by that. What really got me was the way they immediately started inspecting the scooters, looking for damage. It was obvious that was how they made their profit for the day. Rental fees and gas charges are chump change. The likelyhood that inexperienced riders are going to end up with a scrape or two, especially given the congestion in town, is pretty high. That's where the money can be made!

If you plan to rent scooters, expect to have a great time but beware that any damage, not matter how small, is going to cost you.
You knew when you rented the scooters that you were liable for ANY damage done. You consented to the charges when you signed the contract and took the scooters on the road.

The time to think of outrageous charges is BEFORE you rent, not after you rent and damage has been done.

Anyone who had researched rentals in Mexico (either car or scooter) would have known that: a) insurance, if you chose it is extremely high; b) damage assessment and charges are extremely high and interpretation is completely at the discretion of the owner; c) concession owners pay outrageous prices for repairs and pass those charges to the rentor.

There is a reason why Carnival (and others) urge you NOT to rent these death traps in Mexico. You chose to ignore good advice.

Thanks for pointing out, again, why it's not a good idea.
#17
SK Canada
656 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
When we were in Coz the same thing happened to our table mates. They were told to pay 300 in cash or be sent to a mexican prison. They were crying and injured after a minor crash. But they began to run away from the scooter owners towards the ship. The Carnival security told them to get on the boat and to call their credit card company and to refuse the charges. I never heard an update because we didnt exchange contact info but I believe they were able to get their Credit Card company to not pay the charges.
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#18
Pittsburgh PA
391 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
We rented scooters, only once, in Cozumel. A month later Visa informed us that charges were being made all over Cozumel using our CC number(we were still holding the card). The only time we had used that card was renting those scooters. First time that's ever happened to us -and we've visited 30 countries and 8 different islands!!

I wouldn't trust any of the scooter rental places.
#19
Minnesota
1,909 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by G'ma
You knew when you rented the scooters that you were liable for ANY damage done. You consented to the charges when you signed the contract and took the scooters on the road.

The time to think of outrageous charges is BEFORE you rent, not after you rent and damage has been done.

Anyone who had researched rentals in Mexico (either car or scooter) would have known that: a) insurance, if you chose it is extremely high; b) damage assessment and charges are extremely high and interpretation is completely at the discretion of the owner; c) concession owners pay outrageous prices for repairs and pass those charges to the rentor.

There is a reason why Carnival (and others) urge you NOT to rent these death traps in Mexico. You chose to ignore good advice.

Thanks for pointing out, again, why it's not a good idea.
Sorry, but I don't think the OP was looking for a lecture, just pointing out the error they made as a warning to others that aren't as knowledgable as you appear to be.
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#20
Chicago South Suburbs
6,007 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
I'd be willing to bet this guy would not take a credit card for the fee. Only wanted cash. Just a hunch!
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