UAE consumer Q&As: Help! I’ve crashed my rental car

Etihad ticket holder left spinning her wheels over chauffeur service.
Q: If I rent a car from a local dealership and get into a car accident, what is my liability for the damage? What should I do when the accident happens?

A: First and foremost, all rental cars should be registered with authorities in the UAE. All registered cars must be insured with companies in the UAE. The extent of insurance coverage is governed by an agreement signed between the car dealership and insurance agreement.

There can be two kinds of liabilities – criminal liability under the criminal penal code and civil liability-traffic claim Law No 21 of 1995. Any extent of damages resulting from a car crash is subject to an insurance agreement signed between the insurance company and dealership. Criminal liability may arise when a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of accident. The insurance company may not be responsible to cover any damage resulting from a criminal liability.

When a crash happens, you should contact the police immediately to obtain a police report. A police report generally dictates the cause of accident and determines which party is at fault. After you have obtained the police report, you should contact the dealership to assess the extent of damages covered under the insurance agreement. If the car is not registered or insured by the car dealership then any liability arising because of a crash falls upon the car dealership.

Q: I booked a business class ticket on Etihad Airways as it offered chauffeur service. When I called to book the chauffeur I was informed that I was not eligible as the ticket I had purchased was a business saver. When booking the ticket, the drop box that stipulated the terms and conditions of the ticket did not indicate that a chauffeur would not be available. The terms and conditions of the chauffeur on the website did not indicate that chauffeur service would not be available for business saver ticket holders. Had I known this, I would not have bought the ticket. Upon calling and writing to Etihad, I realised that they were unable to provide me with a chauffeur even if I was ready to pay for it. They were unable to change the ticket. I phoned the Etihad call centre to see if they could help me by providing me with a chauffeur in Bangalore, India, as I was a woman travelling alone. When I asked them to at least change my flight timing, for safety reasons, they were unable to do so without penalising me.

A: All air tickets purchased from an airline company are subject to terms and conditions. Terms and conditions must disclose all policies concerning chauffeur services – whether they are available for “business saver” packages or not. Any changes in ticket schedule or applicable penalty must comply with airline terms and conditions. Therefore, it is advisable to read terms and conditions before purchasing an airline ticket. Article 125 of Law No 5 of 1985 states that contract creates obligation on both parties and such obligations must be performed as per terms of the contract. Article 276 of the law states no party may amend or revoke an agreement unless by agreement or by provision of laws.

If you have a question for Mr Elhais, email with the subject line ‘Consumer Q&A’.

Published: April 8, 2015 04:00 AM


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