The call every vehicle operator dreads. “This is Sergeant Bxytzll (Not real name) . Your vehicle has been stolen”. There begins the arduous process of visiting police stations, filling in numerous forms, calling your insurance company, whilst all the time, trying to make sure your guest’s itinerary is not impacted in any way.
Unfortunately, my experience was a little different.
To any tour operator, having a vehicle stolen is a nightmare. The first thing is to call ground handlers to assist with transfers, re-schedule activities for guests and cancel pre-diarise business meetings. One-hour seems to blur into the next.
In my case, some respite came later in the form of another call from the police, saying the vehicle had been recovered and had been towed to the pound. As soon as towing costs were paid further details would follow, and I could recover the vehicle. Sergeant Bxytzll suggested he had a few forms to complete and presented me with two options. I could either send a driver to pick up the vehicle (he would need to present his I.D and proof of employment on a company letterhead), or, the tow company could deliver the vehicle directly to our offices. The latter was obviously far more convenient so I made the payment. The fact that I could get my vehicle back and checked out before the start of the high season was at the fore of my mind.
Hours after the expected delivery time and, only being met by a “the number you have dialled does not exist,” from Sergeant Bxytzll’s contact number, I immediately drove to the nearest police station. There was no case, there was no recovery and there was no information on my vehicle at all. I could feel my blood pressure starting to rise. Not only had I lost a valuable company asset, wasted an afternoon, but obviously been scammed out of a great deal of money in fictitious ‘towing fees’ too.
Regrettably this story is not unique.
SCAM ALERT – please note the below if your vehicle is stolen
The usual insurance protocols for stolen vehicles will apply
Any other costs incurred in a scam, as detailed above, are lost and not redeemable