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 Car rental firms seek forum to liaise with traffic department- A Report From Qatar Daily Gulf Times

Mr Ziad Usman, AGM, Al Muftah Services and Rent A Car

A number of officials from car rental agencies are calling for the creation of a dedicated office or forum to co-ordinate their businesses’ needs and affairs with the Traffic Department.

New by-laws have been put in effect to hold rent-a-car agencies responsible for their customer’s traffic violations. However, most rental companies already require clients to provide a valid credit card or leave their passport as a safeguard.

Ziad Usman, Asst General manager of Al Muftah Rent-a-Car, said that ensuring that customers pay for their fines has not been a problem. While the Traffic Department is often months behind putting these violations into their online system, forcing car renters to charge bitter customers long after the fact, the system has still worked.
Medhat Attia, manager of Al Maha Rent-a-Car, said that his company’s policy is to be cautious when it comes to trusting customers.
Loyal clients have never failed to pay their fines, and a careful selection process for customers has meant that their cheques have never bounced – a complaint mentioned previously by other rental agencies in an Arabic daily newspaper.
While the Government has made these demands of the car rental industry, it is hard to see what the companies will be getting in return.
Nasser Ali Masri, general manager – Auto Rental, Al Mana Group, believes that the rule holding companies accountable for their client’s transgressions is not fair.
He has called for the creation of a committee of car rental companies to co-ordinate policy and exchange ideas on how to address these issues in the most efficient manner in co-operation with the Traffic Department.
Ziad Usman would like to see an office established within the Traffic Department that will deal with serious issues such as customers not returning their cars within the agreed timeframe without notification, sometimes for months at a time. While the police may be able to help with this issue, Usman’s problem is that there is no one or no where to go to for help.
While the new law may be necessary to correct the practices of a handful of businesses, it does not seem that the impact on the industry will be all that significant.
Industry officials said that if they are consulted by the authorities, they would be able to make significant suggestions on reforming this sector of the economy.

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