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Do You Leave Your Passport With The Motorbike People?


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#1 Razzler1973

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Posted 2012-06-14 17:28:09

I have done but tend to rent from the place I am staying where I figure they have a bunch of my money from the place so perhaps won't pull a 'oh look at this scratch' scam on me. I have to say I have never, ever had an issue with that kind of thing renting a bike in Thailand but a lot of people are adament about leaving the passport.

In my experience if you don't then they are more than happy for you to walk away and not rent the bike so what can you do?

#2 churchill

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Posted 2012-06-14 17:31:03

I would say Never give up your passport ...

#3 Tropicalevo

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Posted 2012-06-14 17:37:01

You can offer to leave a photocopy of your passport, or in my case - I leave my Thai driving licence. Any driving licence with a photo on it should also do the trick.

I do sometimes have to 'walk the street', but someone usually gives in and and rents a bike to me.

I have never had an issue with someone trying to pull the old "you have scratched it" scam.

#4 edwinclapham

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Posted 2012-06-14 17:42:29

^^ +1 and actually it is not your passport to give away.
See post http://www.thaivisa....otorbike-issue/
http://www.thaivisa....s-into-stickup/

I have been asked to leave my passport as security before now, not only in Thailand but Vietnam etc. etc. A photocopy is as far as I go. Never give up your original.

#5 Razzler1973

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Posted 2012-06-14 17:49:37

Yeah, I am never uncomfortable with it but in years gone by have refused to give my passport and they have just shrugged and not bothered renting it. Seeing as I have never had an issue with any scams I do wonder why they're that bothered about insisting on the passport though

#6 notmyself

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Posted 2012-06-14 19:40:30

I understood you had to in theory keep your passport with you at all times which is why the you don't have to send your UK passport when applying for a new one.

#7 PattayaPhom

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Posted 2012-06-14 19:40:39

Dont do it, leave a copy, driving licence or small deposit.....I found especially the foreigner renters, particulary English in Lamai were dam_n right rude if you wouldnt leave your passport....whereas Thai businesses were happy to accept other gaurantees.

#8 Razzler1973

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Posted 2012-06-14 21:07:09

I never experienced Thais being ok with it on places like Koh Pha-Ngan or even Koh Chang and they just seem confident that no one will rent to you so can afford to shrug and let you leave and I have gone around everyone and had no luck and ended up handing my passport over.

I mean, I am aware of the 'dangers' and I do wonder if a lot of places just ask for it as it's the thing everyone does, they don't even think about whether they need it or they should have it or anything

#9 edwinclapham

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Posted 2012-06-14 21:50:59

I never experienced Thais being ok with it on places like Koh Pha-Ngan or even Koh Chang and they just seem confident that no one will rent to you so can afford to shrug and let you leave and I have gone around everyone and had no luck and ended up handing my passport over.

I mean, I am aware of the 'dangers' and I do wonder if a lot of places just ask for it as it's the thing everyone does, they don't even think about whether they need it or they should have it or anything


If you cant find someone of reputable character to hire you a bike without passport, perhaps consider not hiring after all.
My take on it is that they are holding which is something valuable to you hence a good bartering/blackmail tool however you like to look at it, and why put yourself in that situation.

#10 samuijimmy

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Posted 2012-06-14 23:35:15

This is a tough one, a friend who rents out bikes, trusted everyone and never took a passport ....

But after one bike totally gone missing, for over a year now and two missing , but found, at ferry terminal,Posted Image ....... he now insists on proper ID being left.

I too generally leave my drivers license, but at shops that know me, they don't bother.... even if it is for someone I can vouch for.

Also never been hit up for a "scratch"!

The rental shops are not all bad, it's the few places that scam people who give everyone a bad name.Posted Image

#11 Razzler1973

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Posted 2012-06-15 00:02:33


I never experienced Thais being ok with it on places like Koh Pha-Ngan or even Koh Chang and they just seem confident that no one will rent to you so can afford to shrug and let you leave and I have gone around everyone and had no luck and ended up handing my passport over.

I mean, I am aware of the 'dangers' and I do wonder if a lot of places just ask for it as it's the thing everyone does, they don't even think about whether they need it or they should have it or anything


If you cant find someone of reputable character to hire you a bike without passport, perhaps consider not hiring after all.
My take on it is that they are holding which is something valuable to you hence a good bartering/blackmail tool however you like to look at it, and why put yourself in that situation.


I like having a bike though and you'd think if no one is handing over their passport then no one is renting which means they'd soon change their ways but they're clearly not :/

#12 Razzler1973

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Posted 2012-06-15 00:04:41

This is a tough one, a friend who rents out bikes, trusted everyone and never took a passport ....

But after one bike totally gone missing, for over a year now and two missing , but found, at ferry terminal,Posted Image ....... he now insists on proper ID being left.

I too generally leave my drivers license, but at shops that know me, they don't bother.... even if it is for someone I can vouch for.

Also never been hit up for a "scratch"!

The rental shops are not all bad, it's the few places that scam people who give everyone a bad name.Posted Image


I think if I did something wrong I'd definitely pay, don't get me wrong and I can understand there's an element of risk on their part too.

I have never been hit up for a scratch either but apparently it happens. I am not a mental driver or anything so have never caused any hassle but you don't want someone inventing a scratch, I do check the bikes, etc so you'd think 'well, you shouldn't have an issue then' and I don't but you do get people that would rather chop off their leg than give a passport and I can understand that, I am never entirely comfortable with it.

#13 sweeneytodds

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Posted 2012-06-15 00:29:01

We at sweeney todd,s, if we dont know you, then we ask for passport, only the original not copy.
I know a lot of people do not like leaving it.
When i went to phuket last year, i had to leave passport with thai guy, that didnt have a real shop, just a booth. i wasnt happy doing it but i did.
The problem we are faced with is, if you rent of me and just leave a copy, then if you have an accident, theres nothing stopping you getting out of samui, and leaving all the damage to us to sort out.
A thai drivers license is no good to us, you can always say you lost it and get a new one, and you can still do the above.
I did rent a bike to a new resident here in samui, who is a regular poster, and i only took a copy of his passport, but i made sure i saw him regular.
Theres also very little check if you want to take the bike of samui.
We do get many people walk away and go somewhere else.
I would also like to say all our bikes are insured for damage to another vehicle.
I know for sure 2 thai rental shops have not got this insurance, but hey they dont ask for passport either, even there cars are not insured.

#14 edwinclapham

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Posted 2012-06-15 01:22:29

We at sweeney todd,s, if we dont know you, then we ask for passport, only the original not copy.
I know a lot of people do not like leaving it.
When i went to phuket last year, i had to leave passport with thai guy, that didnt have a real shop, just a booth. i wasnt happy doing it but i did.
The problem we are faced with is, if you rent of me and just leave a copy, then if you have an accident, theres nothing stopping you getting out of samui, and leaving all the damage to us to sort out.
A thai drivers license is no good to us, you can always say you lost it and get a new one, and you can still do the above.
I did rent a bike to a new resident here in samui, who is a regular poster, and i only took a copy of his passport, but i made sure i saw him regular.
Theres also very little check if you want to take the bike of samui.
We do get many people walk away and go somewhere else.
I would also like to say all our bikes are insured for damage to another vehicle.
I know for sure 2 thai rental shops have not got this insurance, but hey they dont ask for passport either, even there cars are not insured.


I do understand, but certainly British citizens (and I would imagine most western countries) are warned not to give out their passport to anyone.
I hire a bike or a car abroad, a credit card is sufficient, and if accidents occur then monies are taken from the CC.
In my opinion one would have to be off your rocker to leave one of your most precious commodities with persons unknown overseas... if you are a professional outfit then you either arrange a bond or a credit card advance in case of damage.

Carrying Your Passport: It is required by Thai law that Thai citizens AND all visitorsMUST carry proper identification at all times. This must be presented upon demand by a Police Officer or other legitimate Government Official.

#15 Razzler1973

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Posted 2012-06-15 02:09:56

People make out it's some evil Thai trick but even Western renters are doing it. I don't really have a problem with it providing if I do something wrong I don't get skanked.

On Koh Chang I like to rent a bike 4 or 5 days. Obviously that's a fair time so they want the passport. However, I am staying at their place so where the hell am I gonna go?

Another time I got it from Koh Pha-Ngan at the place I was. As I was going along I was convinced some little stone flicked up and hit the wing mirror and all these thoughts ran through my head that they're gonna hit me up ... didn't say a word (not that they should and I would be happy to replace a mirror no matter how harsh it happend)

#16 stiggy

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Posted 2012-06-15 10:26:49

No never.
  • ID theft is rampant in Asia, If you ever leave just a copy make sure to strike through the copies never sign them.
  • You are required to have your passport anyhow in Thailand
  • They do go missing despite the best intentions of the genuine good renters,Lost count how many times wrong passport was given back people in holiday mode don't check.
  • They have no legal right to hold it anyhow, in a dispute you just leave it there and get an emergency one issued anyhow.

Instead leave :
  • Deposit Cash (3K) or credit card imprint.
  • Other form of ID , driving licence is normally fine.
  • Been asked for passport loads of times , only once refused service when I politely said no.


#17 sweeneytodds

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Posted 2012-06-15 14:19:37


We at sweeney todd,s, if we dont know you, then we ask for passport, only the original not copy.
I know a lot of people do not like leaving it.
When i went to phuket last year, i had to leave passport with thai guy, that didnt have a real shop, just a booth. i wasnt happy doing it but i did.
The problem we are faced with is, if you rent of me and just leave a copy, then if you have an accident, theres nothing stopping you getting out of samui, and leaving all the damage to us to sort out.
A thai drivers license is no good to us, you can always say you lost it and get a new one, and you can still do the above.
I did rent a bike to a new resident here in samui, who is a regular poster, and i only took a copy of his passport, but i made sure i saw him regular.
Theres also very little check if you want to take the bike of samui.
We do get many people walk away and go somewhere else.
I would also like to say all our bikes are insured for damage to another vehicle.
I know for sure 2 thai rental shops have not got this insurance, but hey they dont ask for passport either, even there cars are not insured.


I do understand, but certainly British citizens (and I would imagine most western countries) are warned not to give out their passport to anyone.
I hire a bike or a car abroad, a credit card is sufficient, and if accidents occur then monies are taken from the CC.
In my opinion one would have to be off your rocker to leave one of your most precious commodities with persons unknown overseas... if you are a professional outfit then you either arrange a bond or a credit card advance in case of damage.

Carrying Your Passport: It is required by Thai law that Thai citizens AND all visitorsMUST carry proper identification at all times. This must be presented upon demand by a Police Officer or other legitimate Government Official.

We accpt credit card, we do say this, but when we say you have to deposit a certain ammount of money,they hate this even more.
Thai law says you only need to have a copy of your passport on you at all times

#18 edwinclapham

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Posted 2012-06-15 14:30:50



We at sweeney todd,s, if we dont know you, then we ask for passport, only the original not copy.
I know a lot of people do not like leaving it.
When i went to phuket last year, i had to leave passport with thai guy, that didnt have a real shop, just a booth. i wasnt happy doing it but i did.
The problem we are faced with is, if you rent of me and just leave a copy, then if you have an accident, theres nothing stopping you getting out of samui, and leaving all the damage to us to sort out.
A thai drivers license is no good to us, you can always say you lost it and get a new one, and you can still do the above.
I did rent a bike to a new resident here in samui, who is a regular poster, and i only took a copy of his passport, but i made sure i saw him regular.
Theres also very little check if you want to take the bike of samui.
We do get many people walk away and go somewhere else.
I would also like to say all our bikes are insured for damage to another vehicle.
I know for sure 2 thai rental shops have not got this insurance, but hey they dont ask for passport either, even there cars are not insured.


I do understand, but certainly British citizens (and I would imagine most western countries) are warned not to give out their passport to anyone.
I hire a bike or a car abroad, a credit card is sufficient, and if accidents occur then monies are taken from the CC.
In my opinion one would have to be off your rocker to leave one of your most precious commodities with persons unknown overseas... if you are a professional outfit then you either arrange a bond or a credit card advance in case of damage.

Carrying Your Passport: It is required by Thai law that Thai citizens AND all visitorsMUST carry proper identification at all times. This must be presented upon demand by a Police Officer or other legitimate Government Official.

We accpt credit card, we do say this, but when we say you have to deposit a certain ammount of money,they hate this even more.
Thai law says you only need to have a copy of your passport on you at all times


It must be a dilemma, because you are always going to get the idiots who do damage your property. If they cant give you a refundable deposit then I would have thought you are better off not hiring then.
I do know that if the said "hire" was in dispute over damage etc.. I would feel a total numpty calling my embassy to say... "I gave my passport as a deposit" and .....
There are places in Chaing Mai that I have hired bikes from, totally reputable and I have no issues whatsoever, but there are places (as in many parts of the world) that see this as a way to make a fast buck or two... its a double edged sword this hiring game.

Meanwhile my passport remains firmly in my pocketPosted Image

#19 Rooo

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Posted 2012-06-15 15:34:42

Why then do major rental companies do not ask to hold your passport? They have an imprint of your credit card.
Holding onto someone's passport is illegal.

We have gone through all this on another thread. The passport is NOT your property, it belongs to the issuing government.

Try & tell your embassy / consulate that you need a new passport because the bike rental firm won't release it.
To get a new one you have to report yours as lost & if you do under these circumstances, you are committing fraud.

#20 Razzler1973

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Posted 2012-06-15 20:53:51

Ok, seems people are more open to leaving a deposit then? I don't mind that tbh if they're open to that as an alternative. I will try that next time and see how they go.

I am not sure I have seen too many of those credit card machines knocking about but rental companies here in Dubai for a car will run that through and block off a certain amount of money on the card for 10 days or so, standard stuff in case there are fines.

Personally I want both sides happy and happy to take responsibility for doing something wrong but obviously don't want to get skanked :)

#21 ydraw

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Posted 2012-06-15 22:11:58

We at sweeney todd,s, if we dont know you, then we ask for passport, only the original not copy.
I know a lot of people do not like leaving it.
When i went to phuket last year, i had to leave passport with thai guy, that didnt have a real shop, just a booth. i wasnt happy doing it but i did.
The problem we are faced with is, if you rent of me and just leave a copy, then if you have an accident, theres nothing stopping you getting out of samui, and leaving all the damage to us to sort out.
A thai drivers license is no good to us, you can always say you lost it and get a new one, and you can still do the above.
I did rent a bike to a new resident here in samui, who is a regular poster, and i only took a copy of his passport, but i made sure i saw him regular.
Theres also very little check if you want to take the bike of samui.
We do get many people walk away and go somewhere else.
I would also like to say all our bikes are insured for damage to another vehicle.
I know for sure 2 thai rental shops have not got this insurance, but hey they dont ask for passport either, even there cars are not insured.


You do realise that the passport is no good to you either, right?

You are breaking the law by holding it. If you refused to give it back you would be committing a serious crime, and an energetic lawyer from the consulate could make your life a complete misery.

What you should be doing is taking down the customer's details, and a deposit if you wish. That is what legal businesses do all over the world, not illegally hold on to passports to use as a bargaining chip.

Edited by ydraw, 2012-06-15 22:13:25.


#22 sweeneytodds

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Posted 2012-06-16 21:23:29


We at sweeney todd,s, if we dont know you, then we ask for passport, only the original not copy.
I know a lot of people do not like leaving it.
When i went to phuket last year, i had to leave passport with thai guy, that didnt have a real shop, just a booth. i wasnt happy doing it but i did.
The problem we are faced with is, if you rent of me and just leave a copy, then if you have an accident, theres nothing stopping you getting out of samui, and leaving all the damage to us to sort out.
A thai drivers license is no good to us, you can always say you lost it and get a new one, and you can still do the above.
I did rent a bike to a new resident here in samui, who is a regular poster, and i only took a copy of his passport, but i made sure i saw him regular.
Theres also very little check if you want to take the bike of samui.
We do get many people walk away and go somewhere else.
I would also like to say all our bikes are insured for damage to another vehicle.
I know for sure 2 thai rental shops have not got this insurance, but hey they dont ask for passport either, even there cars are not insured.


You do realise that the passport is no good to you either, right?

You are breaking the law by holding it. If you refused to give it back you would be committing a serious crime, and an energetic lawyer from the consulate could make your life a complete misery.

What you should be doing is taking down the customer's details, and a deposit if you wish. That is what legal businesses do all over the world, not illegally hold on to passports to use as a bargaining chip.

Holding the passport stops the person running away.
We are a legal business,and if the customer doesnt want to leave his passport we send them into fishermans village, where maybe they can rent a bike there.
I am just saying what sweeney todds policy is. And thats the last i,m saying on the matter

#23 ripstanley

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Posted 2012-06-16 21:52:47

Handing over your passport could result to identity fraud if given to the wrong individual. Number. Name, DOB, Where issued, Place of birth, Date of issue date of expiry. How many times do we as travellers have to fill in these details. All on a passport you have left with a motorcycle hiree. This person can then give any address. as there are no checks made. Be very scared if handing over your passport

Edited by ripstanley, 2012-06-16 22:00:28.


#24 transam

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Posted 2012-06-16 21:56:47

You leave nothing. The business should insure against THEIR risk. A hefty deposit is the norm. Posted Image

#25 ydraw

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Posted 2012-06-17 13:54:59

Holding the passport stops the person running away.
We are a legal business,and if the customer doesnt want to leave his passport we send them into fishermans village, where maybe they can rent a bike there.
I am just saying what sweeney todds policy is. And thats the last i,m saying on the matter


No, it doesn't. All that person would have to do is go to the police and you would be forced to hand it back to them.
You might think you are a legal business, but holding a passport as a deposit is illegal.

I'm just trying to help you here by telling you that your policy is not only illegal, but in a pinch it won't even help you since you aren't legally allowed to hold their passport even if they owe you money.





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