Boris’ dilemma

Travel-junkie Boris raises an interesting question in his latest entry:

Is it alright as a traveler to pay for damage you did not cause, but were involved in, so that a local family in a third world country does not have an additional burden on their wallet?

Basically, what happened is that he got into an accident in Indonesia with a local who hit his bike from behind. The owner of the bike he rented gave him a quote for the cost of repairing his bike. Boris was told to shoulder the cost, since he could afford it, while the local’s family might not be able to (even if they were the one who hit him).

I honestly don’t know how to answer this one. It’s really annoying how people think that just because you travel, you are swimming in money. We work hard and save up to fund our trips. But on the other hand, it’s hard to turn your back on somebody who needs your help.

What would you advice Boris to do? What would YOU do?

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Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 4 Comments
  1. davidd (aka Puuikibeach) says:

    By “bike,” do you mean “bicycle” or “motorbike”?

    So Boris was on a rented bike, and somebody hit him, damaging the rental bike, is that it?

    Everywhere I’ve gone, if you rent a car, unless you pay for a “Loss Damage Waiver,” you, the renter, are responsible for damage to the vehicle, no matter how it occurs. In many instances, even if you have “insurance” through your own policy or through your credit card, you are required to pay for the damages up front, and try to collect from your insurer (or the insurer of the party who damaged the vehicle) yourself.

    Following this model, unless Boris purchased a “liability waiver” from the renter, I would think he is responsible for the bike while it’s in his possession, no matter how the damage was caused. He should pay. (And perhaps try to collect from the person who ran into him… yeah, right!)

    I had a… well, not exactly similar, but kind of… incident in Thailand. The tuk-tuk driver (yeah, one of the “tuk tuk mafia” type who tried to side-track us into various shops and restaurants… but that’s Thailand, yeah?) ended up being pulled over by the cops for having an expired license sticker. As though the cops are any less corrupt than the tuk tuk drivers. The driver was genuinely upset. He had to park it right there and we had to get off. He had to pay the fee before he could get his tuk-tuk back. I have little doubt the story the guy was telling about his wonderful kids in school and his wife and all that was “liberally embroidered” for the benefit of us tourists. But, you know, the guy is trying to make a living in a tough market, and he wasn’t making much money… particularly since we weren’t having any of his crap about visiting his “special tailors” and “special restaurants” and “special jewelry stores.” So in short, knowing full-well his problem was not my fault in any way, I gave him the money to pay his license fee. It was almost worth it to see his shocked disbelief.

    He was back on the road the next day… but we just waved and kept on walking! It turns out you can pretty much walk anywhere a tuk-tuk can take you anyway, you’ll see a lot more, and depending on traffic you might even get there faster!

    As far as money goes, I don’t have much of it… and traveling is way freaking more expensive that I expect, no matter where I go. Depending on where I go — Australia, for instance, or UK, or much of Europe, the locals are making way more money than I do. In Thailand, you have rich people and you have abject poverty, and not a lot in between. The difference is even greater in China. How you disperse your hard-earned money in other countries is a personal choice. I’d rather pay some guy’s traffic fine, or get his bike fixed, than spend the money on over-priced beverages at the hotel. For me, there’s a guilt element involved. If I’m paying USA prices in the Bangkok Hard Rock Cafe, and I can get some local dude’s livelihood out of hock for the cost of a cheeseburger with fries, well, yeah, I’ll help out the local dude.

    I’m sick of street beggars and those scumbags at the metro stations with their sob stories, though. Screw you guys, go get yourself a bicycle-cab or a tuk-tuk and earn a living!

    You have to be careful about being set up, I would imagine. Is there a chance Boris was involved in a scam? Rent Boris (or Niña, or David) a bike, then have your friend “accidentally” damage it, and then hit Boris (or Niña, or David) up for the repairs? If they read this blog, I know they’ll be on the lookout for me! “Lookie, here comes that rich American who pays traffic tickets for people!”

    Anyway, that was way too long an answer to a short question. Fix the guy’s bike, and drive defensively next time!

  2. khursten says:

    Usually there are insurances like this for bike or car rentals wherein the user need not pay for the cost if he’s not the one troubled. Of course, in a highly corrupt place like Manila or Jakarta, the police will egg on you and hound on your money. All the more of if you are a traveler. -_-;; Annoying, no?

    personally it’s unfair. I’d concede if I knew I was wrong or if I’m just really too lazy to fight for it and I have cash to spare. But even with money spare and the energy, I’d fight for it saying I’m not willing to pay all the extra for the accident. >

  3. dyanie says:

    kung mura lang yung cost and afford ko naman, why not? ;) i’ll just pay for it. minsan kasi parang ang bigat sa dibdib na makita yung mga ganung situation. di naman ako rich pero if kaya ko, ako nalang magbayad. :)

  4. Boris says:

    hey there,

    i’m the guy who wrote the original post and no, definetly not a scam. the driver of the other motorbike was a twelve year old kid who was going over 70 in town and he didn’t have a license. and the owner of my bike never wanted me to pay anything, it was another foreigner staying at the same guesthouse suggesting that i pay for the damage.

    just as a little sidenote, you don’t get insurance for something like that in indonesia. you just rent your bike from one of the guys working at your guesthouse. there’s no hertz or avis in this part of the world.

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