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Beware of conmen, hiding under ‘car hire’ business

Clients searching for vehicles to hire and take some cheer with family and friends during this festive season need to be cautious on the service providers they are dealing with as some could be conmen and women.
In one of the local dailies classified advertisements section, is a car hire category where individuals give their phone numbers and hiring price pegged on a 24 hour usage.
But beneath this seemingly lucrative and client friendly prices, lies the deceit which a client may fall prey for if they don’t seek for authentication, for therein, the devil lies in the details.
A narration by a client who went through the experience and shared it with KNA Monday, on condition of anonymity, reveals the underbelly of these so called ‘car hires’ entrepreneurs.
The Monday December 24, 2018 page 39 classified advertisement sought to promote ‘Beta Hire’ company with telephone number given as 0724762455. When the client contacted the individual whose name from M-PESA account came out as Lucy Mburu, who was to hire him a motor vehicle at Sh2, 000 per every 24 hours, the caller was told that the said firm is at Karen. He gladly offered to go and pick the vehicle.
“Upon arrival, I was asked to go somewhere near the Deputy President’s residence. I went there, called again to get the specific location, but the hirer went mute, and I knew, nimechezwa (I had been duped),” the source added.
Frustrated, I sent her a text message: “Stop conning people. Do clean business,” to which she did not respond.
Similarly, on the same page and date was phone number 0724986574. The business man whose name from M-PESA account turns out to be John Mutuku Wambua, insisted on being sent the money first before he could deliver the ‘vehicle’, also going for Sh2, 000 for every 24 hours.
Wambua told the client to remit the money, upon which the car would then be driven and delivered from another unnamed location as it was with some other client and required to be taken to a car wash to ensure the user receives a clean vehicle. When the client asked to see the vehicle, so he could pay for a tangible item, the fellow refused to divulge where the pickup location was.
A third ‘entrepreneur’ was also hiring his ‘vehicle’ at Sh2, 000 for 24 hours usage. Calling himself ‘Joseph’, he announced last week via the classified ads, through phone number 0711566363 that he was based at Lavington. His M-PESA account name came out as Peter Ngeti Munyoki. By Monday afternoon, he said he would be found at Hardy, in Karen.
“I made a decision to go for the vehicle because he had been very convincing throughout our telephone conversations which started last week. On reaching Karen, I enquired where the pickup location was, upon which the said hirer changed tune and said their ‘offices’ were closed,” the client, said expressing disappointment from the seemingly good deal.
This was after negotiations that the client pays upfront, the entire amount for the number of days he required the car. The client protested and was offered a 50 per cent initial payment deal, which led him to travel up to Karen, only to discover he was being taken for a ride.
“If you do not want to fall victim to these ‘sweet talking, smooth operating conmen and women’ pretending to be available for car hire services, ensure you authenticate the location, the dealer and the vehicle you intend to hire. You better spend a little more than lose your money to the con artists,” cautioned the source.
By Nancy Mathu

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