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Valet parking service offers solutions but causes headaches — citizens

By Maram Kayed - Oct 11,2018 - Last updated at Oct 11,2018

As of August this year, the government has prohibited valet service providers from operating without possessing insurance against car theft or damage (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN — For citizens, a valet parking service is often the only solution when shopping, dining or running errands in areas lacking parking spaces but also a problem that could lead to car theft or damage.

As of August this year, the government has prohibited valet service providers from operating without possessing insurance against car theft or damage, setting JD5,000 as the minimum coverage for each incident. However, cases of car theft or malpractice have yet ceased to exist.

“Last month, I was having a business dinner with my company’s clients when I got a call for a family emergency. I left abruptly after a mere 10 minutes of my arrival, only to find that the valet has taken my car out for a drive,” Saudi-Jordanian businessman Mohammed Shammari said.

Shammari, who explained that he is a frequent customer at the restaurant, was expected by the valet staff to stay for at least a couple of hours in the restaurant, as was his habit. “I was enraged. He brought back my car after 15 minutes of me waiting. I had no time to take action because I had to attend to family matters.”

After the incident, he complained to the restaurant’s managerial staff and the perpetrator was immediately dismissed. Shammari said that “he no longer trusts his car with any valet".

Fatmeh Naji, a university student, also said she had a bad experience with valet service providers when she gave her car to a valet standing near Mecca Street. “He did not give me a ticket or anything, but I did not think too much of it. When I came out, my car had a long scratch across its left side. I told them that they had done this but they said it was already there.”

After calling the traffic police to the scene, it turned out that the valet group was not registered and was operating illegally. Naji said that without a ticket she could not prove she ever gave them the car. 

Although the government tried to limit these kinds of incidents by implementing the insurance regulation for valets, a new problem arose: price. Citizens in Amman have noted that almost all valets have raised their charge to JD2.

“It is illogical for us to eat at a fast-food restaurant for four or five JDs and then pay two JDs for the valet. That is more than half the price,” said Raghad Majali, a university student who was referring to a student social hub with no parking spaces near the University of Jordan.

For valet workers, the regulations have also created a complication related to tipping. 

“Before the regulation, some restaurants would offer valet services for free to their customers while others charged JD1 maximum. Either way, we would get tipped a dinar or more,” said Loai Ghanem, a valet. "Now customers pay an obligatory JD2 fee and we do not get tipped at all.”

“Some citizens think we are trying to fool them by saying the new fee is JD2 and only pay us one, and we cannot force them to pay more so we get in trouble with our bosses,” said valet Nasir Amayreh.

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