Fines, jail for rogue driving instructors in Oman

Driving instructors who fail to honour contracts with learners could be fined up to OMR2,000 and put behind bars for a year, the Public Prosecution in Oman has warned.

The message to stop breaking contracts with learners comes after a Times of Oman story revealing that many in the Sultanate had lost money to rogue instructors. 

 

Oman’s Public Prosecution tweeted: “Dear Driving Instructor: Your breach of the agreed upon obligations for a driving education service with the trainee is punishable by imprisonment for up to a year, and a fine of OMR2,000.”

“It’s really great, I am very happy,” said one learner, who was cheated by his driving instructor. “This is how it should be, and driving instructors need to realise that it’s not a game or a gamble. It’s our hard earned money at stake and, more than money, our time and effort is at stake. Every time they want to breach a contract they need to think twice.”

“I put in more than OMR1,000 to learn to drive out of which OMR400 was lost in things nothing to do with driving,” said Zeeshan Ahmed, a learner whose licence was delayed by two years due to instructor issues.

“I had a contract with my first instructor of 20 hours learning for OMR200 rials and test payments. Just after five classes, he was nowhere to be found. His phone was switched off and when I went to search for him I met a few of his students who had also not seen him for a week and were looking for him. With this I am hopeful that we can overcome these unethical practices,” he added.

Although many driving schools have now regulated contracts between instructors and students, many learners are still at the mercy of individual rogue instructors. Some people have been left hundreds of rials out of pocket after their instructor disappeared before completing a 10-lesson package – all paid for up front.

Ali Al Balushi, an instructor, said that instructors need to be wary. “This has been done to reinforce the consumer protection law, and to remind us instructors that we should do things in a fair way rather than getting dodgy with our students. “A lot of people accuse us saying that we run away with their money or don’t show up for their lessons. While a small percentage of instructors might be doing this, a large majority of us are fair, but I am afraid people might misuse or even abuse this regulation,” he said.

An official from the Public Authority for Consumer Protection said: “With regards to the PACP, cases such as these would go under a case by case basis."

Haitham Al Naabi, an Associate at BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem lawyers, said: “The Public Authority of Consumer Protection (PACP) issued Ministerial Decision No. 77/2017, promulgating the new Executive Regulation of the Consumer Protection Law that entered into force on March 13 2017. However the law itself is not a new regulation and was promulgated by Royal Decree No. 66 in 2014.

“The Executive Regulation of the Consumer Protection Law includes criteria on the subject of provision of driving lessons and lays down penalties applicable to driving instructors in case any discrepancies in the service performed by them were found.

“The law and subsequent executive regulations does not differentiate between personal driving instructors or companies that offer such services. The penalties referred to in the Public Prosecution tweet are based on articles 23 and 39 of the Consumer Protection Law.”

Article (39) of the Consumer Protection Law states that ‘any person in violation of Articles No. (3, 5, 19, 21, 22, 23, 29 and 30) of this law shall be punishable by imprisonment for no less than ten (10) days and for no more than one (1) year and with a fine not less than One Hundred Omani Riyals (O.R 100) and not exceeding Two Thousand Omani Riyals (O.R. 2000) or with either of these two penalties.’

Source: timesofoman

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