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A scam you can see right through

A scam you can see right through

While tinted car windows are prohibited in Kuwait, shops are happily pocketing money by offering clear glass windows on rent.

August 19, 2008 9:19 by

Nawara Fattahova

In Kuwait, if the back window of a car is tinted, which is forbidden according to traffic rules, it won’t pass the registration test.

But drivers say even staff at the testing center recommend anxious motorists with illegal tints rent a clear glass window for the checking test. Once they have passed the test, drivers can return to their original tinted back window.

Most of the vehicle glass stores are located in Shuwaikh. Some of the shops offer rented back windows, but only for 4x4s. Sedan cars may have a difficult time finding stores that offer this service.

The prices differ according to the vehicle’s brand. “Renting the back glass of a GMC Tahoe will cost KD 15 ($56), while the side glasses cost KD 10 ($37) each. Some cars are more expensive, while others are cheaper. It all depends on the brand and the size,” Abed, a salesman in one of the car glass shops told the Kuwait Times.

It only takes a couple of minutes to install a window. Once it is installed, the customer can then go to the technical checking department and come back to get his window replaced. “Many people do this as they like to keep their tinted glass, especially if the glass is from the original factory and it isn’t only a dark folio. For those who have a folio, it would be cheaper and easier for them to just remove it,” added Abed.

The prices are slightly higher and customers can find cheaper alternatives. “I used this trick last year to pass my car registration. I rented the back glass of my GMC Envoy for KD 7 ($26) only. It’s much cheaper than changing the glass completely as this would cost me about KD 120 ($450) or more,” said Muhsin, a 39-year-old driver.

In some cases, doing this might be risky. “When I went to do this trick for my wife’s vehicle, which has tinted glass even on the sides, the worker broke one of my side windows. He then offered me to change both side windows and the back window all for only KD 60 ($224). This was an attractive price, so I changed it instead of renting it,” added Muhsin.

In the UAE, car owners can tint their windows to a maximum of 30 percent. Offenders face fines of around $2,700 and could have their vehicles confiscated for 30 days. But a few months back, a traffic safety study revealed that over-tinted windows were the fourth-largest cause of accidents in the region.
According to reports, police have deployed a dedicated electronic device that can accurately measure the tint on glass very quickly. Earlier this year, the Dubai police also issued tickets to more than 50 police officers as part of a crackdown on heavily-tinted windows.

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1 Comment

  1. Dubai Dave on August 19, 2008 1:59 pm

    The scary thing is that a number of GCC countries have have had this type of scam for years! Only difference: it was with tyres. Yep, you could rent nice new tyres for the test, and then put the old bald ones back on later.


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