What a funny sight it is to see another gringo come to Mexico with a more “optimistic” view of the world.
One who doesn’t stay aware for any moment where someone might try to fuck him over.
And who naively thinks that the authorities will do something for him if he does get fucked over.
The one who “didn’t think” about all of the little ways that scammers will try to get a few extra bucks out of you when you least expect it.
I can’t fault the new gringo though.
Truth be told, scammers in Latin America sometimes get very creative with how they fuck you over.
And truly will do so in very mundane moments where you wouldn’t think the opportunity would present itself.
Honestly, over my future years down here, I’ll probably even end up as a victim to some of these dumb scams.
And I say dumb because some of them truly are scams to get that extra buck or two out of you.
It’s not always 50 or 100 bucks.
Sometimes the effort made to fuck you over really IS just for a few bucks.
Some broke ass motherfuckers down here.
But the scam we will discuss today isn’t one of just a few bucks.
Problems at a Mexican Parking Lot
A few days ago, I remember being at some expat event as I have been going out more to meet more folks and expats tend to be easier to meet in some respects.
I ended up meeting a chick who told me an odd story involving a scam I never heard of.
To begin, she was driving her car around Roma Norte area of Mexico City and chose a parking lot to leave her car.
After paying for the service, she walks away with he car left there as she had to attend some errands.
When that was all done, she returned but encountered various issues.
For one, the employees tried charging her for 5 hours instead of the 3 hours that she used.
She didn’t speak much Spanish though so she wasn’t able to defend herself well but felt “something was off” about the price.
She could clearly see the poster that said what the price should be and so was confused about how it could be seemingly almost double what she should be paying.
But, like I said, her lack of Spanish made communicating herself pretty difficult.
At first, the employee she was speaking with seemed to have enough broken English to understand her but immediately pretended to not know any English when she brought up the issue.
She paid anyway what they asked and left it at that.
When she got into the vehicle though, there was another issue.
Right away, she noticed an odd gasoline smell and her tank wasn’t as full as it was before when she left it there.
Ultimately, she brought up that issue the best way she could but there was no answer to her concerns.
Later on, she brought it up to a security guard at an apartment that she was staying at and it was explained that this type of behavior happens in small towns in Mexico.
Where one of the employees might’ve stolen gas from her car by drilling holes and putting in a hose.
Finally, she noticed that some leftover change was missing from her vehicle.
About 7 bucks worth roughly.
Enough to buy said employee plenty of small tacos de pastor and maybe a coca cola.
Wow. Much wins. Big bucks. He rich now.
At any rate, she said that she’s taking her vehicle to a repair shop to check for any issues and that is where the story is left at.
Here’s a picture of where this supposedly occurred.
And, as you can see here, apparently this place doesn’t have the best reviews with plenty of others claiming that they had their gas stolen at this parking lot.
Tips for Handling This Situation
So what can you do to limit the risk of a local in Mexico or anywhere in the world fucking with your car while leaving it in a parking lot?
First, speaking Spanish obviously helps.
Even if the dude who is ripping you off starts by trying to speak English with you, he can always switch to the “HUH?!? HUH?!?! ME NO ENGLISH! NO SPEAK ENGLISH!! SOY UN MARICA MALEDUCADO!!! NO HABLO INGLES, GRINGO!! Q DICES?!?”
He just might be tempted to do so if you confront him about theft of anything or if they try to overcharge you.
Of course, said local could also pretend to not understand your Spanish and try to “wave you away” but knowing Spanish here obviously helps.
Second, check the reviews obviously of the parking lot obviously. A place that has over 30 reviews and a 1 star rating probably isn’t a good spot obviously.
Third, you can threaten to and actually report them to PROFECO. While some Mexicans probably won’t give a shit, others will be concerned about any legal shit that could, in theory, happen.
If you live in another Latin American country, try to find whatever agency like PROFECO where you live.
Fourth, if you have a really old car, getting a newer one might be better. Newer cars have the anti-rollover valve that would protect you better from getting your gas stolen.
Fifth, keep in mind also that scenarios where you think someone stole your gas might actually be a scenario where you simply didn’t get the gas you paid for.
While it’s another topic, I’ve heard of scams in Mexico where some gas stations pull a trick to make it seem like they filled your car with gas but didn’t and charged you anyway.
Just keep that in mind as it might not be the fault of the parking lot (though, in this case with the story above, I’m more inclined to believe it is due to the evidence).
Sixth, before leaving your car at a parking lot, it’s maybe not the worst idea to just take a photo of what is inside and/or take your valuables like phone with you if you happen to not trust them.
And, if they are stealing everything from gas to shit inside, maybe take a pic of the car too just in case to prove you left it there?
Might sound paranoid but someone who will steal your gas and belongings probably isn’t above stealing your car.
At least if you take a photo of the above, I guess you technically have more evidence against them for any fuckery if you happen to go to PROFECO.
Seventh, be alert for any gasoline smell in your vehicle when you return. Should be a red flag.
Eighth, some will try to fuck you over on the amount of time you park somewhere like you can see in the story above.
In order to stop that, make sure check the ticket and take a picture of it also.
I’ve heard other stories of parking lots claiming you used more hours than you actually did and will be hesitant on confirming the time with you.
Therefore, when you return, they can charge you for an extra hour or more than what you actually used.
If the above happens to you, I’d imagine any confrontation over this issue would involve the worker trying to blow you off and not address the error.
So just be vigilant about what you are actually be charged for.
At any rate, that’s all the advice I can think of regarding what to do in this situation.
If you got anything to add, drop a comment below.
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Thanks for reading.