Scammed for being foreign
Last Friday, I was parked in a parking lot full of cars, which made it was almost impossible to get out of my parking space. My car was sandwiched between two cars with another in front, and because our car is quite long, I needed some space to drive out. The guard was helping me when the back of my car bumped into the car parked next to mine. By the time I realized that it was too late. My car was already against the other car. I was frustrated because he had to guide me, and he made me bump into the other car. He went to get the owner of the car I had scratched. There were a couple of minor scratches on the other car and a few scratches on my car.
I called my husband, and he said that it is ok; the insurance would handle it. I just had to take pictures of the scratches and get the phone number of the owner. In Belgium, with minor accidents, you just exchange information and the insurance can deal with it.
But, the owner of the other car didn’t want to let go. He wanted the insurance company to come immediately to deal with it. He checked everything: whether all his lights were still working, even his windscreen wipers as if I hit his car really badly. He sometimes whispered with the guard, and all I could catch was waiguoren (foreigner) I started to get really stressed and frustrated, as I knew he only acted this way because I was a foreigner.
After half an hour, I finally convinced my husband that he had to get the insurance company to come because I wouldn’t be able to leave. I told him how annoying the other person was being.
The insurance company came quite fast and dealt with it professionally. The insurance company agent also said that it was really not a big deal, just a few scratches. He estimated the damage on the other car was about 650 yuan ($ 98). Then the owner started to whisper with the insurance agent and looking back over his shoulder at me, and I could hear that he was negotiating to get at least 800 yuan.
I couldn’t believe it! He was just trying to get more money because I am a foreigner. This is the most frustrating thing about China. Even though I could speak to him in Chinese and explain most of it, he kept on saying that I didn’t understand anything. Now, I know that I will be more careful about trusting a guard to help me get out of a parking space!