Cab Driver Locks Doors, Holds Passenger Hostage For Trying To Pay With Credit Card

There’s a driver for Pittsburgh Yellow Cab Company who doesn’t like it when you try to pay with a Discover card, even though the company’s website says they accept it. When Adam tried this, the driver accused him of trying to avoid paying, then locked the doors and initially refused to let him go to an ATM 15 feet away unless he left all of his belongings behind. While Adam called the cab company to complain (he was routed to a voicemail inbox), the driver called the police. Twice.

You can read his full story at his blog, but eventually he managed to get out of the car with his laptop still in his possession, and make it to the ATM. Even then, it took a police officer to get a receipt from him.

Doesn’t this count as false imprisonment? If so, I’m surprised the officers on the scene just told Adam to file a complaint with the cab company’s voicemail system.

“So I Was Held Hostage By Yellow Cab” [thekmiecs.com]

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  1. ChemicalFyre says:

    Not false imprisonment. There were obvious methods of escape, ie. breaking a window, which would have been legally allowable if the driver is locking you in. I think perhaps Extortion is a better offense.

    • digital0verdose says:

      Breaking a window also puts you at risk of bodily harm.

      This was indeed a case of false imprisonment.

      • look_out51 says:

        I am surprised at how many people have said breaking the glass will injure you or is dangerous. I guess it is not so well known that it is tempered glass? It will break into many tiny pebble sized pieces with no sharp edges. Unless you are stupid enough to keep your eyes and mouth wide open impact, you won’t get hurt. And ALL the glass shatters, so nothing is in way when it comes to climbing out.

        • syzygy says:

          Tempered glass bits can still cut skin; they have sharp edges, but their light weight makes them much less dangerous. And while the entire window does shatter, often sections of shattered glass remain in the frame, held together by the interlocking edges of the shattered bits. Now, you may not bleed to death from the superficial cuts you may receive by shattering and climbing through a car side window, but it’s hardly harmless.

        • sqlrob says:

          Breaking that glass will still hurt. Try punching a car window hard, but not hard enough to break. It’s going to hurt and possibly break something in your hand.

        • Big Mama Pain says:

          Tell that to someone who has gone through a windshield head first.

      • bwcbwc says:

        And breaking a window in a cab puts you at additional risk of harm from the cabbie. While you’re floundering trying to get out the window, he’s pulling out his equalizer.

        Breaking the glass would also create or increase suspicion that you WERE trying to escape without paying.

    • Commenter24 says:

      One could argue that breaking a window and climbing out would be unreasonably dangerous (danger of getting cut on the glass) and thus not a viable means of escape. If that’s the case it could have been false imprisonment.

    • greggen says:

      I think that you are not as informed as you think you are.

      • ChemicalFyre says:

        Lets hear your reasoning?

        • katstermonster says:

          Wait, so if someone locks me in a room against my will but I can escape by breaking a window, it’s not false imprisonment?

          No. That’s not how it works. Not even a little bit.

          • Commenter24 says:

            Actually, to some extent, that IS how it works. If there is a reasonable means of escape you are expected to use it. If you could open/break the window and escape without an unreasonable risk of harm you must use it. At that point it become pretty fact specific.

            • Anathema777 says:

              But a cab window would be hard to break and climbing out without hurting oneself would be tricky. Also, if the cab driver has already locked me in the cab, I’d consider that pretty threatening behavior. I’d argue that breaking his window might have led him to harm me in that case. i can’t imagine him just sitting there while I tried to break the window and then gingerly crawl out.

              • Commenter24 says:

                My response was directed toward being locked in a room, not in the cab. My response above should indicate that I believe that breaking the cab window and climbing out is unreasonably dangerous.

            • Rectilinear Propagation says:

              Requiring someone to exit a room or vehicle by breaking a window is not “reasonable”.

              • Commenter24 says:

                As I said above, I think it’s very fact specific. And regular “reasonableness” isn’t the standard. The standard is whether the method of escape would put you at an unreasonable risk of harm. I can envision some situations in which one could break a window and exit safely, without an unreasonable risk of harm. An automobile isn’t one of them, but I think you could have such a situation in a room.

              • Shadowfax says:

                Precisely. The armchair lawyers on here who are apparently just looking for chances to disagree, and apparently think lawyers go against the obvious and so in order to be armchair lawyers so must they, are thick in this thread.

                “reasonable means of escape” means “He was standing in front of me but did not stop me from turning around and walking the other way.”

                “He locked me in the car and the only way to leave would have been to break the window, at the risk of cutting myself on glass and bruising myself from the impact,” is NOT a reasonable escape route.

                The OP made one mistake though. Don’t call the cab company. Call the cops, and have the SOB arrested.

                • Commenter24 says:

                  A lawyer’s job frequently involves arguing against the obvious; clearly you don’t really understand what lawyers actually do.

                  • DH405 says:

                    I don’t like your argument, so clearly you are a pedophile.

                    See how that “clearly” thing works? Cool, huh?

    • ChemicalFyre says:

      Could be. What about that ‘Shopkeeper’s Rule’ or somesuch that allows a person suspected of theft to be detained legally?

      • Darrone says:

        It’s called shopkeeper’s privilege, and if you don’t know what it is, maybe you should look it up before you cite it?

        • Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

          He wasn’t citing it – he was asking about it…. Big difference!

        • Woofer says:

          Maybe it’s better he’s not sure what it’s called, as indicated by “or somesuch”?

      • fantomesq says:

        Is the cabbie a shopkeeper? Was he doing a check to verify that you weren’t in possession of his inventory? Not applicable.

      • jimmyhl says:

        I don’t see any reasonable suspicion of not being paid—the passenger presented a credit card that the company takes.

      • jedsa says:

        Shopkeeper’s privilege is a much more limited doctrine than some on this site sometimes claim. In Maryland, for example, the state in which I’m licensed, merchants that have probable cause to believe someone has shoplifted merchandise can use reasonable means/force to detain someone in order to recover their merchandise. (And no, I’m not confusing terms when I say probable cause-it’s not just reasonable suspicion or some lower standard.)

        If the person hands over the merchandise, the privilege ceases to be in effect and the shopkeeper cannot hold them under the doctrine. Detention can only be for the purposes of recovering merchandise-not for punishment/holding until police arrive. The shopkeeper could then perform a citizen’s arrest if there is cause (in Maryland, can’t perform citizen’s arrests for misdemeanors, so, it may depend on the value of what the person attempted to shoplift).

        Looping back to the original question, shopkeeper’s privilege is intended to recover goods. It does not apply to services, such as cab fare. (Which makes sense, because the point of the privilege is not to obtain money for something, but rather to get the original thing back. You can’t get back a service that’s been performed.)

      • magus_melchior says:

        Here’s the thing– unless the cab driver thought the customer was trying to run without paying the fare, he can’t use the shopkeeper’s privilege defense. He was given a credit card, one which he should have been able to accept unless his cab was an extraordinary exception to other taxis in the same Pittsburgh company, which plainly states on its website that it does in fact accept Discover.

        Maybe the cab driver got yelled at for accepting a fraudulent Discover card and got the chargeback subtracted from his pay. Maybe he had four people tell him they would run to the ATM to pay him and never came back. Maybe he was pissed because he found out his wife was having an affair. I can think of several more reasons why the driver was a snippy SOB, but none of them excuse him for trying to detain a customer for producing a credit card he didn’t like.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      You shouldn’t have to ‘escape’. The possibility of doing something extreme to get away from someone who’s trying to prevent you from leaving doesn’t change the fact that they’re trying to prevent you from leaving.

    • fantomesq says:

      It’s not extortion. If the cabbie held him unless he was nicely tipped, that’d be extortion. No this is about as plain vanilla false imprisonment as you can get – The illegal confinement of one individual against his or her will by another individual in such a manner as to violate the confined individual’s right to be free from restraint of movement.

    • Anathema777 says:

      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/16/ap/strange/main6588082.shtml

      Here’s another case where a driver locked a person in the car (in this case, it was to demand a tip). He was charged with false imprisonment. So false imprisonment is totally feasible here.

    • jedsa says:

      You must be joking. The tort of false imprisonment does NOT require escape via breaking windows when possible.

      • Commenter24 says:

        False imprisonment does generally require that there have been no means of escape that wouldn’t put the victim at an unreasonable risk of harm. While I agree that breaking a car window would put one at an unreasonable risk of harm, I think one could at least argue the point.

      • magus_melchior says:

        Well, the standard for the tort is “no reasonable means of escape”. Which means the cabbie and his bosses will say that the customer did have a reasonable means of escape– breaking the window.

        I think cab drivers and/or companies who do this to customers who don’t carry cash need to get with the program. You don’t lock people into your car if they give you a method of payment, just because you don’t get a fat tip or as much profit because of CC fees.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Also, shooting the cabbie in order to escape is also reasonable means of escape. You are, after all, being held against your will.

          • you-toe-pee-an says:

            “Reasonable” does not mean “existing”- it’s there so that creating a detour doesn’t constitute false imprisonment. Breaking a window is not reasonable first of all because it involves destroying property and second of all it poses a risk to the victim’s person.
            Extortion doesn’t apply because the victim is willing to pay.
            It’s false imprisonment (holding someone against their will with no reasonable means of escape) and trespass to chattels (interference with someone’s mobile property- i.e. their possessions). Don’t quote me on this because I only just got back from my Torts class, so I’m not an attorney just yet.

      • ChemicalFyre says:

        See? I was wrong. This is why I’m not a lawyer!

      • Pax says:

        Trying to break a vehicle window, and then clambering out through shards of borken glass, does not to me sound “resonable”.

      • ChemicalFyre says:

        Alright, So the Shopkeeper’s part doesn’t come in to play. That said, is there no reasonable expectation that someone is expected to look for an escape route?

        Hypothetically speaking. Trying to understand how the statute works.

    • seishino says:

      I don’t mean to pile on, but have you ever tried to break a car window? I remember as a kid bouncing balls off of car windows because that was the strong part and didn’t make the hideous metallic noise when it hit. It’s actually really hard. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuySmopuwL4

      Maybe it’s easier to break windows from the inside. But I’ve kicked my way through house doors. I’d rather do that than try to kick in a car window.

      BTW, to those complaining about lacerations: Car glass is generally safety glass. It beads up nicely. While there is the possibility of happening to get a jagged edge of some sort, the chance of getting a full-sized sharp slicing pane is very little.

      • ChemicalFyre says:

        It isn’t easy to break a car window without some sort of implement. I’ve kicked windows out before on junkers, but even that takes a lot of effort.

    • Pax says:

      Just because you can escape, doe snot make the act not one of False Imprisonment.

    • Difdi says:

      Many cabs are fitted with the same sort of break-resistant windows as the back seats of police cars. Breaking those is not an option.

      • sonneillon says:

        Actually most of them are because cab companies routinely buy the old police cruisers from government auctions.

  2. digital0verdose says:

    I had a cabbie in Chicago try something similar. I handed him my corporate AMEX and he told me he only took cash. When I told him that I don’t carry cash and that I made sure credit cards were posted as accepted on his info board.

    He locked the doors and told me that his CC machine was broken and grabbed some wire as to prove it. I told him that it was not my responsibility to make sure his cab was in working order and that if he couldn’t take the card and refused to unlock the cab, I would call CPD and let them handle it.

    Miraculously he pulled a manual swipe machine from under his seat and swiped the card. I got out of the cab and handed him the receipt with a $0.00 as a tip and told him that when I am on business travel I tip very well when I am not being harassed.

    • EdnasEdibles says:

      Same exact thing happened to me in Chicago. I almost always pay cash for cabs but after one business trip I was super tired and didn’t feel like finding an airport ATM so I told the cab stand I only had a credit card so the cab would have to take it. Cab drive pulled up, I got in and he drove me home. I handed him my credit card and he started screaming at me saying he didn’t take credit cards. I told him that he had a machine. He said it was broken. I told him to call his dispatch and have them process the number and I could tip him with cash. He still freaked out. Fortunately my husband came out with cash.

      I heard they all hate it because then they have to pay taxes on that amount and can’t fudge the numbers for their own benefit. Assholes.

      • MMD says:

        Me three. I reported my cabbie with the “broken” machine to the city and he had to pay a $150 fine. If he gets a second offense, he has to pay $1500.

      • Gramin says:

        I believe they’re responsible for paying the credit processing fee so that amount gets billed to them. As far as I know, cabbies pay X dollars to lease the car for the day (or some set amount of time). Every dollar they make during the day, they keep. During this time, they are also responsible for gas. Back to the processing fee, as everyone knows, when a merchant swipes a credit card, that merchant must pay the credit card company a processing fee, which is some percentage of the sale amount. The cab company passes this fee off to the cabbie. Thus, they’re tips are decreased when they accept credit cards.

        Now, the cool thing about Chicago… cab drivers are required, by statute, to accept credit cards. I live in Chicago and 9 times out of 10 pay with a credit card when I’m in a cab. If they refuse to accept it, then I’m getting a free ride. 9 times out of 10, they take the credit card.

        And even cooler, Chicago cabs are being outfitted with CC machines in the rear compartment so the customer can just swipe without even dealing with the cab driver. LOVE IT!

      • outshined says:

        This scenario happened to me as well. When you’re tired after a long trip, you do not need to deal with that nonsense. He finally stopped at an ATM where I got cash. Then he drove through LA surface streets at 60mph. He apologized for the credit card thing when we got to my house but the whole experience was unnerving.

    • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

      They try to pull that crap all the time in Boston. I think it’s because if you pay with credit cards they have to report their tips. Also less scrupulous drivers (like the ones who pull this crap) can’t skim off the top when you pay with a card.

  3. danmac says:

    Fast forward three months:

    BLOGGER FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST CAB CAPTORS

    Adam filed a lawsuit against [redacted] Cab Company today, citing that the event has caused him severe emotional distress and prevented him from returning to work on his blog. “Now I know how terrorists’ kidnap victims feel,” blogs Adam. “I thought he was going to chop my head off!”

    • danmac says:

      “I thought he was going to chop my head off!”

      “Metaphorically,” he amends nervously.

    • MauriceCallidice says:

      You seem to be suggesting that since the passenger wasn’t under an imminent threat of personal bodily harm, that somehow he shouldn’t be more than at most slightly upset about being held against his will.

      Really?

      • katstermonster says:

        I’m pretty sure this was a joke…

        • danmac says:

          Yeah…I didn’t have anything useful to contribute, and I’d just read one of those stories about someone suing because of “severe emotional distress…can’t even leave the house…had to quit job”, so I got all snarky and irrelevant.

    • Alisha Gray says:

      The cab driver was Axe Cop?

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Police officers are so useless.

    “Officer, I’ve been imprisoned by this cab driver. He’s locked me in his cab and won’t let me out!”

    “What do I look like, a customer service shmuck?! Go complain to the cab company. I don’t work for you. It’s not like you pay for my sal…. I’ll let you off with a warning this time.”

    “A warning? For what?”

    “Just go.”

    • rmorin says:

      That’s a pretty insulting generalization … We are only hearing one side of the story, who is to say that there were not other factors coming into play here in regards to the police action.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        This is blog, not a court of law. We never hear both sides. We can only go off the evidence presented to us. True, stories here may be exaggerated or flat out false, but if we question every story that is presented here purely for the fact that it is one side only, then this website would be pretty pointless.

        • pantheonoutcast says:

          But there seems to have been enough evidence for you to justify your statement,

          “(Implied ‘all’) Police officers are so useless,”

          Right?

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            You’re assuming the statement was made based solely on this incident, rather than a history of multiple stories involving useless officers. It would be rather silly for me to assume all officers were useless based on one story involving one officer.

            In addition, I think it’s reasonable to assume someone reading knows that using the “all” in ‘all officers’ never, in fact, means every officer without exception. It’s hyperbole, which is a common language device, used to portray an idea or belief. Flawed as you may believe it to be, it is still a literary device.

            In my city, we’re currently dealing with several public incidents of officers using excessive force on non-guilty bystanders of other crimes, which have been caught on city cameras. These officers were not given disciplinary action, and the city official responsible for the lack of discipline was fired. So clearly, here, this was a serious issue. It certainly has not engendered much appreciation for law enforcement. That, in additional to a myriad of other complaints, stories, and news articles over the years, and you see where the comment stems from.

            • MMD says:

              But if you’re trying to make a clear and persuasive argument, you may want to limit your use of “literary devices” and hyperbole, no? This is debate, not a novel.

              • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                It’s a debate? I was not aware. I feel so embarrassed.

                In the future, I shall adhere to proper rules http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=22

                • MMD says:

                  I suppose another term would be “thoughtful conversation”. You’ve now proven that you can’t or won’t have one.

                  Nice evasion of my point, by the way. Those who chose not to debate usually can’t.

                  • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                    Sorry, you wanted me to respond to the use of hyperbole? Sure. It’s used in language, therefore there’s no need NOt to use it. It’s illistrative. This isn’t a debate, it’s a blog, and there are no formal or informal guidelines which deny the use of hyperbole.

                    Were YOU going to respond meaningfully, or focus on a single moment in an otherwise meaningful conversation?

                    If you want to criticize someone of not responding, maybe you should respond meaningfully yourself?

                    • MMD says:

                      First of all, we’re both right. Yes, you’re are commenting on a blog where people routinely discuss, argue and – yes – debate the posted stories.

                      Initially, I was responding to the discussion where another commenter was criticizing your generalization about the police. My point was that if you care about making a clear argument or point, hyperbole generally doesn’t help your cause. In fact, your hyperbole caused a big side debate separate from the story you were originally commenting on. So really, my point was that if you don’t want to have the “all police are useless” debate, don’t say that all police are useless.
                      A pretty relevant point, which you sidestepped.

                      If you don’t want to have a constructive conversation, fine. But if you don’t, and if you also can’t take criticism (some of which came from people other than myself), what exactly do you get from commenting on this site?

                    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                      Saying instead: “78% of all cops are useless” sounds…well, stupid. Hyperbole is a bit more entertaining.

                    • Stone says:

                      Not to kill the fire going on here, but in 6th grade I thought hyperbole was pronounced, “Hyper Bowl” and that it was some kind of dishwasher, lol.

                    • Balaenoptera says:

                      Keep it up boys, continue this thread and get down to one character per line!

            • pantheonoutcast says:

              The type of people who vilify police officers are precisely the same type of people who disparage teachers. So of course I see where the comment stems from – simple ignorance of a incredibly difficult job that is easy to Monday Morning Quarterback and judge from an area of relative isolation from the profession.

              There are approximately 800,000 LEO working across the US. How many stories do we hear about officers using excessive force, or engaging in illegal or corrupt activities? A hundred? Two hundred? Even if every single day for a year, a police officer was indicted for illegal activities in each of the 50 largest cities in the US, that would still only be 18,250 crooked cops. That is only 2.2% of the entire LEO population, and thus, an anomaly.

              Your comment is not only unnecessary and insulting to the VAST majority of LEO, but it is wrong.

              • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                First, my girlfriend is in fact a teacher. I know full well the plight of teachers, as she herself is struggling in today’s economy and budget cuts. I respect them all for their efforts.

                Second, your analysis, while I understand is anecdotal and demonstrative, is still false logic. Given the power of authority, the “goold ol boys” commeraderie of law enforcement, and the fact that we only see abuse incidents caught on camera, it is feasable to assume that the number of actualy LEO abuse is much, much higher than is actually reported.

                Lastly, even if the numbers of abuse are low, LEO are a position of priviledge. They are given authorities by their citizens to protect them. They are supposed to be above us, better than us; the shining example of how citizen should behave. So when they do abuse this power, it is an additionally heineous act against society and its people. I don’t expect them to be perfect, but abuse should not be as pervasive as it is. Not to mention that any enforcement position tends to attract people who are prone to abuse their power in the first place. Remember the recent XXI security guard incident? “Enforcement,” from LEO to loan shark enforcers, “tough guy” positions tend to attract bullies.

                • pantheonoutcast says:

                  “…it is feasable to assume”

                  “any enforcement position tends to attract people who are prone to abuse their power in the first place.”

                  Your argument, and subsequent response, is rife with illogical suppositions, biased assumptions, and baseless speculation.

                  Even if the number of incidents of police misconduct were tripled, it would still be far under the range of “the norm” and still be an anomaly.

                  “They are supposed to be above us, better than us; the shining example of how citizen should behave.”

                  Now that, my friend is faulty logic – your premise is so flawed, it’s scary. Police officers are “better” than the rest of the citizens? They are fallible humans who make very little money and have to deal with the scum of the Earth all day long for 20 years. They are not beacons of hope – they are a group of people who protect decent, law abiding citizens from that scum. You’d be bitter and cynical, and prone to overreacting sometimes, too, if you have to deal with the types of people they had to deal with 12 hours a day.

                  And, on a personal note, if in my newest “hyperbolic example”, 6% of LEO use “unnecessary force” or otherwise illegal or improper techniques, or fail to properly deal with some idiot kid who Tweets about his “abduction” by a cabbie instead dealing with the situation like an adult, I think I can live with that.

                  • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                    Oh good, so as long as you personally don’t like the victim, it’s okay to abuse the system.

                    Those kinds of attitudes are exactly why the system is flawed.

                    And yes, police officers should be better than the people they fight against. That is their job, their duty, and the reason LEO exist. What’s the point of an enforcer who is as bad the those they are there for in the first place.

                    I love your twisting of words – I never said they weren’t fallable. In fact, I very specifically said they were. Were you listening? Given your connection between hating cops and hating teachers, you don’t seem interested in logical conversation.

                  • DigTheFunk says:

                    Thing is, pantheonoutcast, police officers and other positions of power over normal citizens, tend to take an oath, or swearing-in, or some sort of pledge that they are, in fact, held to higher standards. Those that are meant to uphold the law should be punished MORE severely for abusing their position of power than a regular citizen would be, yet time and time again we see them get LESS of a punishment simply because of their status. For example, recently here in Indiana, there is an uproar about a police officer who was drunk driving(0.19 BAC, taken via blood), while ON DUTY, and hit and killed a young man riding a motorcycle. Does he get held to higher punishment, due to his abuse of the law when in a position of trust? No, he gets the charges of drunk driving dropped because his police officer buddies who apprehended him and dealt with it knowingly took him to a center where someone OTHER than a certified phlebotomist(the only person in IN law who can give these tests) administered the test, hence giving him a loophole.

                    Are the officers who did this in extra trouble, either? Nope, simply a demotion, which, while I’m sure they don’t like it, is not NEARLY severe enough for this disrespect of our legal system and their position of power and trust. This young man is dead, his family without him….and the officer spent 90 minutes in jail, in a cell of his own, with another officer on camera saying “Bear with us, we just have to go through the motions while you’re here”. Please explain?

                • Difdi says:

                  Power does not corrupt. The problem, rather, is that power is irresistibly attractive to the easily corrupted.

              • syzygy says:

                To serve and protect…most of you. One in fifty of you, though…you’re boned.

              • Mr.Grieves says:

                I hate cops but like and support teachers. Now who’s type casting?

              • BomanTheBear says:

                Not specifically aimed at you, but anyone who shares that viewpoint and has ever made a priest joke is a hypocrite.

                I don’t hate cops, but I inherently don’t trust them. Considering that they drive 20 over more often than not but will pull you over for going 10 over, it really does seem like an unspoken rule that they’re above the law in at least some small way. That makes me feel very uncomfortable. It says something that just abou everybody has some story about being dicked over by a cop. Mine is that the cops from my school would do drug raids, report half of what they found and sell the rest. No joke, my roommate freshman year bought from his friend on the force.

              • FredKlein says:

                Even if every single day for a year, a police officer was indicted for illegal activities in each of the 50 largest cities in the US, that would still only be 18,250 crooked cops. That is only 2.2% of the entire LEO population, and thus, an anomaly.

                You left out all the cops who saw the ‘bad’ cops doing bad things and didn’t bother to report them. Not to mentiona the bad cops who do do bad things and never get caught.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          “We can only go off the evidence presented to us. “

          Did you read the article? The author was very positive appreciative regarding the officer who responded.

      • Difdi says:

        The cab company accepted Discover Card. The cabbie is required to follow that policy. The passenger tried to pay with Discover Card, and the cabbie held him hostage for 30 minutes because the cabbie didn’t like taking Discover Card. Violation of civil law, criminal law and corporate policy, in one neat little package.

        How would hearing the cabbie’s side of things change the matter any?

    • Derp says:

      If you cared to read the blog, the police showed up after the blogger had exited the cab and proceeded to get the blogger his receipt. Dur….

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        But no arrest was made for false imprisonment?

        • KeithIrwin says:

          In at least some places, false imprisonment isn’t a crime, just a civil tort. That is, he could sue the cabbie for it, but not have him arrested. On the other hand, it could be considered kidnapping depending on the specifics of the law.

    • Extended-Warranty says:

      Everyone complains to the police when they don’t agree with a policy. Having worked in retail, I saw this far too many times. Police don’t want to hear your dumb complaint.

      • DarthCoven says:

        The cabbie locking you in when he doesn’t want to take a credit card his company says he will is not “policy”

      • Difdi says:

        Last I checked, criminal law (unlawful imprisonment is a felony) outweighed company policies.

    • j_rose says:

      The driver was the one who called the cops! RTFA!

  5. JMILLER says:

    There is no way a cab driver could hold me in the car, unless he was prepared to kill me. It would also be a good idea to check with the cab prior to entering if they take a specific card. Remember many cabs are independently owned and operated or leased from a “company”. Almost like a McDonald’s franchise. McDonald’s corporate stores accept credit cards, but if an owner operator chooses not to, they can not be forced into it. If I am ever paying with any form of payment other than cash I ask in advance. Last week I had a cab driver tell me it was better for him to get paid with cash, since the cab company took a larger % of all credit card transactions. I told him, if he would stop at an ATM, I would get him cash, as long as he stopped the meter. Worked out for both of us.

    • Tim says:

      Usually, the individual cabs have visible signs to say what cards they accept. If you have a Visa sign on your taxi, I assume you accept it.

    • cosmic.charlie says:

      Unless there is a law in place for this. In NY and Chicago, if you are a cab operating in the city limits you are required to take credit cards. If the machine doesn’t work, tuff luck.

    • Gramin says:

      I’m with Cosmic here. In Chicago, there is a statute requiring taxis to accept major credit cards. If the machine doesn’t work, they can take an imprint or call it in.

      • Gulliver says:

        If you want to know why a cab driver in Chicago might be a bit upset about a possible fare not paying here is a study that shows their true cost.

        http://www.taxi-library.org/chicago-2009-taxi-income-survey.pdf

        The bottom line is a cab driver might feel abused by some. Not to say what this one did was right, but if you work all day to put food on the table for your family and one guy makes the day a losing proposition you might get upset too.

        The actual law in Chicago is not as cut and dry as you would make it seem:
        “he City of Chicago requires that all NON_INDEPENDENT taxis accept credit cards. (almost all cabs in the city are affiliated) However, when trying to pay with a credit card it is not uncommon for the driver to say something like “Sorry the machine is down,” especially if they believe that you may be a tourist. It is however, considered polite and fair, as it does cost them to process the card, to pay in cash for short (ie. less than 15$) trips. If you can only pay with credit consider adding a dollar or two to the tip.”

  6. Southern says:

    While the story is surprising, I’m even more surprised by another element to the story — the driver can lock the doors and the passenger can’t open/unlock them?

    That is *extremely* dangerous. What if there’s an accident, and the doors lock? What if the cab drives into water, and the doors are locked?

    This has got to be against some type of (safety) law.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I think most taxis are just regular vehicles that have been fitted for taxi components like a radio and the meter. I think you can still enable child safety locks.

      • minjche says:

        I’ve never seen child safety locks that can be turned on and off from the driver seat. Typically they’re inside of the door jam, so I don’t think this situation involved them.

        I haven’t seen every model of every car, though, so grain of salt.

        • MikeF74 says:

          Ummm, every child safety door can be controlled by the driver by simply using the locks.

          I think I might start checking the position of the child safety switch in the door jam before entering cabs from now on (and slyly adjusting them as I get in if possible).

          • syzygy says:

            Ummm, no they can’t. If the child safety lock is on, even if the driver unlocks the doors, the safety-locked door cannot be opened unless someone outside lifts the door handle. If the safety lock is off, the driver can hold the lock button to keep the kid from moving the lock and opening the door.

          • NatalieErin says:

            Not on my car. The child safety lock is on the side of the rear door, and has to be engaged manually. I can control the child lock for the windows from the drivers’ seat, but not the door.

        • gerald.saul says:

          My wife drives a Ford Crown Victoria that once served as a cop car. The backseat doors have the child safety feature permanently enabled, so there’s no way for the backseat passengers to get out using the interior handle. Sounds like cabs have this same feature?

          • Southern says:

            I’ve never been in a cab where the driver had to get out and open my door.. Which with a child safety lock (engaged), they would have to do. There’s NO way to open a door from the inside if the child safety lock is engaged – well, aside from rolling down the window and using the exterior handle to open the door. :-)

        • SJActress says:

          PT Cruisers have a button in the front by the radio to engage the child safety locks.

    • Pax says:

      Ever hear of “child safety locks” …?

      The ability of the driver to lock all the doors of a car, and (at least for the rear seats) prevent them from being unlocked form anywhere except the driver’s controls … has been a part of many American cars for … well, at least thirty or forty years.

      • Southern says:

        This is not the normal operation of a Child Safety Lock – If the child safety lock on a car is engaged, that door cannot be opened from the inside, period. Whether the door is locked OR unlocked.

    • kujospam says:

      It’s called you kick the windows out. Trust me, he won’t care about the windows after the car hits the water.

  7. pantheonoutcast says:

    “I was literally locked inside the cab and couldn’t get out. Perplexed, I tweeted, ‘I’m locked in a cab. My cab driver wont let me out because I gave him Discover Card.'”

    No, Adam, the proper response is, “Infuriated, I leaned back on the passenger seat and kicked the side window until it shattered into a million pieces.”

    The first response was “Tweeting”? What a soft, passive-aggressive society we’ve become.

    • Sparkstalker says:

      Indeed…your first response is to whip out your iPhone and tweet about it? How about using that same phone to call the cops and tell them a cabbie is holding you hostage rather than blogging about it later…

    • tbax929 says:

      My first response would have been to call 911. But I’m not the internet tough guy that you are.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        Clearly you’ve never been locked inside a battered Crown Victoria in Pittsburgh by an angry Pakistani who is vexed at the thought of paying the merchant fees on a Discover card.

        Emotions would run high on both sides.

        • syzygy says:

          And clearly, the best course of action when confronted with a verbal conflict (even one in which you’re being temporarily detained) is destruction.

          Now maybe my first action wouldn’t have been to tweet (hell, I’ve never tweeted anything in my life), but kicking out a window is a bit too “Grrr! Hulk SMASH!” for my tastes. How about calling the cops to report your captor? Or is that too reasonable?

          • pantheonoutcast says:

            Maybe you’re OK with “temporary detainment” by a crazy taxi driver. Maybe you’re also OK with Walmart greeters grabbing your arm when you don’t move fast enough in showing them your receipt. Maybe you’re OK with store security guards putting you in a choke hold until you turn purple because they suspect you of stealing.

            How do you know the taxi driver isn’t some insane lunatic? How do you know he doesn’t wish to cause you further harm? How do you know that whipping out your phone to call the police won’t enrage him further, and he’ll attempt to physically assault you or worse, put the car back into gear and drive away.

            You can sit there weighing your legal options and calculating how long it would take for the police to get there and sort out the situation. Or you can sit there like the kid in the story and update your Facebook status and Foursquare your location, or whatever asinine things he was wasting his time doing. Me, I’m leaving. One way or another. A simple, firm, and low-pitched, “Open this motherfucking door right now” would be a good place to start. You wouldn’t even have to break the window – one kick and the guy would immediately unlock the door; they’re responsible for all damages to the car.

            • GeekChicCanuck says:

              Sort of frightening that you teach….

              Are you OK if your students have your mentality? Or only if they don’t go all hulk on you?

              • Difdi says:

                Civilized society is a mutual contract. I don’t go apeshit on you if you don’t go apeshit on me. You obey the laws and I do too. You don’t forcibly imprison me, and I don’t use my car escape tool (or the back end of the item my CPL entitles me to carry in my home state) to give you an expensive car repair bill.

                The cabbie broke the social contract first. The blogger’s response to that was much milder and restrained than the situation warranted. Just like some people overreact to such breakages, other people underreact. The number of people who respond at exactly the proper level without any kind of practical training is actually quite small.

              • pantheonoutcast says:

                Why is that the only thing people have to say involves my job? Students yell and get in my face all the time. The vast majority of them are relatively normal, but the school is in the south Bronx and there’s a large population of future Riker’s inmates among them. Typically, I ignore them and laugh to myself. Because they are children, and I could lose my job otherwise. But, yeah, if a 6’4″ tall 16 year old 8th grader (yes, we have them) went “Hulk” on me, and physically assaulted me, I’d hand him his ass.

            • syzygy says:

              Maybe you should stop assuming what I believe based on my refusal to go from zero to batshit crazy at the drop of a hat. What if he was a crazy cab driver? So I kick through the window, try to get out, and the guy accelerates madly and tries to scrape me off the side of his car on a passing bus. I’m much safer in the cab, calling the police, than I am trying to smash my way out of a moving car. To successfully assault me in the back seat, he has to open one of the rear doors. If he takes off, my phone has GPS and can be tracked, and I can describe my location to the police. Either situation is preferable to your solution, which I can still use if I really think my life is in danger.

              I’m all for alertness and self defense when the situation calls for it. But cooler heads tend to prevail. We are not at war with cab drivers. It doesn’t take any longer to evaluate the situation and take the most effective course of action than it does to automatically smash your way out. If that course is violence, then so be it. Thankfully, that isn’t usually the case, at least for rational people.

      • halfcuban says:

        Clearly you’ve not been on these comment sections too long. There literally isn’t a Consumerist topic where pantheonoutcast doesn’t recommend Hulk Smash as a solution and some inflated A-team like story of how he’s PERSONALLY done something similar, despite the anonymity and unverifiable nature of the internet.

        • pantheonoutcast says:

          In the words of Marco Polo, “I haven’t told half of what I’ve seen.”

          Maybe you should get out more.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      ‘The first response was “Tweeting”? What a soft, passive-aggressive society we’ve become’

      Society as a whole? No, just those douchebags who are over-dependent on ‘social networking’ and their shiny little tech toys.

    • dg says:

      I agree – I’d smash out the windows and beat the shit out of the driver too for holding me hostage. Then when the police came – I’d claim that I’d feared for my life, defended myself, and demand the driver get arrested for kidnapping and extortion. I’d sue him and the cab company too. I’d probably also sue the car manufacturer for making a public transportation vehicle that couldn’t have the rear doors opened by the passenger – in an emergency, that’d be extremely dangerous.

    • Difdi says:

      Why do grunt work on a window? Be a Smart Ape and use Tools!

      http://www.resqme.com/

  8. Pavlov's Dog says:

    If it were not for the corporate organization of cab companies I would love for this to happen to me. I would insist on exiting the cab and basically force him to either physically detain me and hold me down or relent and let me go. Then you could sue the bejeebers out of him for the various causes of action against him and his employer. The downside would be that there are shell companies that own the cabs so you’ll never get much of a recovery from them.

    • Commenter24 says:

      Depends on the city. In larger cities, NYC or Chicago for example, the cab medallion is a very, very valuable. If the cab driver or company happens to actually own the medallion there is a substantial asset to collect against.

      • Gramin says:

        To put numbers to your statement, in 2006, 50 medallions were auctioned off in Chicago at approximately $80,000 per medallion. Yes, they are very valuable.

        • Commenter24 says:

          NYC medallions go for nearly $750,000 each, if you can get one. The last auction the city held for “new” medallions had a minimum bid of $700,000.

          • Commenter24 says:

            Actually, clicking a little further through the TLC’s website, the medallions actually sold for between $1.2 and $1.3 million each.

  9. rpm773 says:

    When caught in this situation, it makes for a fine time to discuss with the cabbie the economic concept of Opportunity Cost

    • Snarkster says:

      Excellent idea.

    • Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

      I like that idea. The one time I had a similar encounter with a cabbie (not nearly as bad, mind you, it was a dispute over what the fare should have been) I simply sat in the cab and explained my position at length. When he threatened to call the police, i told him that this was a very good idea, and that i would gladly wait for them to show up and straighten the whole thing out.

      Then I asked him how long he thought that might take because, you know, it’d be a real shame if he missed too many fares because of it. At that point he became persuaded to act more reasonably.

    • smo0 says:

      “An organization that invests $1 million in acquiring a new asset instead of spending that money on maintaining its existing asset portfolio incurs the increased risk of failure of its existing assets. The opportunity cost of the decision to acquire a new asset is the financial security that comes from the organization’s spending the money on maintaining its existing asset portfolio.”

      Citi should have heeded that advice. I was working for them from 2004-2007… they bought up so much crap… they ended up losing some of what they already had, not to mention, they were told they could no longer buy up any more financial institutions… I forget why.. but it was the “news” of 2007.

  10. milkcake says:

    This is why I take cab only if I have to. Take train otherwise in NYC. A cab driver pulled this on me once too with paying credit card and taking me to Queens instead of Manhattan. He said his credit card machine didn’t work. I called BS on that. He said he’ll call police. I’m like go ahead, I’ll call the cop for you. After that, he said his cc machine worked, I paid with no tip.

    • Southern says:

      Why do they (cab drivers) have such an issue with taking credit cards? you’d think it would be in their best interest, as it would lower the amount of cash in their cab, and should therefore reduce the amount of robberies, etc..

      • Lukecadet says:

        Well for starters it is because they have to pay a fee for the credit card transaction. Then you have the issue of them under reporting their income when it is all cash. Sure the meter is supposed to keep track but there are a lot of games that can be played when your dealing with cash.

        • smo0 says:

          I’m sorry, but in my experience all cab drivers I have encountered have shady tactics…
          there’s a 24 hour starbux here in Las Vegas off of Paradise, which the cabbies, cops and hipsters like to hang out at, at 10pm – 4am… spending some late nights there with friends, you tend to over hear a lot of crap… I absolutely LOATHE cab drivers.

      • DarthCoven says:

        FYI, in NYC if a cabbie ever pulls stuff like “i don’t take CC” or refuses to take you to one of the outer boroughs, dial 311 and report them. (this only applies to yellow cabs and not the various car services)

        • BridgetPentheus says:

          helps to remind them that you have their medallion number and id number (must be hanging visibile to you) and you will call up the taxi commission and report them (the number should be on the back of the seat) In NY if the light is on and they stop for you they must take you anywhere within the 5 boroughs even if it’s at the end of their shift or on the Queens/LI border.

    • seishino says:

      I never trust cabbies, but there are a few things you can do to help.

      1. Have the hotel, or someone trusted who has a vested interest in your safety, call the cab company. Don’t just get into random cabs.

      2. Follow along with the ride. He knows you’re a mark, so whipping out a map isn’t going to give you away. But they’re less likely to take you for a ride if you’re monitoring.

      3. Actively engage the cabbie. Talk to them. Good cabbies are helpful and knowledgeable about the places they drive past. All of the ones that have taken me for a ride have been suspiciously quiet. Asking them about landmarks and spots on the map, lets the questionable know that they’re being watched.

      4. Ask someone familiar with the area how much a cab ride to X should be. Ask the cabbie the same thing before you get into their cab. And, of course, ask about payment methods. If it’s pre-negotiated it’s harder to take you for a ride.

      5. If it fits, keep your bags in the back seat with you.

      6. Most cabs have an identifier on the outside or inside. Take a picture of this. If need be, this comes in very handy. And it’s not the sort of thing you think of doing in an emergency.

      7. Overseas, be sure you’re on the meter. While domestically, I’ve found cabbies are willing to cut you a deal for off-meter transport (illegal, by the way), internationally that’s a good way of getting an exorbitant demand for money on the other end.

      8. Travel with a local companion, if you can.

      • smo0 says:

        I have to agree with this… the times I was in a cab… I was never alone… also add.. pre determined trips to places such as the airport from your home or hotel usually come with a standard rate… they have to stick with this rate regardless…

    • MauriceCallidice says:

      DC Metro tried to get me to buy a SmarTrip farecard to get my car out of their parking lot at the Fairfax station one day. They had recently started accepting MC/Visa/Discover for paying the parking fees, which was the posted policy when I parked there.

      I’d lost track of my SmarTrip card and didn’t feel like buying another, so I decided to pay w/ credit card for my fare and parking that day.

      At the end of the day when I tried to leave the parking lot credit card reader wasn’t working. I went back into the station to report it and to arrange to pay and be let out, and was told I would have to buy another SmarTrip, which would be costly and, for my future needs, unnecessary.

      I complained to several people, asked them to call management, and after about half an hour or 40 minutes they just opened up to parking lot gate so everyone could leave without paying. Which must have been costly, and wasn’t my intent, but was apparently their solution to telling people they could pay with a particular method and then not actually doing so.

  11. Snarkster says:

    He tweeted? Why didn’t he call 911 if he thought he was being held against his will? Might be a good idea to cary another credit card (Visa) while traveling. Also, he should report this incident to Discover–the cabbie has probably violated the merchant agreement by refusing to take the card.

    For the movie of the incident, I really hope Clint Eastwood gets the part of the rider. It would make for a better story.

    Tweeted?! Really?!

    • apple420 says:

      Yeah I thought it was odd that he tweeted while being held hostage in the cab. Also he was surprised because “he refused to provide a receipt unless I gave him the money”. Like the guy would really give a receipt without getting the money. I don’t go to a department store and demand a receipt before I pay.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      I am similarly baffled. What exactly was tweeting supposed to accomplish?

      • LaurelHS says:

        Hey, that’s what Perez Hilton did when he claimed will.i.am assaulted him. He tweeted instead of calling the police for some stupid reason.

  12. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    After all this the customer paid $41.25, when the meter read $34 at the start. Did the cab driver really run the meter during the dispute or did he get a $7.25 tip for being a jerk?

    Not to mention additional ATM fees, etc…

    I completely understand where the OP was coming from, but who only carries one credit card on a trip? And again I understand not using the check card, the protections on a credit card are far greater. In today’s climate of dropping limits, lines, etc everyone should have redundancy.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      who only carries one credit card on a trip?

      Who owns multiple credit cards?

      • Marshmelly says:

        lots of people? or at least a debit card as well.

        • Pax says:

          I have a VISA-logo debit card.

          I have precisely ZERO credit cards. Nor do I ever want one.

          If I can’t afford it now, I can’t have it now. I may not have a big income, but I have ZERO DEBT.

          • FerretGirl says:

            There are lots more consumer protections on a credit card than on a debit card. Plus if someone rips you off on your debit card you’re out that amount of money while your bank investigates. I lost 600$ from my checking account once, I couldn’t pay rent that month. Took 3 months for the bank to give it back.

            Get a credit card and pay off the balance every month like I do. Plus, it builds credit!

          • syzygy says:

            I use credit cards because I loathe carrying cash. I have four credit cards, and guess what? ZERO DEBT. Zero finance charges, and tons of consumer protection built-in. Credit cards are your friend.

          • GearheadGeek says:

            Except for the mortgage on my home, I have zero debt. I have several credit cards. Holding a credit card does not imply being in debt.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        If you have one card and the bank decides to drop you your score will plummet… If you have 3, it isn’t a big deal.

        Clark Howard used to recommend everyone have 2 cards, now he says 4.

        Debit cards are lousy. Clark Howard has called them “piece of trash fake visa mastercards” for a long time. If someone steals it you are out real money until you complete the dispute process, and banks may not find in your favor.

        Never carry a balance. I haven’t in at least 3 years. Do use each card at least twice a year and pay in full.

  13. redmocd says:

    The above is the primary reason why I ALWAYS pay with cash when I’m taking a cab. I’ve paid with a card before, and I find the process time consuming and a little bit sketchy.

  14. smo0 says:

    All cabbies are domestic terrorists. That’s the one profession that’s scared me more than bouncing. They are intimidating and you never know what they may pull, they are driving you around and your life is in their hands…. it’s just an overall scary thought. Also, I love the Bone Collector…. shit’ll make ya never wanna get in a cab again.

  15. Commenter24 says:

    In NYC and Chicago the best thing to do if the cabbie starts to give you a hard time is to threaten to call the Taxi and Limo Commission. The cabbies, particularly in NYC, are generally terrified of the TLC.

    • DarthCoven says:

      Just remember 311. I think they put you through to the T&LC

      • MMD says:

        I know that they really do take this seriously in Chicago, because I reported a cabbie for not taking credit cards and harassing me until I called for help to get cash (he didn’t lock me in, but he did want to drive me to an ATM to get cash. He was really agitated and had already gotten lost once on that awful ride home, so I wasn’t about to let him drive me anywhere). He was fined $150, and if there’s a second report he’ll be fined $1500, according to the papers I got from the city.

      • Commenter24 says:

        311 works in Chicago too.

        • smo0 says:

          311 works everywhere… it’s the non- emergency police line…. downside , you’ll be on hold a lot longer…. I usually call it to report “happenings” like… stray dogs, fights, reckless driving…

          • Commenter24 says:

            311 in Chicago and New York are not “non-emergency police lines.” They are general city lines where the operators can route you to various departments, answer questions about city services, take reports of things like pot-holes, etc.

            • NatalieErin says:

              It’s the same in my city, but it also serves as the police non-emergency number. If you need to report something the 311 people can’t handle, they transfer you to a dispatcher.

  16. ElleAnn says:

    I took Yellow Cab in Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago when I needed to catch an early train after a conference. The reviews I read online before scheduling my pickup were not very good, but there really aren’t any other options in the city. My trip went off without a hitch, and I paid with a credit card.

  17. Pax says:

    I have two words for that Cabbie: Unlawful and Imprisonment.

    I have no idea why the police officer didn’t arrest the cabbie right there. That’s a serious instance of dereliction of duty on his or her part, IMO.

    • Difdi says:

      Under Pennsylvania law, what the cab driver did is two different second degree misdemeanors. I’d assume that since the cop didn’t witness the actual crimes (the OP was out of the cab by the time the police arrived), the cop didn’t feel an arrest was warranted. Had the OP still been locked in the cab, it might well be another story entirely.

  18. Trusso says:

    I did a little digging on the false imprisonment claims. While the case I found isn’t a PA one (and therefore isn’t binding) I would feel comfortable believing the court would apply the same test.

    Grant v. Stop-N-Go Market of Texas, Inc cites the (Criminal) false imprisonment test as:
    Thus, there are three components to the shopkeeper’s privilege: (1) a reasonable belief a person has stolen or is attempting to steal; (2) detention for a reasonable time; and (3) detention in a reasonable manner.

    Now what is or what isn’t reasonable is what is up for debate here. But let’s just say that this case is not likely to be going to trial–I think PA has many more higher priority prosecutions than a questionable cab driver.

    • Commenter24 says:

      Don’t forget that False Imprisonment is also a tort.

      • Trusso says:

        That’s true. But I felt like everyone was focusing on the presence of the police officer with the “why didn’t he haul him off to jail etc”

        I feel like everyone here refers to False Imprisonment in the criminal sense here. That being said, you are absolutely right about possible civil litigation.

  19. zekebullseye says:

    The guy could have cut a huge stinky fart, sat back and told the driver there were many more where that came from. I bet he would have been freed promptly.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      Apparently, you’ve never been in a NYC cab. The fart would have greatly improved the environmental odor…

  20. goodfellow_puck says:

    In Japan, all of the cabs have doors that can ONLY be opened by the cabbie. I never got in one since the metro was excellent, but it still weirded me out.

    • Powerlurker says:

      The really fun part about Japanese taxis is that before GPS became common, you’d typically have to be able to explain to your cabbie how to get to your destination since building addresses in Japan are based on neighborhoods and blocks, not streets, and buildings are numbered based on the order in which they were built, not their position on the street.

  21. sljepi says:

    Few months ago, cabbie was supposed to take me from LaGuardia to the hotel in Jamaica (120++ st., NY. Instead of taking Van Wyck expressway the whole way, he took the early exit with 60+ streets untill my destination. He pretty much wanted to double my fare ($20 until this point). I just got off at the Jamaica station and gave him $1 tip.

  22. e065702 says:

    ALWAYS verfiy acceptance of your credit card with not only the cab company but the cab driver before you get in the cab.
    If you are paying with Am-Ex in particular be sure to tip well. It is weeks before the cab driver gets his tip. Am-Ex also charges a really high service fee for using their card.
    That being said this cab driver deserves none of the above.
    What a tool.

    • Commenter24 says:

      Cabs in NYC and Chicago are required to take credit; thus, there is no need to go out of your way to ensure they take plastic. If you get to your destination and the driver refuses your card, too bad for him.

  23. Doubts42 says:

    I worked front desk and front door of hotels for about 10 years and the greed, ignorance, and general sh!tty attitudes of cab drivers was astounding. About 90% were scum. I had one driver spit on a Priest and drive off with the man’s luggage still in his trunk, refusing to bring it back until he was paid his fare (difficult to do when the driver has left the scene). I have had to break up fist fights and even had a gun pulled on one of my employees by an irate driver. The scams and kickback schemes were unbelievable. In all fairness though, a lot of the remaining 10% were great people.

  24. flbas says:

    how is this different than you buying something at walmart and refusing to show your receipt? not the part about a store vs a cab, or something else – but how walmart or most other stores think they can detain you for a receipt, and if you refuse to provide one, they detain you longer while calling the cops?

  25. mcgyver210 says:

    This was also an Attempted Theft & Assault since the driver tried to take the bag with force. If it had been me it wouldn’t have ended well for the driver & I would have been recording all that happened as soon as the conflict started.

    Also at the least I would file a merchant Complaint with Discover which believe it or not could get the company in hot water with the Almighty Merchant Processor.

  26. kouotsu says:

    I’ve used Pittsburgh Yellow Cab in the past and my experiences have not been great. The last time I tried I was at the Greyhound station and needed to get to my dorm. There were two yellow cabs available and they both flat-out denied to accept me. They said “You can walk there from here, it’s right up there!” Yes, technically I could walk there. Technically I could walk many places. However where I was going was at least a mile away, VERY uphill the whole way, and I was carrying to large luggage bags. I would rather pay 5 bux to get a ride there, thanks!

    Luckily some other company was waiting in a very nice white vehicle and gladly accepted me. They even accepted cards, which Yellow Cab didn’t at the time. I’m ashamed to say I can’t remember the name of the company because it was the most pleasant cab experience I’ll probably ever have.

  27. cmhbob says:

    Many cabs these days are refurbished Crown Vic police cruisers, where the rear door locks are disabled. Someone thought letting a prisoner in the back open the door by themselves was a bad thing.

  28. DeadWriter says:

    After filling a police report, contact the DA’s office. When you file a complaint with the DA’s office, be concise, reference the police report, and note where else cabdrivers have been charged with false imprisonment. Don’t be officious.

    Also contact the entity that licence cabs and cab drivers.

  29. mkn1972 says:

    As a cabdriver myself, I can tell you that cabbies get ripped off A LOT. We get given bogus cash, bogus credit cards, have people run on the fare, have people try to only pay part of the fare, refuse to pay the fare, attack us for “cheating them,” etc.

    I would say that the cabdrivers’ actions were reasonable– I’ve locked customers in the cab before if they refused to pay or tried to pay with a bogus means. We process our credit cards through one source via phone, so if it’s declined or comes back bad account, that means that unless you’ve got cash, you’re a thief. Our only recourse (and it’s laid out in the law that we HAVE to do this) is to call the police and have you arrested unless you can pay the fare by some other means.

    People don’t realize that cabdrivers put up with a lot of crap from people they don’t even know.. and one thing we always worry about it if you’re going to pay on the end. Too many people have used the old “I need the ATM” excuse to cut and run, so if you wanna use the ATM, that’s fine, but if you get out of my cab, you’re leaving me some form of security.. so telling the guy that he had to leave his things in the cab is reasonable.

    Cabbies work alone, work long hours, and don’t make nearly as much as people think. It’s an arduous business, and when you’re out there, you’re all you have to rely on. So yea, cabbies are going to protect their ability to get paid. We had a driver murdered last year over a $40 cabfare.. Forty bucks.

    So before you all start lambasting the cabdriver and the company, understand that these are people who, just like you, are trying to earn a living. If you go to a store and try to buy something, and the store doesn’t have a working Credit card machine, and you’re out of cash, you just don’t get what you wanted.

    But if you’re in a cab, and you’re in the same situation, then you’re actually in violation of the law and can (and in my city WILL) be arrested for theft of services.

    Ask first… before you take the trip, and explain to the cabbie you’ll need to stop at an ATM, and offer to leave your things in the cab while you get cash.. Chances are your upfront honesty will put the cabbie at ease, and he won’t require you to leave your stuff.. but always, always, let your cabbie know before he even starts the meter that you’ll be paying with a credit card, and if that’s not possible, that you’ll need an ATM…

    Also, in some cities where the cabdriver is an owner/operator, he’s not required to take credit cards even if the parent company whose livery he leases does accept them…

    Hope this clarifies things a bit…

  30. CookiePuss says:

    People try to dip out on cabs fairly often so it’s no surprise the driver was cautious. The fact the passenger had a Visa but refused to use it in fear of a card skimmer seems a bit far fetched but whatever.

    I think its funny that when the driver asked him to leave his bag while he got the cash the passenger said no. At the same time he fully expects the driver to trust him. Mmmmmm…double standards are yummy.

  31. LastError says:

    Ah Discover card. The card you can get, and then discover where you can use it. Which is not very many places.

  32. Caffinehog says:

    Ask if he is a Muslim. He’ll let you out.

  33. halfcuban says:

    I’ve had this happen to me, atleast in the case of cab drivers telling me that their credit card machine is broke. Usually we just stopped off at an ATM along the way and they let me get money out, which they never seemed to mind. Usually since I was on account, and only used my credit card once or twice, I just never presumed they were trying to keep their income off the books but from now on, I’m gonna refuse to stop off.

  34. brinks says:

    I didn’t read through all of the comments, so I apologize of someone’s already said this. A cab driver in my city told me that he loses $5 for every credit card transaction, regardless of the actual fare. The cab company takes it and he has no control over it. While the company’s web site says this company takes credit cards, many of the drivers, who are independent owner/operators, say they do not. The guy told me that many drivers will refuse unless you threaten to call the company.

    That is NOT an excuse for this driver’s ridiculous behavior, but it explains why he did not want to take the card. He’s losing money directly from his own pocket.