Here’s an important lesson in why you should never let your credit card leave your hand when paying for a cab ride: A 20-year-old college student’s parents realized their daughter had been charged almost $800 for a two-mile cab ride in Chicago, unbeknownst to her, all because the driver claimed his machine wasn’t working.
According to Yahoo! News (link has video that autoplays), the student hopped in a cab after getting off the Metra train to meet some friends at a restaurant that was not even two miles from the transportation station.
As her mother tells MyFoxNewsChicago.com, the driver was very friendly and chatty, which may have been a distraction tactic.
“At the end of the trip he gave her a price and she thinks it was under ten dollars, and so she asked can I use a credit card, and he said my swiper isn’t working, here give it to me and I’ll do it on my Square,” her mother explained.
And by that she means the mobile payments device that can be attached to a smartphone to run credit card transactions — which is a totally separate thing from the taxi’s meter.
By the time the $787.33 showed on her parents’ statement, the credit card company said it was too late for a refund, because the daughter had signed for the transaction — ostensibly, not realizing it was so costly. If she’d had a screen with the amount on it in front of her, that kind of thing can’t slip through.
Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection got involved to try to help, reminding passengers in the city not to use payment systems that aren’t approved for cabs.
“The problem here is that Square is not an approved device. We want to urge people to use the front and back mounted credit card device payment systems in our cabs and that’s it,” a rep from the department explained, adding that your card should never leave your hand inside a cab.
“Our department has suspended his public chauffeur license pending this investigation… The cab driver is out of the country, he did cooperate but he’s not in the country so we still have a few unresolved issues pertaining to this case,” she added.
Square agreed to issue a refund for that hefty cab bill while the family waits to hear what the cab driver has to say.
*Thanks to the very resourceful Jenny for the link!