Chicago Taxi Driver Charges Passenger $800 For Two-Mile Ride

Now multiply that by 100. (kevindean)

Now multiply that by 100. (kevindean)

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, 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!

Short cab ride costs rider $787.33 []
Woman charged $787.33 for two-mile cab ride [Yahoo! News]

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  1. Instegone says:

    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. – What piece of junk credit card is she using? You can usually file a charge back up to 3-4 months after the charge shows up. And 99% of the time the credit card companies are on your side.

    • Saber says:

      It would be the signature that would be the issue (if they’re following Reg Z anyways). Transactions can be denied if there is 1) no signature 2) products/services not rec’d, or 3) actual fraud. If the signature/her parents’ account has her as a cardholder/authorized signer, than if her signature’s on it, she’s screwed, pretty much. Part of T&C for most credit cards are ‘if you signed for it, you pay for it’ unless there’s an issue for merchandise…

      Only way I could see them trying to file a chargeback would be for services not rendered/as described – since she obviously didn’t go nearly as many miles as the cab went.

  2. SingleMaltGeek says:

    There must be recourse to dispute a charge if you signed a slip where the vendor held their thumb over the 5 in “570.00”, or obscured the total completely and told you it was much less than it actually was. The victim claims this cabbie made a representation about the price that was fraudulent, how is that not eligible for a chargeback?

    The only thing I can think of is that maybe the bank thinks the cabbie has a good case, and wants them all to take it to small claims court instead.

    • Saber says:

      Unfortunately not, in the first scenario. Most credit card companies would make you go to claims court at that point. Now, if you have a copy/information showing the misrepresentation, then the bank would have something to go on. But verbal heresay alas doesn’t work with chargebacks.

      (And trust me, I feel for this girl. But I know from experience what banks/credit card companies will/will not do :( )

      • CommonC3nts says:

        Actually most credit card companies would 100% refund their money if it was an actual credit card.
        If it is a debit card then most likely the money wont be refunded.

        If this was truly a credit card, it is very surprising the CC did not refund them since this was not even a store, but someone’s personal square account.
        If this was a CC and they denied the charge back then there is something more to the story.

        • limbo says:

          Which should all be irrelevant as the cab in question has presumably broken the law. Chicago, like most big cities in the USA, restricts how much a cab can charge.