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Uncovering Taxi Fare Scams

taxi fare scams

When using the services of a taxi you are often in an unfamiliar place and therefore vulnerable to dishonest taxi drivers. Unfortunately, taxi fare scams are common – in this article we have detailed a few of the scams that are out there and how to avoid them.

Types Of Taxi Fare Scams

  • The Scenic Route

    One of the most common scams is the scenic route trick – if a taxi driver thinks that you are new in town or simply not aware of your surroundings, they might decide to take you on a longer route – running up the meter and costing you more. It is possible for drivers to increase your fare using this technique and therefore you should be extra vigilant.

    How To Avoid It
    The best way to stop this type of trick is to show the taxi driver that you are tracking your route or that you have a good idea of what the correct route is. The easiest way to track the route or find the best one is to use a map app on your phone, the app should be able to give you the shortest route timewise, including obstacles such as traffic or tolls. If your driver recommends a different route because of one of these reasons, double check them.

  • Broken Meter

    This is a classic scam; for some reason the meter isn’t working, but they will give you a good price. Most of the time a broken meter is just a lie – in this day and age, there is no reason for you to get in a taxi with a broken meter. Rather find another car, or try a ridesharing app.

    How To Avoid It
    If there really is no other way and you need to use the taxi, then agree on a price before you get in the car. You can get estimates from various websites or you can check how long the route is and calculate from there, but never get in a car before negotiating a fair price.

  • Sleight Of Hand

    If you are in a foreign country, you might be unfamiliar with the local currency – a taxi driver may take advantage of this by performing some sleight of hand. You hand them a bill which should cover the total, only for them to ask for more money while holding out the bill you supposedly gave them, but it seems you gave a smaller denomination than you thought. What has happened, is that the driver has swapped your bill out for a smaller one, without you noticing.

    How To Avoid It
    This one is common, but easy to avoid, it just requires you to be careful. When handing over cash, state the amount you are handing over and look at the driver as you do it, don’t just hand it over while focusing on something else. You need to be careful here, because it is difficult to prove that they are cheating you.

  • No Change

    A quick little trick that you might encounter is the no change excuse. If a driver wants to try to get a bigger tip, they will claim they have no change in the hope that you will simply give them the difference as a larger tip. This is common as it’s easy for them to pull off and it catches you as you are trying to get out.

    How To Avoid It
    To prevent this from working on you, carry coins and small denominations around with you, to use as exact change. If you don’t have any, offer to go to an ATM for change, this might help them discover some change lying around.

Using these tips, you should be prepared for most of the classic tricks that cabbies pull, and any new ones should be easy for you to stop before you get trapped by them.