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Chargeback fails after taxi charges $900 for short trip

January 30, 2019 Headline News 2 Comments Email Email

Limits to credit card chargeback seem to have been struck by a tourist who found he had been charged close to AUD 900 for a five-minute inner-city taxi ride.

The taxi passenger paid by credit card and his card provider has so far been unable to help him recover the monstrous bill for the short trip from Wellington Railway station in New Zealand to a nearby inner-city address.

The sad case of the tourist rip-off was revealed by Wellington’s Dominion Post newspaper, which said the tourist from Scotland had been charged NZD 930 for his five-minute ride.

New Zealand Taxi Federation executive director John Hart told the paper he receives at least one complaint a week about overcharging, though most cases probably go unreported.

Deregulation of the taxi industry made it difficult to track down taxi drivers working as independent operators, Hart said, even when customers kept their eftpos receipts.

The tourist victim, who is visiting from Scotland with his wife, said the meter reading was under NZD 10, but the driver’s hand obscured the top of the card reader, so he did not see the amount he was actually charged. He did not get a receipt.

Later that day, the man was shocked when his MasterCard Travelex card was refused at a supermarket. On checking, a charge of NZD 930 from “Taxi Wellington” was found on the statement.

It could have been a decimal-point error, converting NZD 9.30 into NZD 930, but if that happened the error should have been identified and fixed.

It hasn’t been, and no one can find the driver.

Hart said travellers who were overcharged were often left out of pocket now the industry had been deregulated. Deregulation means any fare disputes have to be referred to the Disputes Tribunal “and you have to know what that is”.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. bruce weston says:

    hmm looks like this is one of the problems when using a prepaid travel card – you have little re-dress whereas a normal CREDIT card [ as opposed to a pre-paid DEBIT card ] you can have reversed no drama – the onus is always back to the supplier to justify his charge

  2. David Todd says:

    The driver has subsequently been identified and claimed he did indeed put the decimal point in the wrong place ! The pax has been refunded the overcharged amount. The fare was $9.30. The driver was an independent and not a member of one of the major taxi companies.

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