Scam Alert: How To Not Get Scammed By The Taxi Driver | Travel TIps
Most of the time if you travel on a budget, you are taking cheap flight tickets. So usually you have to be at the airport super early or super late. And oh gosh, but not every city’s public transport rides at night so as a rule tourists take a taxi to get into the city center after landing in a wanted destination, for example, Thailand, Bangkok, Rome, or Paris. It is good if you heard about taxi scams before but if not, you have a higher chance of getting scammed by the taxi driver than the others. Cause one moment you might be pleased with the attentive taxi service and another overpay not twice but three times more than you had to.
Ironically, even if you know that this kind of scam is really popular we often ignore facts and lessen the chances of being scammed by the taxi driver. Recently the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) announced the results of the final quarter of the 2022 survey which shows the increased complaints about taxi services in Thailand. For better understanding, 200 Western tourists took part in the survey and they rated taxi services 3.5/5. The most common issue was unfair treatment as taxi drivers often only take passengers who agree to pay a fare without using the meter. Imagine that you had a long flight, and reached Thailand or another country at night, you are tired and sleepy as a sloth on sleeping pills, and all taxi drivers want to rip you off. I bet you too would be mega fuming but still paying for the transportation because you don’t want to stay any longer at the airport.
We decided to craft a bulky list of the most common taxi scams and how to not get scammed by the taxi driver. Get comfy and let’s go!
#1 Oh My, The Taximeter Suddenly Broke
One of the most common taxi scams is telling passengers that the taximeter suddenly broke. So if the driver is telling you that the taximeter isn't working, we can guarantee that he is trying to fool you. Let's say that the taximeter is more or less 99% working perfectly, but the driver doesn't want to turn it on because he wants to charge you more than the ride is worth. Also, there is another way how you can possibly get scammed by the taxi driver - turning off the taximeter in the middle of the travel. This way it will be challenging to prove that the fee driver asks is way bigger than it should be. But you can try to go into a negotiation and if you kept an eye on the meter price you could more or less calculate the total price. Especially if the taximeter stopped working in the middle of the travel.
#2 Road Closed? We Need To Go This Way
A few years ago I also got scammed by a taxi driver. He made a considerable detour, like ever ending round journey around Rome because some roads were closed… So yeah, some taxi drivers can say that the street is closed or on X street is a huge traffic jam, and that’s why they need to take another route. And if you haven't agreed on the fixed price, or even if the taximeter is working perfectly, you aren't local so he can drive you in circles. So be alert and track the route online on Google Maps. At least you can tell him that he is wrong and try to negotiate the price.
Well, there are stories that some taxi drivers warn passengers that some streets are closed so they can't take drive them further and leave passengers in the middle of an unknown place. Moreover, they even ask the money for transportation. So remember, that you shouldn't pay the full price if you haven't reached your destination.
#3 Baggage Thief!
Even if you are a backpacker you also might get scammed by the taxi driver. Some taxi drivers wait for the passenger to get off the car first and then turn on the car and drive away with the stolen baggage. In order not to be in this situation, you should always get off the taxi after the driver unloads your luggage or backpack, and only then settle the bill.
#4 Tuk Tuk - Who’s There? - Scam
TukTuk taxi scam is very typical in Morocco, Thailand, and Bangkok where the tuk-tuk driver will take the passenger to a jewelry store or a tailor instead of the place you asked for. They will definitely guarantee that the place sells only the best things and insist on buying. Here you'll see how strong you are under psychological pressure because they non-stop keep insisting on buying and if you won't they might get angry. Remember that if you buy something, your driver will get a part of the deal. The best way to avoid these situations is to insist that the taxi driver takes you to the exact destination you want.
#5 Sorry, I Don’t Have a Change
It is common to carry some money while you are on vacation because not all places take cards. It is possible that you won't have the exact amount of money to pay for a taxi. So get ready to hear the reply that the taxi driver doesn't have change. And if he smiles at you politely, don't get swayed for handing the change over as a friendly tip. Ask him or the partner you are traveling with, if they have the exact amount of money. However, if you are already in this kind of situation, you can't do basically anything. That's why you should always have enough various types of bills.
MEGA TIP. Before traveling to a foreign country, search for a taxi app: Uber, Bolt, itTaxi, Cabify, Lyft, etc. This way you will definitely not get scammed by the taxi driver because you will see the price you are going to pay before the travel, the app automatically charges the fee from your card, and you will know the basic information of the taxi you just got in, just in case if you need to write a complaint or etc.
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