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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Use Debit Card As Little As Possible



Woman charged $787.33 for two-mile cab ride

Odd News
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Woman charged $787.33 for two-mile cab ride
A college student from Winnetka, Illinois jumped into a cab for a short ride to a restaurant in downtown Chicago, but instead of a couple dollars, she was charged almost $800.
In December, 20-year-old Becky Siegel was running late to meet friends at the Sweetwater Tavern and Grille, so she went immediately from the Metra train to a cab at the Ogilvie Transportation Center.
View photo
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Becky Siegel (WFLD)
The restaurant was less than two miles from the station and Becky’s mother, Susan Siegel, told WFLD Fox 32 News, "He was apparently very friendly and chatty, and was talking about pedestrians crossing where they shouldn't." Once she arrived at her destination, the student asked the cab driver if she could use her credit card for the fare. “He gave her a price and she thinks it was, you know, under ten dollars,” explained Susan. “And so she said, ‘Can I use a credit card?’ And he said, ‘Oh, my swiper isn't working. Here give it to me and I'll do it on my Square."
The Square mobile payment device (AP Photo/Russel A. Daniels)
The Square device and app allow merchants to charge customers through a mobile device. Becky handed over her credit card, told the driver to add a $2 tip, and signed the app. Becky told the Chicago Tribune, "I guess I didn't pay attention or I didn't look…I just signed my name with my finger and I left."
Susan Siegel (WFLD)
The problem was, as Susan Siegel found out while reviewing her transactions, instead of a charge under $12, the card was charged a whopping $787.33. Ms. Siegel contacted Visa customer service to dispute the charge, but because Becky had signed off on the transaction, a refund was refused. The Chicago Police department told Siegel that there was nothing they could do about it either. Angry about what transpired, Siegel contacted the driver, Ali Ghazanfari, for a resolution. Instead the cab driver stood behind the nearly $800 charge. 
(WFLD)
Ghazanfari’s tune changed when Siegel got in touch with the Chicago Tribune’s, “What’s Your Problem?” problem solvers. They reached out to the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. "I remember exactly what happened,” the driver told the Tribune. I made a mistake on the fare." Ms. Siegel said, "He called me two or three times, and he was in a panic. What I do know is that he is really sorry that he got caught." 
Ghazanfari said he made efforts to contact Square and his bank to refund the Siegels’ money but because the company had only the last four digits of their credit card, that was not possible. Another request to Visa by Ghazanfari and Siegel working together, was unsuccessful.
Mika Stambaugh (WFLD)
Mika Stambaugh, a spokesperson for the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, said that they contacted Square and the company promised to send Siegel a check for $787.33 by the end of this week. Stambaugh added, "Our department has suspended his public chauffeur license pending this investigation… He cooperated with us but he's not in the country so we still have a few unresolved issues pertaining to this case.”
So how can you avoid incidents like this from happening to you? Ms. Stambaugh explained that, "The problem here was that Square is a non an approved device. So we want to urge people to use the front and back mounted credit card device payment systems in our cabs and that's it." She also said that passengers should never allow their credit card to leave their hands and if it does, to contact 3-1-1. Finally, a lesson that Becky Siegel learned the hard way, always double check the final charges before signing a credit card receipt.
Video and more info: WFLDChicago Tribune
1,902 CommentsMy Comments
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  • Pat 4 hours ago
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    276 
    Took a cab from Las Vegas Air Port to the Stratosphere Hotel. Driver was driving me around and around then gave me a charge of 75.00 and asked for tip!. Told him I have been here a dozen times and threw him 20.00. He was #$%$ and threatened me if I would not pay the full price.I politely told him to FK off and said I was going to report him to the Hotel. We exchanged a few more pleasantries and he left. One thing I have learned when taking a cab is not to put luggage in the trunk. I have heard of cab drivers holding your luggage for ransom when they rip you off. Have to keep your eyes opened!
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    • Joe 14 minutes ago
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      I've had similar problems in the past with cabs in Washington DC going from the airport to downtown. As soon as they start to do the tour I tell them to go straight to the hotel or stop by that police officer on the corner. Never had any arguments about the correct fare after that. The key is knowing the routes between your starting point and destination. It is also worthwhile reporting the driver to the local licensing agency. They usually take fare fraud very seriously.
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  • Wyoming Sage 2 hours ago
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    83 
    I check every thing like this before I sign it. The biggest problem nowdays is people adding to the tip (added by me) when I filled out the bill. You don't know about this until you check your debt card charges, my wife does this every two days. I will get right on the phone and call the manager even over a dollar! I will post the problem online and call the head office if it's a corporation. This kind of petty stealing is still stealing.....
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  • Duespayd 1 hour ago
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    Happened to a couple of us in Singapore. We had just ridden a cab from one hotel to another and now needed to go back to the first hotel. We paid about $5 per the meter for the first ride. We got into the second cab and driver said "meter broken. I make you special deal". We asked him to flip the meter again. Same answer. We got to the second hotel and the driver said "$30". My friend threw $5 on the seat, pointed to the meter and said "Meter broken". When the driver began to loudly object, the rather large Sikh doorman asked us if there was a problem. We explained. The doorman stuck his head in the driver's window, said something anf the driver drove off. Done deal.
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  • Keith 1 hour ago
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    28 
    I took a cab a few years ago in downtown Chicago. The total fare was about $6 and all I had was a twenty. I handed it to the driver and told him to give me $12 back. He said he couldn't break a twenty. I told him it was all I had and that went on for about a minute. Finally I said fine, didn't give him anything and got out of the cab. He threatened to call the police on me because I wouldn't pay for my cab ride. I told him to go ahead because I was trying to pay but he wouldn't accept it. His tune changed pretty quickly when I agreed to calling the police and, what do you know, he all of a sudden was able to break a twenty for me. I'm guessing he was figuring I'd finally just give him the twenty and say keep the change.
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  • luna 4 hours ago
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    At a store I used work at, the cashier made a mistake when entering the amount of a customer's purchase on the pinpad of the credit card machine. Neither of them looked at the receipt that printed out, and the customer was charged $1,000.00 on a $100.00 purchase. When I was reconciling the day, I caught the mistake and immediately called the credit card company...before I batched out that night. I had to do some research, but was able to find the customer and let him know what had happened. The credit card company took three days to straighten things out. I learned to always look at what you are signing. This could have been reversed immediately if either the customer or the cashier had checked the receipt.
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  • scmom 25 minutes ago
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    Square is going to be a problem! We had our credit card number stolen and the thief was able to duplicate our card. We subsequently had a couple fraudulent charges that came from a square devise. When I contacted square they told me it wasn't their problem, that I should take it up with my credit card company. When square is not held accountable for who they sell their device to that is a problem! I only see more of this misuse in the future.
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  • Commenter 13 minutes ago
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    Bus, subway or walk would have been less hassle.
    I take cabs here occasionally and sometimes the cabbies ask me how to get to where I am going. Most times I can give directions. One occasion I didn't know and told him to call his dispatcher for directions
    He handed me his GPS and told me to put in the address. Thankfully I spotted the street and told him to turn there. English was not his first language. I was telling another cabbie about him and the guy asked was that cab 61? Guy had a lot of complaints about him and after an accident got fired.
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  • mimi 1 hour ago
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    Had a similar situation when with a local pizza joint. Order 2 pizzas to go, went in and paid my bill with my bank card. 2 days later I looked and a 20.00 bill ended up costing us 80.00. When we contacted the company about it they said well You gave us a 60.00 tip. I lost it. I said since when do you tip on take out and secondly why would I tip 3x more then my bill. Come to find out the waitress that checked us out were doing this to all the patrons that day.
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  • Guziak 1 hour ago
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    Do not use a credit card to pay for cabs in Chicago. I took one to the airport and when I tried to pay by sliding my card through the slot, but the transaction didnt seem to go through. I tried several times with the same result. So the driver, saying that near the airport, the machines didn't always work, offered to fill out a credit card form by hand, promising me he would tear that up if the charge came through on the machine. Of course, the charge came through twice--lucky for me, Amex cancelled one of the charges. Guess you can't rely on Visa to stand by its customers in the same way when they get ripped off...
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  • lovingthedesert 4 minutes ago
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    I started carrying cash for cab rides and tips at restaurants...and now with smart phones, I am more likely to pay cash at restaurants so to avoid them photographing my cards...so much corruption. I noticed in this article, that they mentioned the guy is out of the country...convenient. Had a cab driver (middle eastern) in Seattle (the rudest city) take my husband and I from a hotel to the cruise ship dock...cab driver was the rudest man I have ever met...thought we were going to die getting there (horrible driver) and when we tipped him five bucks, he said "five dollars per suitcase" - I told him if he wanted a bigger tip, maybe he should learn to be nice...and my husband gave him another five dollars...I told my husband we shouldn't have tipped him anything and instead reported him to the cab company. I don't trust anyone anymore after all the corruption and rudeness I have encountered in the past ten years...so sad that we have to endure these lowlifes. I would love to live on about 50 acres away from people and live among nature, my dogs, horses, cows, chickens, etc. One can dream.
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