Scamwatch: holiday taxi scams

Tourists are often targeted by dodgy taxi drivers...

Updated: 
Taxi sign and reflections at night

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles on the scams they use to trick you out of your hard-earned cash.

This week, the tricks taxi drivers use to con you into paying over the odds - particularly when you are visiting a foreign country.

How does it work?

More than a third of British tourists are taken in by taxi drivers who overcharge for journeys while they are on holiday, according to a recent survey.

Common taxi scams include fake extra charges, for example for luggage or air conditioning, failing to zero the meter at the start of your trip, charging the wrong meter rate, switching notes to lower value ones to confuse you into paying more, and giving change in counterfeit notes.

Taxi drivers who recognise you do not know where you are going may also take the scenic route to increase their fare, while some may even claim that the hotel or sightseeing destination you want to go to is closed and insist on taking you somewhere else.

How can I avoid being caught out?

Doing a bit of research can help you to avoid being taken in by dodgy taxi drivers.

If, for example, you are taking a taxi from the airport into town, it is a good idea to find out the approximate fare for the journey online, or to book and pay online in advance through a reputable company.

Other tips include only taking licensed taxis, familiarising yourself with the local currency, getting hold of lower denomination notes if possible, and making a note of the registration number if you have any doubts.

If the taxi has no meter, it also makes sense to discuss the fare before setting off.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?

If you feel you have been ripped off by a taxi firm, and you have some supporting evidence such as a receipt or the taxi registration number is to inform your hotel or hostel manager.

If the taxi company is reputable, the hotel may be able to secure you a refund of the excess charges.

You should also report taxi drivers handing out counterfeit notes to the local police.

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