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$787.33 for a 2-mile cab ride: Woman in hurry signs Visa thinking it was $12

A two-mile cab ride cost $787.33 for a college student in a hurry!
A two-mile cab ride cost $787.33 for a college student in a hurry!
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A woman who was charged $787.33 for a two-mile ride in a cab found that she had no recourse after signing for the credit card transaction that she had offered up as payment. Becky Siegel was in a hurry and when the cab driver told her she owed just under $10, she trusted that this is what he charged her credit card for the ride, but she was sadly mistaken.

Siegel, who is a college student from Winnetka, Illinois, was running late to meet her friends when the cab dropped her off at a restaurant, according to Yahoo News on March 19. The cab driver said that the cab’s credit card unit was broken, but she could use his Square. The Square is a device that works very much like a credit card machine, but it is done through your own personal mobile device. The money would go to the cabby’s account, not the cab company’s account.

You sign this just as you would a credit card transaction and being late, she never checked the amount that the cab driver put in for the transaction, she just signed the screen. It wasn’t until her mom got the bill that they realized something was very wrong here. Susan Siegel, Becky’s mom called Visa to explain how her daughter had been overcharged for a two-mile cab ride.

There was nothing Visa could do because Becky signed the transaction. The cab driver was contacted by Siegel but he appeared to ignore the request for a refund. It wasn’t until a local newspaper got on the case and exposed this cab drivers rip-off that things started falling into place.

Chicago Tribune’s “What’s Your Problem?” contacted the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. The cab driver Ali Ghazanfari, then had a different tune to sing. He said that he contacted Square and Visa but because they only had the last four digits of her credit card account they were unable to refund the money.

After much ado, the money was finally refunded to the Siegel’s in a form of a check, which was promised by Square. This ordeal caused Ghazanfari’s public chauffeur license to be suspended during their investigation. Ghazanfari cooperated with the Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, but he was out of the country at the time.

One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make is to use the Square instead of the credit card machines that are mounted in the cabs, reports Mika Stambaugh from the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. The other mistake made here was that Becky let the credit card leave her hand. Stambaugh said that this is another thing you shouldn’t do when paying for a cab ride. It goes without saying that Becky knows now it is best to check what she is being charged before putting her signature to the credit card charge.

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