Becky Siegel charged $787.33 for 2 mile cab ride

A 20-year-old college student says she was charged $787.33 for a 2-mile taxi ride to a restaurant in downtown Chicago.

According to Yahoo News, Becky Siegel, a college student from Winnetka, Illinois, hopped into a cab for the 2-mile trip to meet friends at the Sweetwater Tavern and Grille. But instead of charging her a couple of dollars, the cab driver charged her $787.33.

Siegel said when she arrived at her destination she asked the cab driver if she could use her credit card to pay for the fare. Becky’s mother Susan Siegel discovered the abnormal charge while reviewing Becky’s credit card statements.

“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 device and app allows anyone with a Smartphone to charge for services or goods. The problem is the device is not approved for cab drivers to charge fares. Becky says she handed the driver her credit card, told him to add a $2 tip, and signed the app. “I guess I didn’t pay attention or I didn’t look,” Becky told the Chicago Tribune. “I just signed my name with my finger and I left.”

Susan Siegel contacted Visa customer service to dispute the charge, but because Becky had signed off on the transaction, the company refused to refund the charge.

The cab driver, Ali Ghazanfari, stood behind the nearly $800 charge — until the Siegels reached out to the Chicago Tribune for help.

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.”

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.” Source