A Scottish tourist in New Zealand was left shocked when he unwittingly paid £480 for a five-minute taxi ride.
John Barrett was holidaying in Wellington with his wife Susan when they caught a cab to his apartment from the train station on January 21, stuff.co.nz reported.
The journey, shorter than one kilometre, took just a matter of minutes but when Mr Barrett’s card was rejected the following day, he soon realised he’d paid well over the odds for the short trip.
“There was nothing at the time that made us think anything was wrong,” Mr Barrett said.
After contacting the local council, the matter was elevated with the NZ Transport Agency.
Yet the tourist was left out of the loop for several days as he waited to see if he’d ever get his NZ$930 back.
Taxi Federation Executive Director John Hart told stuff.co.nz overcharging was becoming a common occurrence in the city and passengers needed to remain vigilant.
Mr Barrett said the vehicle was operating with a Wellington Cabs light, however this name is not in operation under any company.
With just days left until he returned to the UK, Mr Barrett was finally contacted by the Transport Agency who had identified a driver responsible.
The driver claims to have made an honest mistake with a misplaced decimal point on a $9.30 fare.
The driver was an independent driver who had leased an Eftpos terminal from local taxi firm Wellington Taxis.
The company managed to identify the driver responsible after searching through all Eftpos transactions last week.
“Mr Barrett has been very lucky to get his money back in this case,” Mr Hart said.
A NZ Transport Agency spokesperson told Yahoo it was vital passengers were aware of who was driving their cab.
“If the passenger has any concerns they should note the name on the displayed identification card, and/or the vehicle’s registration number. This will assist in any follow-up enquiries,” they said.
“An individual’s fit and proper status can be reviewed if a driver is shown to have not complied with the legal requirements, for example, deliberately claiming more than an agreed fare.
“We urge people to contact us with any serious concerns relating to a passenger service provider.”