Bank Of America Credit Card Dispute Fails To Protect Customers From $10,000 Taxi Scam

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary, just noticed you are based in the central time zone but the comments are time stamped in the eastern time zone.
    How odd…..

  2. GHA isn’t giving away real money.
    It’s not real if you have to spend it with them…..

  3. Yeah, can someone summarize the Taxi story for what I assume is the vast majority of readers here? Thanks!

  4. Regarding the overcharged taxi ride. Same thing happened to me in Uruguay. Upon arriving, I didn’t know the exchange rate and what should have been about a very short $10 ride came to about $400 on my Amex. There was nothing to sign, just a quick swipe of my card and that was it. It could have been added to the meter before or after I handed over the card, but shame on me for not checking the meter and exchange rate. I disputed the charge, and Amex refunded the entire amount. On the other hand, at LAX, a cab driver quoted me $20 for a short ride, and I handed over my card. Even though the cab had credit card stickers on the windows, the driver wouldn’t take the card & told me I should have told him I was charging the ride. I glanced at the meter and noticed that he hadn’t turned it on. Luckily, I had just $20 in my wallet. Driver was aggressively angry about not getting a tip. Bottom line, cabs like these are great advertisements for Uber and Lyft. When you pay on the app, there’s less opportunity for a scam (except perhaps surge pricing). Unfortunately, at some international airports, they have been banned – probably to protect the cabs.

  5. David Neeleman has done more for the aviation consumer than any man alive. An absolutely heroic individual who should give the xenophobes hell and hire the best pilots available wherever they are found . . . I would be exceptionally anxious to get out of Australia myself at the moment and wish these Australian refugee pilots good luck.

  6. @controller1 – what story? the skift link? you get a certain # of free stories, or open in an incognito browser window..? not sure i follow your complaint.

  7. @ Gary. I always browse in an incognito browser and tried to open the story and it was still behind a paywall (the taxi story). Also getting a certain amount of free options wasn’t an option. When you open it, the 6 month at 99c ad pops up. I didn’t see a way to view the article without a subscription.

  8. Why anyone would have anything to do with Bank of America or Wells Fargo is beyond me. They are constantly paying fines and being sued. STAY AWAY.

  9. Drop the URL into printfriendly and you can read stories on a lot of blocked site, including certain, but not all, national papers.

    The small claims limit in California is $10,000. I suggest she take the cab driver to court – no need to hire a lawyer. She’ll probably win quite easily. (BofA probably has an arbitration clause, so that would be more difficult to get around.) Collecting might be more difficult, but she could make the cabbies life a living hell by garnishing his wages with a judgment.

    Strange thing about credit card disputes is, I always seem to be on the losing side – if I’m the vendor, the buyer always wins. If I’m the buyer, the vendor always wins. Somethings not right with that.

  10. @AZTravelGuy. NOW this is getting interesting. How do I disable Javascript for a specific site in Chrome (or MS Edge).

  11. For those of you who cannot get past the SF Paywall a Summary:-

    Reader took a short cab ride – cost was $9.87 with tip and wanted to pay by credit card – cab driver said the cabs POS/meter was ‘broken’ – and offered his PayPal Account/reader – which is apparently Legit in SF. Cab Driver left off decimal point so lady got charged $9875, which she didn’t realize until days later as she didn’t get a receipt

    Disputed the charge – BofA said the driver provided a signed receipt so pound sand you owe us $10K. Yellow Cab showed it it was only a short ride, as did google maps tracking and cab authority. Yellow cab said driver was a independent contractor who no longer worked for them and they couldn’t get hold of him, neither could Cab Authority.

    BofA “We don’t care, merchant provided a Signed Receipt ,Pay Up $10K or else”

    SF Chronicle gets involved – all of a sudden BofA decide to refund the money, Reader questions if they would have done that if it hadn’t been for the Chronicle as she had be fighting it for 3 months.

  12. This story reflects very poorly on Bank of America. The bad press will cost a lot more than the effort required to fix this outrageous scam.

    If you were stopped by the firewall here is what I could pull from the front page:

    —start of story

    One evening this past September, Margarita Bekker and husband Chris Schlesinger hopped into a San Francisco taxi. Their 1.1-mile Yellow Cab ride to a rooftop birthday dinner took 11 minutes. Bekker paid via credit card using the driver’s PayPal terminal after the cab’s built-in device couldn’t read her card. The meter showed a $7.90 fare and she added a 25% tip for a total of $9.87. The driver said she’d be emailed a receipt, which never happened.

    A few days later, her credit card bill arrived. She was astounded to see that she’d been charged a whopping $9,875 for that short trip — 1,000 times more than it actually cost.

    It seemed like an obvious mistake: that the driver must have entered extra digits, either accidentally or deliberately. She called Bank of America, her credit card issuer, to report fraud. Eventually the bank said it wasn’t fraud since she had proffered her credit card herself, and she must file a billing dispute, which she did.

    “After reviewing the documentation, we found that the amount you were billed was calculated correctly,” the bank said in a letter reviewed by The Chronicle. In other words, she was on the hook for $9,875.

    For Bekker, 51, a Russian immigrant who does medical interpreting at a local hospital, $10,000 is the equivalent of three months of rent and utilities for her Redwood City house.

    —–end of story

    I certainly agree with other posters here that Uber / Lyft is the safer bet. and maybe other credit card issuers should get your business.

  13. @Gary – The taxi story. If it’s behind a paywall why don’t you give a write-up so that we can understand the story? Otherwise I’ve wasted my time clicking on the story and now I’ve wasted more time replying. Just stop using stories behind paywalls.

  14. Thanks @David F and @Pete for giving us a summary. @Gary perhaps you should put them on your payroll.

  15. I suggest you not link to articles that require a subscription to read. ie: A taxi drive charged $10,000 for a one mile ride, and Bank of America wouldn’t help in the credit card dispute

  16. That was some great CGI for the Chuck Norris commercial. The Van Dam one was better though because it was actually him.

    I got the paywall on the BOA story as well.

  17. I dont know why but I see no paywall on the taxi story: I use Brave Browser on an Android phone.

  18. Lol… complaints about paywalls.

    “A paywall? Oh no, I hate paying for things, it should be free to everyone”


  19. But you don’t understand the game – we just like defeating the paywalls of capitalist organizations that constantly call for socialism. Like the NYT. The WSJ, that we pay for.

  20. Interesting, I didn’t have a paywall reading the article in Spain. Just the usual nonsense about cookies.

    I love the hacks in the comments! Glad they didn’t have to pay; I would have liked to know the cab number and driver’s name on the off-chance I’m unfortunate enough to need a taxi in San Francisco.

  21. Why would any US pilot want to to work for Breeze? Lower pay scale throughout and less established. May as well go to all other better established carriers with better pay and chance of promotability.

    The visa program may work for the short term for Breeze, but in the long term, once the Australia market is back up and running paying better than Breeze, those pilots will go back. Then again, they may also, once in the US, look for better opportunities once their contracts are up.

  22. I have been a BofA customer since 1972, opened my accounts right at SFMO. But BofA doesn’t play ball in the big leagues, they’re just a little too relaxed about Customer Service. I have no actual proof of that, having had few problems all these years with checking and savings. Reluctantly, I got their new Rewards Visa when it came out because a) it was a good deal and b) I wanted to give BofA a try after all these years of AmEx and Chase. I knew in my heart that it would be a cumbersome mess to actually use any of those bonus points and I was right. Searching for a hotel to book with the points took forever on a very unfriendly website and I never did spend the points. I’ll go back one of these days and do something with them before they disappear. So their not backing their customer over something so plainly obvious as a $10K charge for a taxi ride doesn’t surprise me. This was an issue that a 3rd grader could understand and still BofA couldn’t figure it out. In many areas of life, I try to always think ahead to what kind of assistance I’ll get in case there’s a problem … it’s very sad to think of all the people who have faith in BofA who will have long-running issues over obviously simple scenarios. AmEx CS is marginal, but I’m very happy with the Chase Reserve.

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