Sunday, February 27, 2011

Taken for a ride in Vegas

We hate to be scammed when we travel. But we were last night.
And sometimes it happens so fast, that there isn't much you can do about it.
Or is there? 
We will see.

What's real irritating is that I had just sent an article to a friend warning about Las Vegas cab drivers that appeared in the Los Angeles Times this week.  My friend hasn't been here in years and I wanted to make sure it didn't happen to her when she comes here next month. So you can imagined how furious I was when it happened to us. . .two days after the article had appeared.

Our flight from Seattle had been delayed and had been a bit rough, so the charming English-accented taxi driver was a welcome sight. . .we told her we were going to The Jockey Club (a gem of a find, by the way) on The Strip. It is 4 miles from the airport.  So as she mumbled about heavy Saturday night traffic, mumble, sigh, mumble, sigh, she pulled onto the freeway.  Too late. . .we couldn't stop her.

The Strip when we finally reached it was normal traffic, certainly not the mess she had us picturing it was.   We'd traveled nearly 10 miles during which time she told us how bad traffic had gotten in recent years and how much she hated driving in it and had helplessly watched as the meter as it raced to $23 and then she added $1.80 for an airport fee.  The article uses the word kidnap - it is a good word.

As Joel paid the ransom and got the bags, I got the cab number and company phone number.  By now, we were very out of sorts and told the receptionist what had happened.  She shrugged, shook her head and said yes, it was too bad, "but I have heard worse."

That sent me over the top. 
I didn't even unpack bags before I had dialed the cab company (and I have no backbone, so this should tell you how furious I was).  The manager I was referred to apologized profusely and said they try not to have this happen, but they get an occasional 'rogue driver'.  Turns out I wasn't the first one to call about this. . .woman.  Yes, making me even madder was the fact that a fellow female had scammed us.  He said they would investigate my claim and took an address where he could send a refund check.

I'll let you know how it ends, but for now, our new -- and sadly, less friendly approach will be -- "We are going to the blank destination and we do not want to get there by freeway."  I encourage you to read the article - it is right on target.

1 comment:

  1. Every city has them not just Vegas. I got in the habit of immediately talking with the driver about having been in town two or three times in the last month and how much I appreciated those who took a certain route to the hotel where I usually stay. I think that if drivers have any sense you are a newbie that a scam is likely to be tried.


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