MONEY MORAL DILEMMA. Should you pay the cabbie?

Here's this week's hypothetical situation for you to cogitate on:

You jump into a cab at a red light, and, so he doesn't hold up traffic, the driver speeds away. You know the journey usually costs about £20 but halfway there, you realise he hasn't put the meter on. Would you argue it's his fault, and just pay meter price or just stump up the full cash?
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  • I'd pay the full £20 - he will still have provided the same service so why not pay the full price?

    If it was the other way round - if you went into a shop and handed over £20 without noticing for a £10 item and walked away before the assistant had given you your change, you'd think it was wrong if they didn't run after you with your money, surely?

    An innocent mistake that hurts no-one shouldn't carry a financial penalty, whether it's the buyer or seller who has made the mistake!
  • scotsbob
    scotsbob Posts: 4,632 Forumite
    edited 29 September 2009 at 8:02PM
    Pay the full price because I had the full journey.


    .
  • Easiest one yet, Martin. Pay the normal £20 - after all, you've had £20 of service. Better still, when you notice the meter isn't on, mention to the cabbie that he's not put the meter on and let him know you're already aware it's normally £20. No hassles all round.
  • corbyboy
    corbyboy Posts: 1,169
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    I don't know all the ins and outs of it but isn't there a legal viewpoint on this?

    Surely just because he forgot to put the meter on doesn't mean you are entitled to a discounted journey. Does it?
  • DebtHater
    DebtHater Posts: 1,053 Forumite
    As a cabbie myself, if I forgot to put my meter on I would mention it to the customer and say "its usually £xx amount" (as we all know what the rough fare will be anyway) and if they make a fuss then I would just put the meter on when I noticed it wasnt on.

    9/10 you get really nice customers who would give the full fare + tip, its only the odd one that you get that would make a fuss if you charged the full amount even though you forgot to put the meter on.


    And besides, we dont forget to put the meter on anyway. Its habit :)
  • Pay the full amount
    Be nice, life is too short to be anything else.
  • corbyboy wrote: »
    I don't know all the ins and outs of it but isn't there a legal viewpoint on this?

    Surely just because he forgot to put the meter on doesn't mean you are entitled to a discounted journey. Does it?


    There is a legal viewpoint...a hackney carriage must set the meter and can only charge a passenger the metered fare. Failing to set a meter or attempting to charge more than the metered fare is a criminal offence. Even if you agree a fare with the driver in advance (say £10 from A to B) the driver still needs to set the meter. If the fare on the meter when you get to point B is £12 he can only charge you the agreed £10. If the meter says £7 when you get to point B he can only ask for £7.

    I'm sure some drivers make an 'honest mistake' when they don't set their meters on the odd occaision but the law is there to protect passengers from those that would take advantage of the situation.

    I would mention to the driver that the meter isn't set, ask him to set it and then pay what the meter reads at the end of the journey. If he lost a pound or two because there was a delay in setting the meter then it's his loss and maybe he'll remember his legal obligations next time....but maybe that's just me since I work in enforcement!
    Common sense?...There's nothing common about sense!
  • If I was confident and aware of what the full price was meant to be I hope I'd pay it but I must confess I have an innate scepticism about cabbies and I would probably (unfairly or not) be suspicious that it was a scam.

    I get cabs for work from all across the country and at times they can be a bit dubious - such as mentioning at the end of the journey that it's a different boundary and will cost extra. And - I must admit, because it's expensed and I'm often in a hurry I don't argue but I am left with this niggling feeling that it's not really above board.
  • No contest: pay the £20. Legal obligations aside, it's the right thing to do.
  • There is a legal viewpoint...a hackney carriage must set the meter and can only charge a passenger the metered fare. Failing to set a meter or attempting to charge more than the metered fare is a criminal offence. Even if you agree a fare with the driver in advance (say £10 from A to B) the driver still needs to set the meter. If the fare on the meter when you get to point B is £12 he can only charge you the agreed £10. If the meter says £7 when you get to point B he can only ask for £7.

    I'm sure some drivers make an 'honest mistake' when they don't set their meters on the odd occaision but the law is there to protect passengers from those that would take advantage of the situation.

    I would mention to the driver that the meter isn't set, ask him to set it and then pay what the meter reads at the end of the journey. If he lost a pound or two because there was a delay in setting the meter then it's his loss and maybe he'll remember his legal obligations next time....but maybe that's just me since I work in enforcement!


    I think the question relates to a journey you would make often so even in Hackney in London you would know if they were trying to rip you off. I'd pay full. Alienating taxi firms is not usually a good idea!
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