As you may know, the average cost of most goods and services goes up when some portion of them are stolen or misappropriated. For example, if a retail store has 1% of it’s products taken illegally, then they have to raise the price of the rest of the goods to make up for not only the loss, but all of the steps that have to be taken to protect against recurring shoplifting.
One example of fraudulent retail activity for you to consider, maybe a tad far-fetched in this instance, would be if you called three pizza places for delivery and then only paid for the first pizza that showed up and refused the rest. Pretty outlandish, yes?
However, local taxi businesses are currently experiencing fraud not much different from that pizza delivery example. In our experience, our company can have as much as 50% of our weekend night calls turn into “Ghost Runs” (see previous posts), especially around the time that most bars close. People will call multiple cab companies and then take the first taxi that shows up, regardless of the verbal contract they established with us when they made their reservations. Passengers can also be tricked into getting into the wrong taxi by unscrupulous taxi drivers that are only out to make as much money as they can, with no regard to ethics (and sometimes morals).
However it happens, when a taxi driver expends time and money to travel to a scheduled pick up location and there is no one there, that taxi company and driver just had money stolen from them. In addition, their dispatcher may have had to turn away other legitimate passengers while that driver was on their way to being defrauded.
Any taxi company has a couple of options to combat this type of fraud. First, they can raise their prices to make up for the theft. With this option it is harder to determine what the price increase should be, since one night they may have no Ghost Runs and the next they may have ten. Another option is to require a commitment on the part of passengers when they reserve a taxi for their use so they take ownership of their decisions. This option takes the form of a deposit or cancellation fee. Even Uber, the criminal enterprise (as named in a recent lawsuit), has an automatic cancellation fee that is charged to their credit card if a passenger doesn’t fulfill their side of the reservation contract.
Able Taxi and Tours LLC is now going for the second option. Starting immediately, when someone calls to reserve a taxi ride, our dispatcher will ask for credit or debit card information and will charge a non-refundable deposit in the amount of $5 for regular fares and $15 for event fares. Once the taxi ride is over, the passenger will only have to pay for the mileage they used, because our pick up fee will have already been taken care of.
In times of heavy call volume, like after a Packers Game, if you are on our waiting list we will not require a deposit. Credit or debit card information will only be requested when a taxi is ready to be directly dispatched to that passenger. This extra step will slow down our dispatch team, but hopefully it will solve the problem of defrauding our taxi company. All credit or debit card information will be rendered unusable after the deposit transaction is approved by our processor.
As Able Taxi completes another calendar year in business, we are striving to learn and grow in our industry. We thank you for using our services and we look forward to growing much more in 2015. Remember to call/text us at (920) 265-7760 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your New Years Eve travel as early as possible. It’s going to be a busy night.
ABLE TAXI… WHAT A BRIGHT IDEA!