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Addison Lee - Trading under wholly false pretences - AVOID

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Addison Lee - Trading under wholly false pretences - AVOID

Mindful of the impending tube strike, we had booked a car to take my elderly mother-in-law to the London Clinic for an important operation this morning. The car booked for an 8am sharp set-off and so was requested to be there ten minutes earlier. At 08:54 I telephoned to enquire as to the car’s whereabouts and was informed that they had yet to even allocate a driver!! At 08:00 I was put through to someone so that I could make a complaint. The woman I spoke to was unapologetic, unsympathetic and totally unable to give me any indication whatsoever as to when we could expect an allocation of a driver, other than to inform me that there was a tube strike and it might be up to an hour or more. Great!

The whole point of making a "BOOKING" for a car well in advance – two days in our case - of a known event (like this tube strike) is to ensure that we had the job booked and a car reserved for this critical journey. We bothered to check with them yesterday to confirm and be reassured that, notwithstanding the tube strike, we would definitely have a car there on time. My wife spoke to their customer services personnel and said that if there was any possible doubt, that we would make alternative arrangements. No, we were categorically assured that the car would be with us by our specified time (8am) and that they would ring us 10 minutes beforehand to confirm the driver’s details. These assurances were wholly fictitious.

In the event, I rang at 08:54 to find out that a car had not in fact even been assigned to this booking and that they had been busy taking on and fulfilling other customers' subsequent bookings - despite our booking having been made well before these others.

This behaviour is a total disgrace, dishonest, disreputable, and, in these specific circumstances that were so fully disclosed to them, utterly shameful and callous. They KNEW the importance and nature of this journey and they gave us every reassurance that the booking had been fully accepted and that the car would be there on time. They lied. They hadn't allocated a driver at all, at any point, in advance of our scheduled set-off time.

Worse, they took our booking based on a total deception and gave us no warning whatsoever that they would not in fact allocate a driver to the job, thereby denying us any reasonable notice or ability to make alternative arrangements so as to get an elderly lady - who was apprehensive and under enough stress as it was - to hospital in time for her operation. In the end - having cancelled the job - I received a text at 08:38 to say the driver had arrived and gave me his mobile telephone number and vehicle Reg No. I called him to say that - although it clearly wasn't his fault - we had made other arrangements and that I had cancelled the job and my account earlier. He was polite, said he fully understood and was sorry for our hassle. At 09:20, I received a telephone call to say that my driver was waiting outside for me. This was a barefaced lie. I informed the chap that I had personal spoken to the driver 40 minutes earlier and that he knew the job had been cancelled.

On their website, they boast that account customers are afforded “guaranteed cars even during the busiest periods” and “priority status at all times”. These are wholly false statements – pure and simple – and should be removed from their website forthwith as they are trading upon false pretences. They should also, at the very least, impose ethical systems and controls such that they warn people when booking in advance that they will not in fact allocate a driver to the booking at that time and that, indeed, they do not guarantee to do so necessarily at any time in advance of the required time of pick up – however much time in advance of such the booking is made.

These business practices are shameful, unethical and downright dishonest and should be brought to the attention of a trusting public through as much media coverage as possible. They are not worthy of anyone's trust and should not be trusted at all where an advance "BOOKING" is required. This is a matter of public interest and since, as they confirmed to me this morning, that they are neither regulated nor accountable, I feel obligated to try and see that the “reality” of their business practices gain maximum public awareness. In circumstances, like ours, where someone has to get to a hospital for an operation, it is essential that the public are not misled in this way. It is unethical and dangerous.

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1. Re: Addison Lee - Trading under wholly false pretences - AVOID

All private hire vehicles in London have to be licensed by TFL to be able to operatie in London. I don't know what powers TFL have got or what action they can take but he link below takes you through to the TFL page where you can make a complaint to TFL.

https:/…default.aspx

Edited: 05 February 2014, 12:35
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2. Re: Addison Lee - Trading under wholly false pretences - AVOID

Considering the poor standard of driving from this company I'd say you had a lucky escape.

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3. Re: Addison Lee - Trading under wholly false pretences - AVOID

Tbh I wouldn't bother with that TfL link.

Reported a taxi driver (black cab) using that and a PCO form and neither have got back to me regarding my complaint in 6 weeks.

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4. Re: Addison Lee - Trading under wholly false pretences - AVOID

See my recent post on Cheap Airport Transfer thread in a very similar vein. (Sorry, problem with links from tablet)

Not as serious as your case , though we did have someone who had had a bad angina attack- which was why we needed the car.

Appalling service and extortionate rates

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5. Re: Addison Lee - Trading under wholly false pretences - AVOID

Mickey,

I understand why you're quite reasonably upset, but it isn't necessarily an Addison Lee problem, more a 'how some taxi companies operate' - at least in my experience.

For the record, I've used AL once and whilst the booking went smoothly, I wasn't that impressed with the driver (both attitude and his driving ability).

What I've found over the years when booking cabs either on a tube strike day or not, is cab companies regularly DON'T allocate a job until 10 minutes before its required, despite it being booked hours or days in advance. I've asked various control staff 'why' and I've never really been given a good explanation. Lousy as you found out. And, yes - I've been given the "they'll be there in 10 minutes spiel", as well. This has been with the likes of Dial-a-Cab, Radio Taxis and other black cab firms.

Another one I found with my local minicab firm was when I tried to make a booking for a tube strike day, I was told they prioritized account bookings over individuals. When I asked if I, as an individual, could open an account, I was told 'no'. Catch 22.

Sorry to hear about your experience.

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6. Re: Addison Lee - Trading under wholly false pretences - AVOID

DavidE, your complaint would have been filed with the driver possibly receiving a letter or even an interview depending on how serious the complaint against him was. Just out of interest, what was your complaint.

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7. Re: Addison Lee - Trading under wholly false pretences - AVOID

Pulled over and refused the fare.

It was late as I'd been working late. Was after midnight (tubes had stopped) and I was waiting for a bus on London Bridge for ages but not came so I hailed a cab. He pulled over, lowered the window, asked "where to?" so I replied "Wood Green". He said "too far" and drove off!

Took down his cab number and reported him via both TfL and PCO.

As for 'too far', Wood Green is about 6 miles so well within the 20 mile limit outside of which hailed black cabs may refuse a fare.

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8. Re: Addison Lee - Trading under wholly false pretences - AVOID

It's 12 miles but yes he was in the wrong and you were right to complain, they are normally serial offenders that are looking for jobs to take them home.

Edited: 05 February 2014, 15:16
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9. Re: Addison Lee - Trading under wholly false pretences - AVOID

Whoops, 12 miles, my mistake (no sure where I got 20 form?!).

Regardless, I got a bus home 5 or so minutes later so no harm done and no loss suffered. It's more the subsequent lack of response that's frustrating!

Remember reading a story (feeling the driver had been very hard done by) where he got prosecuted for not taking a fare of two girls who wanted to be driven the wrong way down a wrong way street (basically). He said it's a 1 minute walk, you can see the venue from here, but it'll cost £8+ by the time I loop round all the one-way systems through the traffic. They managed to prosecute him somehow for refusing the fare.

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10. Re: Addison Lee - Trading under wholly false pretences - AVOID

Sounded like he was unlucky, when you say prosecuted? It was more likely a letter or a quiet word. As I said, there are serial offenders out there and if more poeple reported them, TFL would be able to weed them out and give them a serious warning.