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Ripped-off by Santiago taxi.

Scotland
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Ripped-off by Santiago taxi.

Posted as a warning to anyone visiting this lovely city.

Our first night there and very tired we ate in Bella Vista and hailed a street cab for the short journey home to Hotel Orly. Driver was very affable and quickly determined that his two happy, carefree, and 'slightly the worst for drink' passengers were from Scotland. I did notice that the meter seemed to be whirling round at an alarming rate but not being used to the hundreds of Pesos to the GB£ gave it no further thought. The driver stopped not at the hotel but at the intersection adjacent pointing out the one-way street the hotel was on. Fare at this point was about CL$9000. We tendered a CL$10.000 note and this changed suddenly to a CL$1000 note. Confused, we tried another and the same happened. I made a run for the hotel where more money was stored but couldn't find the safe key. On my return the taxi was now on a different corner(???) and the fare now CL$14000. So the smiling driver offered to run us to an ATM which turned out to be several blocks away. (not the one round the corner we discovered the next morning). Back to the hotel where the fare was now $19500. The next $10.000 note miraculously morphed into $1000 before our eyes and I stupidly started doubting the ATM. So we handed over our last $20.000 to pay the fare and even gave him $2000 on top as a tip. Back at the hotel the penny dropped. The sympathetic desk clerk wanted the taxi number to call the police but, of course, we didn't have any of that. We were now nearly $52.000pesos out of pocket. So...thank-you Santiago taxi driver for robbing us rotten and for partly spoiling what was a great time in your lovely city.

As a postscript. As were we sitting waiting for our lift to the airport three days later an American couple appeared just in from the airport. By some confusion they had missed their guide so had been harrassed into taking an offered taxi. The fare to the Orly? CL$55.000. Either our taxi guy works days as well or there are at least two of these thieving sons of ........out there.

BEWARE!!!

Derek.

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Hotel Orly
Hotel Orly
1,754 Reviews
Santiago, Chile
Santiago
Santiago
Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
The Chilean Central...
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for Chile
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1. Re: Ripped-off by Santiago taxi.

Other possible swtcheroos with much less econ impact:

100 peso coin for your 500 peso coin

2000 peso bill (pink) for your red 5000 peso bill

1000 (green) for your blue 10000 peso bill is very brazen. All the planets of doom lined up on this one: tipsy tourists, fixed meter, multiple currency switcheroos, no information about the cab to report (now you know why he avoided being directly in front of the hotel)...

IF YOU EVER "KNOW" THAT YOU ARE ACTIVELY BEING RIPPED OFF BY A SANTIAGO TAXI, EITHER CALL THE CARABINEROS AND WAIT FOR THEM INSIDE THE TAXI OR DEMAND THE TAXI DRIVER CALL THE CARABINEROS. If you are short on time and really don't want to hassle with a report, this should immediately change the scam and the cab driver will correct his behavior and may even end up not charging you anything for the fare so he can make his getaway.

Regarding airport taxis: I really cannot count the number of times we have stressed to ONLY USE official taxis, TransVIP or Tur shared van or particular service, and Tur or Centropuerto airport bus services and to IGNORE the sharks.

Edited: 25 February 2012, 14:04
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Santiago
Santiago
Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
Transvip
Transvip
406 Reviews
Santiago, Chile
ON, Canada
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2. Re: Ripped-off by Santiago taxi.

Hi Derek:

Sorry to hear about your expensive misfortune, which is a common occurrence in many tourist destinations around the world. The taxi driver was unscrupulous (to say the least) but I wouldn't place all the blame on him as you made the theft ridiculously easy for him. We've had a few expensive 'lessons' on our vacations ... on the positive side, it does make you a little wiser and inclined to do more research to become a more savvy traveller.

Glad that you otherwise had a great time!

Brisbane, Australia
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42 posts
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3. Re: Ripped-off by Santiago taxi.

We will be arriving in Valparaiso by bus from Mendoza and after spending a few days there, taking a bus on to Santiago.

In each case we will need to take a taxi to our accommodation. Does anyone have any advice on how to avoid being caught by rogue taxi drivers who, I am sure, would find bus terminals a very easy place to pick up unsuspecting tourists.

If using taxis for general movement around Valparaiso and Santiago (to sights and to and from restaurants etc) are there ways to identify taxis from legitimate companies?

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Valparaiso
Valparaiso
Valparaiso Region, Chile
Mendoza
Mendoza
Province of Mendoza, Argentina
Santiago
Santiago
Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
Santiago, Chile
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4. Re: Ripped-off by Santiago taxi.

All taxis must have a meter. Most taxis are black and yellow. Unfortunately, there are official taxis, often newer vehicles, which are not painted in these colours. But stick to black and yellow and you should have no problem.

Brisbane, Australia
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5. Re: Ripped-off by Santiago taxi.

Thanks Toid

Dallas, Texas
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460 posts
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6. Re: Ripped-off by Santiago taxi.

OK, I'm a little confused ... how did the $10.000 peso note "morp" into a $1.000 peso note?

I only used two taxis in Santiago, and besides the fact that I realized that my hotel clerk got a kick-back from the driver (which doesn't really bother me), I had no problems, and I'm kind of thinking back to when and how this "morphing" process could have taken place?

WQst

http://youtu.be/zC4WHni_B8Y

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Santiago
Santiago
Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
ON, Canada
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7. Re: Ripped-off by Santiago taxi.

It's a quick change ... the taxi driver has alternative notes ready (in his pocket or up a sleeve) and like magic, the 10000 becomes 1000. Sometimes the driver will drop the 10000 on the floor near his feet and pick it up ... when it suddenly becomes 1000. This is a common trick in Rome ... and I imagine quite a number of other cities worldwide.

When we hand money over to a taxi driver we say the amount (if we can communicate in a language that he understands) and if not, we hold the bills up and point to the numbers on them before handing them over.

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8. Re: Ripped-off by Santiago taxi.

How maddening! As I was finishing reading the last post by Susan, instantly I thought of doing what she suggested; tell the driver the amount of the bill before you hand it over. I am sorry that this whole ordeal happened to you and thank you for letting us know so that we can avoid a similar situation.

Newbury, United...
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9. Re: Ripped-off by Santiago taxi.

Also watch out in banks if they offer an amount of money already folded.

They count it out folded to the required amount and pass it over. Only when you get outside and count it unfolded ten turns into nine. Too late, you can't go back and complain.

Only happenned once, but once was enough for it not to happen again.

10. Re: Ripped-off by Santiago taxi.

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