TAXIS SCAMS BUENOS AIRES
BY A BUENOS AIRES TAXI DRIVER
Allow me to introduce myself. I am John Boyle of BATaxis.com.
Mine is a company that does bilingual transfers to and from Buenos Aires International Airport (EZE). And it is in that capacity that I have heard of the many little scams and tricks used by Buenos Aires cab drivers in order to part tourists from there money.
Many are simple with the amounts trivial some are more crude and aggressive.
Here I will give you a list of common scams, followed by a list of tips to help you avoid falling for them.
NEVER PAY WITH $50S OR $100S
1) The first of the scams come from the fact that the driver is sitting front left of the car and you are in the back. He turns to take your money with his left hand ,he then turns to face the front and you can no longer see the money. If you have given him a $50 or a $100 he can now switch that note for a fake one and claim that you gave it to him. Chances are you will take his fake note and give him another, and the chances are the rest of your change will also be fake.
2) He may give you back a note that has a corner missing just implying that he can’t accept it. You probably won’t even realize that your good note is in his top pocket and you have just accepted his fake and paid him again.
3) That he takes your hundred and starts to look through his wallet in an exasperated manner, he then announces no tengo cambio (I have no Change) If you fumble around and find the right change he give you back a fake 100 or if you don’t have the change he will then shout at you throw you what you think is your hundred and tell you to get out.(Believe me you won’t need Spanish to be able to understand him) You may stroll off down the road thinking that you have just had a free ride. When you try to hand over the $100 pesos bill that you now have in your wallet you will discover this was not the case.
ALWAYS KEEP YOUR SMALL BILLS FOR TAXIS.
A good way to limit your exposure is to pay the driver with small bills as close as is possible to what is on the meter. If you pay him with a 10 a 5 and some twos ,there is no way he can switch the money to pull his scams. Its all about him having easy access to his top pocket and switching the money in the blink of an eye.
Remember if you hand him a twenty he may turn to the front switch your twenty for a ten and turn back and say you only gave him a ten. You know what hes done but what are you going to do about it. The chances are you will hand him another ten as I did and leave furiously.
When handing over money make eye to eye contact and state the amount.
If the driver won’t put the light on while the payment is being made then get out of the car and do it by street light.
TRY NOT TO LOOK LOST PLAN YOU JOURNEY
Most streets in Buenos Aires are one way only for traffic.
So for example if you are in Palermo Soho and wish to take a taxi to the Micro Center (downtown) Don;t stand on Charcas or Honduras or Cordoba and flag a taxi. By doing so you would have automatically told the driver that you don’t have a clue where you are or where your going. And at the very least he is going to choose the slowest route. Paraguay or Santa Fe would be the best bet for heading into town.
Checkout Google Earth Buenos Aires it show all the streets and the direction the traffic flows. A few minutes planning will make you look like a smarter passenger and make the driver think twice.
MAKE SURE THE DRIVER AND THE PICTURE ARE ONE AND THE SAME.
All black and yellow cabs are supposed to be licensed by the council. And each driver must have his picture and council permit on view. If this is not the case say thanks but NO thanks and look for another cab. When you get in have a quick look at the photo and say Hola Goerge Gonzalez or what ever his name is. Now he knows he has a smarter traveler in his car. He is very unlikely to try his silly scams with someone who knows his name.
Q……WHY DO THE DRIVERS DO IT???
A…… BECAUSE THEY THINK NO ONE WILL CALL THE POLICE
The tourist police of Buenos Aires are located on Corrientes 436
Tel 43465748 or 08009995000
They have more than 30 officers that speak English French Italian and even Japanese.
Tourism has become a huge source of income for Argentina and these police officers are there to protect and look after the tourists.
If you don’t call them they can’t help you.
And remember it really is just a small percentage of drivers that are giving Buenos Aires a bad name. The vast majority are normal decent people just making a living.
Yours John Boyle