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  • bern
  • Veteran

    • 201

    • November 09, 2010, 12:48:34 pm
    • korea
Taxi Scam
« on: January 14, 2011, 12:32:10 pm »
Hey,

Just a quick heads up. If you get in a taxi with blue lights in the back seat (or any cab) be super careful when paying, if you want change. Notes all look the same under the blue light and we had a cab driver quickly switch our 10,000 and tell us we only gave him 1000, which we definitely didn't!

Don't get caught out, the worst part is they then ask you for more money to make up the difference so you end up paying more!!

This happens all over the world, I just wasn't expecting it in Korea so my guard was fully down.

It happened to us in Ansan, but my co-teacher assures me it's happening to Koreans as well so at least they're equal opportunities crooks.
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Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2011, 12:45:10 pm »
i've paid more for a tricycle to drive me a couple of blocks through smoggy streets in laos than i have for an air conditioned cab across an entire city in korea.  in general, i think koreans cabs are awesome.

but, maybe a month ago i took a cab in daegu after a night out drinking and the cabby said that i'd given him the wrong bill.  this was a complete shock for me because i only keep 10,000 won notes in my wallet, and everything else in my pocket.  he seemed super nervous, which is something cabbies rarely are here. usually theyre pissed off, if anything.  and yes, the light was blue.  i didnt think anything of it until now.

but i'm sure they any relatively intelligent cabbie would only try this on someone they thought they could fool, i.e. a drunk person.

when you hand over the cash, just hold on to it when they try to grab it, and look at the bill again.  that should be enough to let them know you're alert


Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2011, 09:00:05 am »
The same thing happened to me in Busan. My friend and I were out really late but we hadn't been drinking. The cab driver, thinking we were drunk, did the pocket-and-switch and then adamantly insisted that I'd given him a 1,000, even when we asked some English-speaking Koreans to intervene. I ended up paying again, as there's really nothing you can do to contradict them after it's happened. I'd say that if you're in a taxi with a blue light out late, carefully watch your 10,000 bill to prevent the switch from happening to begin with.


  • Koreak
  • Super Waygook

    • 405

    • November 13, 2010, 08:15:43 am
    • South Korea
Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2011, 09:35:02 am »
This might be a way to prevent this from happening and a good way to learn your numbers.

When you pay the taxi driver.  Make sure to use the phrase   (amount of money) 원 있어요 [(amount of money) won isseoyo] as you hand the driver the money. and don't let go of the money unless the driver acknowledges how much you gave him.



  • MAA
  • Adventurer

    • 34

    • December 15, 2009, 10:39:51 am
Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2011, 09:41:13 am »
Thanks so much for posting. I will be sure to pass this info along.


  • travelinpantsgirl
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 2045

    • September 09, 2010, 06:00:18 pm
    • Seoul
    more
Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2011, 07:48:42 am »
I feel like the answer to this is to only use your T-money or credit card. The few times I have used a cab, I have never, ever paid with cash and have never had a problem.
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.


  • k.l.
  • Veteran

    • 187

    • September 09, 2010, 02:34:53 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2011, 07:57:47 am »
No offense to the OP, but that is a pretty bright idea in the first place :P. The taxi driver's taking advantage with blue light. I'm sure it is not just not targeted at foreigners either. Installing a blue light can not be that cheap and probably tries to hit up every possible drunken passenger possible.

Maybe preparing ahead? Only carry 5,000s for your taxi money and keep it somewhere for taxi only money? When I do that, I keep reminding myself all night where it is.


  • Koenji
  • Super Waygook

    • 286

    • December 03, 2010, 02:43:17 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2011, 08:12:25 am »
I feel like the answer to this is to only use your T-money or credit card. The few times I have used a cab, I have never, ever paid with cash and have never had a problem.

That's what i do also....just top up your T-Money card before a night out just incase.


Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2011, 08:37:57 am »
Paying w/T-money or a credit seems like a good idea but then again, I had a friend who tried to pay w/a credit card and the taxi driver swiped it and then said it wasn't working and so she happened to have some won on her and used that instead. Later she found out that the credit card did go through and so she paid double! Wtf?!??! Slight chance it could've been a mistake but most likely not. I'm not exactly sure the final outcome but she had a lot of disputing to do w/her co-teacher. But just be careful regardless.


  • dsob
  • Veteran

    • 148

    • February 23, 2011, 06:25:17 pm
    • Pusan
Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2011, 08:50:57 am »
Give them a 1000, maybe they'll give you 10k back
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Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2011, 09:00:53 am »
It sucks that some people feel that they have to take advantage of others for whatever reason.  I was in Seoul one weekend about 7 months ago and I knew exactly where I needed to get to... I told the taxi driver where we were going, he said OK but just to be sure I even showed him our bus tickets because I know that sometimes they don't understand us.  A trip that should have cost no more than 5,000 won ended up costing 30,000 won.  I would have only given him the 5,000, but I was with some really nice people and they paid the full amount.  We ended up missing our bus because of his stupidity.  >:(


  • pzondi
  • Waygookin

    • 13

    • March 10, 2011, 03:08:11 pm
    • Korea
Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2011, 09:12:23 am »
When we were in Seoul for the first time, a trip from Hongdae to our hostel cost us 16 000 won, which we gladly excepted since we did not know our way around anyway.

The second night we went to Hongdae again but this time the ride only cost us 8000 won.

Unfortunately there is very little you can do about that.Sometimes partying it up until the first subway is not such a bad idea after all :)

Sidebar: Also make sure that you get to see the price of the total trip before the cab driver clears it. My very first cab experience alone from Emart I paid 10 000 won for a ride that now costs 2200. The way the meter was titled I could nt see at the back seat the amount which he quickly cleared- so I paid him with the green note and he nodded and said thanks and the change never came back. I initially assumed thats how much I owed even though I thought the ride was rather expensive but now i know better  :o


Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2011, 09:16:30 am »
No offense to the OP, but that is a pretty bright idea in the first place :P. The taxi driver's taking advantage with blue light. I'm sure it is not just not targeted at foreigners either. Installing a blue light can not be that cheap and probably tries to hit up every possible drunken passenger possible.

Maybe preparing ahead? Only carry 5,000s for your taxi money and keep it somewhere for taxi only money? When I do that, I keep reminding myself all night where it is.

i can't see where anyone says its targeted at foreigners... maybe i'm not looking closely enough


the best ways to stun the cab driver into good behavior are sitting up front and breaking out some perfect korean.  they wont mess with you


  • lindsaydp1
  • Veteran

    • 145

    • August 24, 2010, 08:36:00 am
    • Yeongcheon, South Korea
Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2011, 09:20:48 am »
When we first got to Korea last February, we went on a night out to Daegu from Gyeongsan. Being new to the area, we got a cab home and the driver charged us 70, 000W for the 25 minute ride. We thought it was a lot but didn't know any different, until the next week we discovered that if you demand the meter it costs under 15 000! Needless to say, we're very cautious now and make sure either the meter is on, or that he'll never ask for more than 20 thousand, and we make sure we say it in Korean so he knows there's no fooling us!


  • LL
  • Adventurer

    • 25

    • September 18, 2010, 02:44:53 am
    • Edmonton
Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2011, 09:29:14 am »
So far had no problems with cabs in Korea, but I was warned to make sure they turn on the meter! 
Another thing I have noticed is, just because there is a sticker in the window that says free interpretation, that doesn't mean the cab driver can speak English!!  I once got in a cab that had that sticker thinking I could speak English, but not the case! 


  • heyitslep
  • Super Waygook

    • 253

    • April 08, 2011, 04:51:52 pm
    • Near Cheongju
Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2011, 09:31:12 am »
When we first got to Korea last February, we went on a night out to Daegu from Gyeongsan. Being new to the area, we got a cab home and the driver charged us 70, 000W for the 25 minute ride. We thought it was a lot but didn't know any different, until the next week we discovered that if you demand the meter it costs under 15 000! Needless to say, we're very cautious now and make sure either the meter is on, or that he'll never ask for more than 20 thousand, and we make sure we say it in Korean so he knows there's no fooling us!
Should have had a friend call and complain. The taxi company doesn't make that extra money, it's the driver. So he'll get caught up for ripping people off. Better to have a Korean call them though.


Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2011, 10:07:15 am »
On a similar note, I notice that there seems to be 2 modes for a meter, one which goes up as you drive, and one which keeps going up even when waiting at lights for ages. This can double the cost of a journey.  I encountered the latter type once after shopping at E-Mart but, as I sit in the front-seat, from now on the first sign of the meter moving up at a traffic light and I'm just going to get out the cab without giving him any money and find a different one.  If I could speak enough Korean I'd tell him to switch the meter, but I can't so this seems the best solution to get the message across (and should be noticeable within minutes) This is one reason I try to take the bus where possible.


  • ame
  • Super Waygook

    • 338

    • December 02, 2010, 02:58:32 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2011, 10:14:39 am »
On a similar note, I notice that there seems to be 2 modes for a meter, one which goes up as you drive, and one which keeps going up even when waiting at lights for ages. This can double the cost of a journey.  I encountered the latter type once after shopping at E-Mart but, as I sit in the front-seat, from now on the first sign of the meter moving up at a traffic light and I'm just going to get out the cab without giving him any money and find a different one.  If I could speak enough Korean I'd tell him to switch the meter, but I can't so this seems the best solution to get the message across (and should be noticeable within minutes) This is one reason I try to take the bus where possible.

All taxi meters do that, all around the world.  There is a set rate per unit of distance and a set rate per unit of time.  The time rate is much lower than the distance rate, but this is the reason why the meter will go up slowly when you're waiting at a light.

Jumping out of a taxi and not paying because you don't understand how a taxi meter works is a sure-fire way to get arrested.


Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2011, 10:26:56 am »
Not all taxis behave the same, if you wait for 5 minutes for a light to change and the meter doesn't move in one taxi, and in another you're meter goes up 2,000 Won, then you are being ripped off with a different meter rate.  And an arrest is unlikely as it's an unprovable offense. 

I wouldn't do this after doing a whole journey, only at the start when it becomes apparent I am being ripped off.  I would do this is any country not just Korea.  So far I've only noticed it 3 times, one time however getting home was my priority not the cost so I ignored it. 

Allowing this to happen just shows the unscrupulous taxi drivers that they can get away with it.  Hopping out after angrily pointing at the meter "could" get the message across.  But as stated, where humanly possible I avoid all taxis because of this minority.


  • AP
  • Waygookin

    • 14

    • March 28, 2011, 10:40:45 am
    • Seoul
Re: Taxi Scam
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2011, 10:28:15 am »
If they try to rip you off, you can always pretend you don't understand, smile, thank them, and walk away.  I've done that the one and only time a taxi driver was asking for more money (after my friends and I had given him a few extra thousand and let him keep the change).  They usually won't chase you or anything.