Taxi Scams, Language Skills and Attitude

Taxi Scams, Language Skills and Attitude
hadleyj09 Nov 30, 2014 15:50

Why you should learn the language of the country you are in....

 

So I'm at the Fast train station and I catch a taxi home. Now, I know that a taxi ride from the train station to my apartment is no more than 10 or 11 RMB max. This guy takes a long circular route and I'm like.....No he didn't just do this....So I start speaking in Chinese and tell him that he is going the wrong way and ask if he knows where he's going. He jumps and starts stuttering because I knew the route and could speak Chinese.

 

Fun Fact:

 

If you are a foreigner in China, taxi drivers will assume that you don't speak the language and many will try to take advantage of that possibility and scam you to get more money out of you. LEARN THE LANGUAGE!!

 

 

So, then I ask if he knows where he's going. He says yes, and I'm lookin at this dude like, do you really think I'm stupid? By this time, the meter is at 15 RMB. So, I tell him that usually a ride from the station to my apartment is 10 RMB, and I know he knew that because the road is a straight shot to my place. So, I tell him to stop the car and I'll call my friend to pick me up. Then he tells me that I only have to pay 15. I said, "I will pay 10 or you need to stop the car." It was at that moment, he knew he messed up, and I don't know why, but he agreed on 10, and that was the end of it.

 

Fun Fact:

 

So I was actually pretty pissed that he was trying to scam me and was tempted to cuss him out. HOWEVER....do not let your current emotions persuade what comes out your mouth because if you cuss out someone in China, that could be a one way ticket out of China. Chinese people are very nationalistic so even if they are in the wrong, because you are the foreigner, you are usually never in the right when it comes to an argument. Just state what you have to say. If you feel like you are being mistreated, just walk away, and go about your day. 

 

Now, every time you notice you are being scammed, the taxi driver may not be so nice and bargain with you. If that's the case, just pay and walk away. Do not get into a heated argument, just walk away.

 

That's all :)

Tags:General Travel Language & Culture Expat Rants & Advice Expat Tales Lifestyle

13 Comments

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1

crabbybohs870
comment|53706|310921

My Chinese is not so good but I always ask them "Do you think you could drive faster?" and that always seems to work :) :P

Dec 24, 2014 00:21 Report Abuse

2

Bonnie2015
comment|53581|312006

I'm a chinese people, but even though, I'm afraid of taxi scam. I have an idea, ask the driver the approximate fee before you take the taxi. Your "laowai" are very smart. But most of Chinese are friendly.

Dec 18, 2014 14:11 Report Abuse

3

hadleyj09
comment|53239|266652

I'm glad you all didn't have any serious confrontations with any taxi drivers, or anyone for that matter.

Dec 06, 2014 17:21 Report Abuse

4

tbh66
comment|53228|84606

understand the language and landmarks, and be prepared to walk away if know you are being scammed. most time taxi ok, only encountered problems in Tianjin and fuzhou

Dec 06, 2014 06:28 Report Abuse

5

cathrobiso
comment|53206|15061

It happened to me last tuesday. I always fly every other two weeks and i always paid 98-100 rmb including the toll fee and additional 2 yuan charge. Last tuesday a taxi driver cheat me and went to another toll wich is farther than the usual toll and charged me for more than 120. I do speak chinese but not fluent. I asked him why the way is different and even the toll is different but he keeps on saying that he knows the place i want to go. I felt scared but i took a picture of his ID and a number to complain him. I told him to give me the receipt but he tore it and just left the total amount. I opened the door, but before i stepped down, i told him i will complain and i showed him the telephone number for complaints. He said, i should return the toll fee receipt and he will refund the 19rmb toll. But i said no and walk straight to my office. As soon as i arrive my office, i asked my supervisor to help me call and complain about the taxi driver. I find out that he went to futian kou an toll which is really far that cost me 19rmb instead of 13rmb. And according to my supervisor, they will call back after 10 days about the result of my complaint.

Dec 05, 2014 00:28 Report Abuse

6

dongbeiren
comment|53199|303147

Learning the language definitely reduces the chance of being scammed by taxi drivers, salespeople and others. I find the drivers in my city to be relatively honest although they will sometimes take you on the scenic route. Generally when you call them out on it, tell them how they should have gone and tell them how much the ride should be, they are agreeable. I only make an issue out of it when I think they're being malicious (as the driver in the OP obviously was) or if they're cheating me out of more than a couple rmb. Once a driver tried to charge me 50 rmb without turning on the meter for a 20-25 rmb ride and when I replied in local slang "no way." He laughed, turned the meter on and gave me some advice on how to avoid being cheated in the future.

Dec 04, 2014 21:07 Report Abuse

7

jetfire9000
comment|53137|236171

The taxi scam is one that never goes away no matter how experienced you are here. I've had 4 yours of formal Chinese study and 3 years of informal study (self study or just living day to day life outside) and while I have no fears of communication whatsoever anywhere I go, sometimes I run into these imbecile drivers. Even if you tell them in linguistically perfect Chinese, with a hint of anger in your voice, they will still pretend they don't know they are taking the long way - they will pretend to be lost even when going to the most simple place. This feigned stupidity is their final line of defense, now that they discovered that you know how to talk and you know the way. All I can say is, you gotta be on guard at all times, for when the first "odd" turn gets made, you ask them why they're doing that and tell them to turn around. Finally it's great that he got a lower price that what the trip would normally cost (thus meaning the cheater driver came out behind due to his cheating) albeit for a wrong trip and at this bloggers expense. If you really wanna force it, get his car number, call his company, argue with him that you aren't giving him a cent, ect ect. It is best to not allow yourself to be cheated here, because for everybody that allows this, it will make it harder for others in the future. Anyway, good job. I had the same experience last week, but didn't negotiate the meter price down. I recognized what was happening and just got out preemptive, paid the normal price before it managed to climb past the normal amount.

Dec 03, 2014 14:07 Report Abuse

8

hadleyj09
comment|53148|266652

Thanks for your insight and experience. I will be sure to always pay attention and watch out for scammers.

Dec 03, 2014 15:43 Report Abuse

9

Robk
comment|53130|27601

Some good advice. I am surprised how many have lived here a long time and can barely put together a sentence. Good you called the taxi driver out as you may have saved another few foreigners from being scammed. I have never been scammed by a taxidriver because they will determine if you can speak Chinese by your tones and how well you respond. They will normally ask a few questions (it is not just curiousity) to figure how well you can complain and know the area. Most foreigners just show them their phone and say nothing. This basically means you don't have a clue and the taxi driver will be HIGHLY tempted to screw you over. If you say your destination with proper tones you will cut out a lot of attemtps. Some taxi drivers will try to screw you over regardless and are just assholes. I find females taxi drivers are the worst (it's like they have to out-do their male companions to gain respect or something). So definetly watch out for them. The last part depends on the situation but learning to speak Mandarin will certainly make your life a lot easier. It is a worthwhile skill to learn.

Dec 03, 2014 11:56 Report Abuse

10

hadleyj09
comment|53131|266652

True, true and true. Luckily for anyone else, it was only me in the taxi, but still, it was an interesting ride to say the least. I have also been told by other foreigners that female taxi drivers are to be looked out for as well. Thanks for your advice. I'll be sure to keep my guard up when it comes to taxi's and other forms of being scammed.

Dec 03, 2014 12:51 Report Abuse

11

hadleyj09
comment|53108|266652

I understand where you are coming from, but in my opinion, they have more clout than me in this situation so I will play it safe and just walk away. But, to each his or her own.

Dec 02, 2014 19:03 Report Abuse

12

Robk
comment|53129|27601

I would say this depends on how well you know the language. The taxi driver will start shouting in the local dialect to try and get a crowd to side with him and if you can't speak Chinese then chances are they will almost immediately be against you. Depends on the place and crowd... and your language skills.

Dec 03, 2014 11:49 Report Abuse

13

hadleyj09
comment|53132|266652

I agree, and luckily I know the area pretty well and I have friends in this area too so I knew I would be ok if I had to just simply walk away.

Dec 03, 2014 12:53 Report Abuse