$720 for a pedicab ride: drivers use Square payment system to scam tourists

Gigaom

Pedicabs are slow and silly-looking, but the bicycle-powered rickshaws remain a hit with tourists in New York and other cities. Unlike taxis, they are barely regulated — which means it’s easy for unscrupulous drivers to shake down passengers for exorbitant fares.

SquareWhile pedicab hustles are nothing new, the arrival of Square, which lets merchants take payments via a dongle and an app, mean the rip-offs are hitting new heights. In June, for instance, one driver charged a visiting Japanese couple $720 for a twenty-minute ride from New York’s midtown to Greenwich Village.

According to the New York Post, Square’s mobile card-reader makes it easier for dishonest drivers to demand absurd fares and to tack on fraudulent transaction fees that customers (late night drunks are a common target) discover much later.

“[Square is] helping these guys tremendously by doing this. It’s super easy to get an account and super hard…

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