Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Big Taxi Credit Card Conspiracy : Why Have TfL Made It Such A Mess

There's quite a bit of misinformation currently floating about the Taxi trade in regards to driver's future responsibilities when taking Credit and Debit card payments and also when certain restrictions and new regulations will be introduced. 

TfL have posted clear instructions as to what is expected and when new regulations will be imposed. 
Below is part of the statement TfL put out in regards to Card Acceptance. 

On 3 Feb the TfL board decided that TfL will not set a maximum charge that the card equipment suppliers can charge taxi drivers and that market forces should dictate.  

There are a number of TfL approved card equipment suppliers offering card payment systems for the taxi industry as can be seen in the TPH notice. 

Currently card transaction costs start from 2.75% and taxi drivers have a range of options to meet the mandatory date for card acceptance of 3 October 2016. The existing card payment surcharge payable by passengers of up to 10% or £1, whichever is greater, will be removed from 2nd April 2016. 

After this date taxi drivers must not charge passengers a surcharge when accepting credit or debit card payments. 

TfL is working with card payment systems suppliers to ensure they are prepared to meet the changes, which include the new requirement that a card payment terminal must be fitted within the passenger compartment.

     Len Martin Chairman United Cabbies Group

Editorial comment:
In Taxi Leaks opinion, these new regulations are completely unreasonable and should never have been agreed or signed off by the trade orgs and Unions.

Why should a driver who has been using a hand held mobile machine for many years with no complaints from passengers be forced by TfL to have the machine taken away and fitted in the rear. At present, the driver has to enter the price on hand held appliances by hand.
So how will the driver do this if the machine is fitted in rear?Will he have to get out of the front, enter the rear of the cab to perform a card payment? 
(Compromising both driver and the passengers safety!)

Of course not, this is just to preempt that connection of the third party supplied appliance to the meter. 
(Which could then be used as an impromptu tachograph)   

Although there is no mention (yet) that the machine should be connected to the meter, this would render machines such as iZettle, PayPal and CabApp totally unusable.

At present over 70% of drivers have the means to clear CC payments, albeit by machine, App or through their radio circuit, but as soon as drivers are required to pay clearance service charges, we could see this situation change dramatically. 

Between April and October, we predict a massive expansion of "Cash Only" signs and machines covered with old socks and plastic bags, this will have a lasting damaging effect on the reputation of the trade. 

Why has this not been thought through...well many it has. Perhaps this is exactly the agenda TfL are following!

The question must be asked, why is it imperative that drivers are expected to pay any CC service charge?

TfL say the customer should not be charged for taking the option of paying on credit. WHY?
TfL also say the driver must not charge more than the metered fare. 

The important word here is "FARE". The surcharge is in fact a service charge, charged not by the driver, but by a third party card company and inasmuch is not the part of the fare paid to the driver.

One of the major card company directors, is also a director of a company selling Taxis to drivers. 
Would this director consider paying the extra charge made by the driver (as a customer) for buying a Taxi on a credit, paying the interest on the loan.....I don't think he would for one minute!

When TfL put out their consultation last year, they carefully left out one important question -Should the driver pay the surcharge- it's just not there.

TfL made much about the fact that nearly 90% of everyone who filled in the consultation voted that all taxis should be forced to accept card payments.

Taxi Point carried out a similar consultation, but included the question "should the driver be made to pay the surcharge on transactions". This came back with a massive 90% saying "NO"

Our question now, will the Orgs and Unions collectively fight these unreasonable edits from TfL.

Many rumours are floating about, alleging conflicts of interest regarding advertising revenue from the major card equipment suppliers. Surely members interests should be paramount. 

The longer this situation goes on, there's more chance it could seriously damage the trade's reputation. 

Worst of all, TfL have already informed the media that drivers will be mandated to accept card payments and that drivers will pay surcharge and not passengers. 
They've actually put this out, even though they haven't changed the cab act and have no legislation to back up their claim.

Also, it should be pointed out that no similar regulations have been announced in regards to a Private Hire mandate of card payment acceptance. 

Will TfL now immediately drop their credit card surcharge when Taxi and Private Hire drivers pay for their licence, the vehicle inspection?
Why is there one rule for us but another rule for TfL?


Anonymous said...

This is as usual a complete balls up. TFL originally said that the card machine providers would not be allowed to charge more than 3% and I thought to myself that maybe I could swallow that charge but now it seems the credit card providers have had there say and pressured TFL to agree that they can charge whatever commission they want. I am currently with Verifone and if TFL think I am going to swallow 10% of a far to Heathrow then they have another thing coming. I will be adding it on to the fare as a service chg.

Anonymous said...

Well what do you expect. We all know who went to see Boris Johnson on a unrelated issue and left City Hall proclaiming to the trade that an agreement was reached that all London Taxis will have to mandatory accept credit cards by the end of 2016.

Ha,ha said the clown!

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with above, I too am with verifone, and have hated the fact they charge 10%, but swallowed it because most punters don't mind, and it's a good system. No way will I be paying 10% of my fares to a cc machine company, it's going to go under extras, and tfl can come after me if they wish, I already pay more for my vehicle than anyone else in the market, if they think 10p in every pound I make is going to their "approved suppliers", and through brown paper envelopes, to them, they've a surprise coming.

Anonymous said...

In effect, the average 10% tip will disappear, so the true amount of lost income in reality is 20% as 99% of punters who pay by card dont tip + 10% of the fare will go to the chosen credit card companies. True loss 20%

This coupled with the downturn of 30 + % due to instant hailing apps. I'll leave you to add up the true loss of income among yourselves.

Cash only from now said...

What makes this dangerous is the 2 year contracts.
With no gaurentee on price things could change.
One minute yo could be laying 5% and then in a few months
You could be paying 10 to 15%. Market forces or pure greed ?

Brian said...

What is Oddy doing on that board...????
What is the point of having an invisible mute representing us at the mad house.
Get someone on there who will stand up for us , tell us what he's trying to do for us, and light a fire under those overpaid amateurs who are bringing the greatest city in the world to it's knees.

Anonymous said...

As I said before as a yb this extra charge on us is the final nail in the coffin

Anonymous said...

Basically this is a racketeering conspiracy supported by a corrupt licensing authority TFL.

In the USA they have a law called RICO...

(Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act).

This law has been used successfully many times in the USA to prosecute corrupt individuals in local government. It was put forward that a similar law should be introduced in the UK, guess what, it got rejected. This is why currupt politicians and dictatorial local government employees are so smug. There is no deterrent and they know that they are pretty much untouchable as criminals.

This whole credit card mandate is extortion, and in my opinion, organised crime.

London Taxi drivers have been accepting credit card payments for years, I can't recall a single instance of a reported complaint. There are no grounds whatsoever for the proposed conditions issued by Helen Chapman. The proposed conditions will give the desired few the opportunity to extort as much money from London Cab drivers as they can - while at the same time wipe out any competition that may exist.

Organised, and down right corrupt !

Dizzy said...

I normally take CCs at no cost to myself, but as soon as I am forced to pay for the privelidge of lending the punters money then I will stop.

And Helen Chapman's stupid feckin plan will have backfired because more and more of us will probably do the same.

Ive got a nice Ping driver sock ready to go on mine.

And Helen you can chase us all you like cos this job aint worth shit any more. You and that bunch of imbeciles you work for have well and truly fucked us already!

Dizzy said...

As for Oddy on the board....

He's one of them, he aint one of us and hasn't been for a very long time.

Why do you think we are in this mess, and the LTDA have been so sterile all these years?

Wake up ffs.

At least I can hold my head up and say that those clowns haven't had a penny of my money for years.

The Truth said...

" No we haven't done a deal" said Helen Chapman. Well that's clearly not true is it Helen.
How I see it is we can be good boys and girls and just accept it, or to a man/woman, just refuse to accept credit.
As sole traders we have that right by law and as far as I'm aware that law has not been changed.
I doubt us all refusing will happen, because there's always plenty with no backbone who'll hide when push comes to shove.
It really is time to stand up for our livings and hit back hard. Demo's at lunchtime are pointless, we need to get up early and do them at 7am. Only then will we be able to make an impact where they will have to take notice. Hit them in their pocket it's the only language they understand.

Barkley Carde said...

We await the 'members only ' deal in Taxi followed by pages of advertising.

Whilst we are on about percentages, the 50k pledge from the LTDA is 5% of the so called war chest they talk about.

Does this mean they have abandoned their own plans for action?

Nice try Steve but no cigar!

Anonymous said...

The first thing verifone say once you've signed up to there 3 year deal is that if you cancel you pay them £350.00 and also they then tell you you need a charger that costs £17.00'. And only give you 2 rolls of paper . And spend the whole time trying to talk you into the roof neon sign advert ...

Anonymous said...

Any 45 pound job where the punter would gave rounded the fare up to 50 verifone take the tip , I will be telling martin Cordell that night work is down by 60% and the Tips which we are taxed on have all gone to verifone , Black cabs Are becoming a luxury for the drivers not just the punters

Anonymous said...

Oyster springs to mind
Then they have all our bank account detsils

Damian said...

Accepting credit cards is not 'giving the customer credit'. I'm happy to swallow the iZettle charge of 2.75% and the extra 20p will help cover that. There is no way the customer should be charged a surcharge for paying by card in 2016

The Truth said...

All the credit card jobs I've ever done have been legals, not once has anyone rounded it up,especially by a fiver.
Damien, why should all the people who pay cash have to pay for those who don't ?
More to the point, why the f@#£ should I pay for them to use a system that has no benefit to me in any way.
The card firms might charge you 2 1/2% today,but there's nothing to stop them charging 30% in a years time. Fancy giving a third if your fares to a fat cat card company boss do ya ?
The 20p extra on the flag mist be illegal when they're saying it's paying for them to use a FREE service. How is it free when they're charging an extra 20p ?

Anonymous said...

I cannot understand how or why TFL make a legal argument for forcing so many Taxi drivers who already possess credit card facilities to effectively start from scratch.

I remember when the idiotic mandatory receipt printer rule was dreamt up, all taxi's who already had printer facilities (radio taxis etc) were exempted, so why are they not exempted now as the have always provided card processing systems and now hailo, gett and others are serious players in the taxi business it makes complete sense to exclude anyone who has card processing facilities especially as the cost of processing is charged only to the driver/owner

TFL has created a Licensing principle flawed with in efficient knowledge of how one on one service providers carry out their business & a complete lack of empathy or security

1, As I have stated in previous posts, there is no provision in the Card readers software for a driver to pre-validate any card, and whilst taxi carriage laws provide "any driver can take a deposit" it would have been far simpler for the system to allow a driver to for instance: Driver picks up three persons who wish to be dropped off at three different locations running up a hefty fare only to be presented by the last occupant with a card that has issues.... that is completely possible and is completely un business savvi and will cause all kinds of problems, it is no different to any hotel in the world not taking a card before occupancy... as they know fully well where things will lead.

2, It is how the Card processing contract has been legally formed outside the basic contract principles of fairness and not duress (Google British contract law of Duress)
as it is completely flawed & not taking into account many other Public carriage laws, Such as Age of Vehicle or Driver both of which are controlled by TFL.

If You own a vehicle which only has one/ two years left to plate you simply cannot get a pro-rata rate of the current card processing rate, and must sign up to a three year deal of which is patently clear you cannot complete.... so you will have to pay a financial buy out fee, & this point also applies to the senior citizens who still drive a cab & are subject to yearly medical fitness doctors certifications ... and if they retire suddenly they will be financially penalised...

And if you have a Metrocab 6 seater, my god how you are expected to take it unfairly, Not only are most less than three years to go before ending your plates... you have to
Sign up to one,yes only one deal available, Have to travel to a large north london taxi metrocab proprietor (who has approximately 40 cabs of his own) & who will unceremoniously cut 6" from the off side of your rear passenger seat and weld a metal bracket they and they alone supply @£85 + vat which enables the card machine supplier to fix their equipment,

This leaves a gap on the off side rear seat open to anyone particularly a child to drop their leg into and the bracket is at face level,this is undoubtedly an appalling piece of PCO/TFL approval designed to rush through the card passenger compartment compliance mandate and must be stopped, it is making an abysmal mess of the rear seat and is dangerous.

As I have said, this whole credit card utopian standard has been dreamt up by salaried employees who have very little one on one business intellect and have created a monster from what was originally a very good idea, and if any body has forgotten what that idea was ask any one on radio who have been taking card payments uncomplicated for years, and then politics showed its grubby hands.

Complain to your GLA members or anyone who say they represent you as this only going to give licence to the licencing authorities to dream up further idiotic notions without challenge, I think taking card payments are a massive step forward, but remember this: Did TFL share details of its own card processors or its commission rates? & not one single journey can be paid in arrears,only up front funny that eh?

Be Lucky

greenbadgejohn (on twitter)