Taxi rip offs


Jan 23, 2010
Hi all,
Just a quick word of warning for newcomers flying into BA. My brother-in-law just arrived yesterday in BA and was ripped off quite badly by some taxi drivers. Firstly, he was a little naive in letting them charge him 380 pesos to get into centre of town so we won't dwell on that - he was told 80 pesos is about standard fare from the airport into town. When he complained they motioned no english and he thought bugger it. Anyway, he passed over the money to pay upfront to some guy standing next to the radio cab (not the driver) and then was given back a bunch of 10s and told not enough money. The guy did a very quick swap of notes and being a bit flustered my BL did not notice this and thought he'd be ripped off at the cash counter in Sydney. So in the end they made about 600 pesos out of him for the ride. He checked with the money counter people in Sydney and they video it all so he definitely got ripped off by the taxi people in BA. It was gold and black cab with radio taxi as we'd advised him but he still got done by these shady characters. Ringing the police was a waste of time so I am going to publicise it here so hopefully it does not happen to more visitors. The police were like "oh those mafia guys yeah we know those guys they are always doing this sort of thing" - in other words don't even bother making a report. Apparently the mafia at the airport make it difficult for the legit operators to work so beware. We rang our consulate as well but that was a waste of time as well. Its probably happening everyday but no one seems to care too much :(.
There is a kiosk right at the door, with clearly posted prices- how hard is it to just queue up and get a legitimate taxi?

Sorry, but this person acted a fool, and when you do that, you can be ripped off, be it in Sydney or London or NYC.

When I have friends coming, I send a remis for them. It costs about the same, actually my regular guy is CHEAPER than the standard airport to towntaxi fare, and he will hold a sign up with their name. Its so easy to do that, why would you leave your relative hanging like that?
Did he not take a taxi from the stand? Just an FYI for future visits - when someone arrives, there is an authorized stand right when they walk out. They will pay a flat fee (is it 120 pesos now?) and someone will walk them to their taxi. No problems and in fact, they get a discount on their return trip.

And I will give huge props to how honest they are - on my last trip, I had a mini-notebook (brand new!) fall out of my suitcase. I realized it after I got out of the cab. I called the main number and the taxi driver drove back to Cap Fed and returned it.
Yeah like Ries said, there are a couple of legitimate stands right outside the exit of the airport where you go and ask for a cab. Inside before you exit, there are a number of legitimate remis services. If you contract one fo those services, they are definitely more expensive than the taxis, but not outrageously.

It's not that the "taxi mafia" make it difficult for legitimate taxis to work - not at all. They prey on the unaware/naive by coming up and offering to take you to town for a good price. There are not many who do that, but enough. One should NEVER allow anyone who comes up to you to take your luggage and walk you directly to a cab.

Just so your brother-in-law (or anyone else) knows next time - even the legitimate workers for the stands (usually not the drivers themselves) may solicit your business, but they will ALWAYS go to one of the stands and get a ticket from the dispatcher before going to get a driver from their pool.

ALWAYS take your own bags to the taxi yourself so you can change your mind - if the guy who solicited your business goes directly to a parked cab (whether he's the driver or not) without first going to the dispatcher to get a ticket (a copy of which YOU get), turn around and go back!

It is actually possible to get a taxi that dropped someone off but does not have the license to get rides leaving the airport and they just want to get a return fare, but it's not worth the risk if you don't know the city and don't speak the language. It's also not worth the 20-50 pesos difference you'd pay/save between a taxi looking for a return fare (yet honest) and a taxi who is licensed to be at the airport.

There is a ton of info on this site about taking taxis from the airport and listing the precautions to take. It points out that before going to a place you've never been before (particularly if you don't speak the language!!) - don't arrive assuming that they are going to take care of you - read the information about the city before you arrive and be aware of the scams that are being run.
No matter how many times I warn my visitors, half of them think they can get a bargain if they bypass the taxi stands in the airport lobby and get a "special", cheaper taxi outside. Nine times out of ten they are ripped off, and the tenth passenger gets taken to the Ezeiza woods and stripped of everything, then left to fend for himself.

Sending a remise is a great idea: it costs exactly the same as taking one. I live out in San Isidro, and often send remises to pick up friends arriving on Buquebus. If I meet them with the remise, the return trip is billed at half-fare.

It is not unusual to establish a relationship with some remise driver.s Once you know and trust them, they will run errands, deliver packages, pick up people, and even pay bills. A trusted remise driver once drove from Belgrano carrying my ancient mother, her ancient dog, and an equally ancient spare bed she had in her attic tied on the roof of his car. Did not even want to be tipped. Many "remiseros" own their cars, so they are generally in very good shape.
Horrible story. Something similar happened to a friend of mine. It is such a shame as it marks all taxi drivers as being utter scumbags.

I got a taxi from Jorge Airport to my flat near Recoleta cemetery and charged me $40! My Spanish so good so I just let it go. So everybody stay away from the Ford Escort black and yellow cabs!
I was ripped off at the airport after I had been here for 6 months. Yeah, in retrospect it is easy to say, "you acted a fool, you should be more aware, it is your fault for being dumb," etc. etc., but the truth is these guys are well practiced in what they do, and it doesn't only happen to foreign travelers: ask any Argentinean and they will say you have to be very careful with airport taxis, and most call ahead and have a pick-up arranged.

I speak fluent Spanish and I know how much the ride back to the city is (it was my 3rd trip), and still I was ripped off by the switch a bill trick. Once we arrived at my doorstep, he repeatedly told me my 100 pesos were unusable due to their series numbers until my only option was to pay him in dollars, fine. I gave him 100 dollars and can you believe it he handed me back a dollar, "you accidentally gave me a $1 bill." What?! I argued with him, and he swirled me around until I started to doubt myself (he was a very "nice" man), and then the confusion mixed with the desire to just get into my house after 20 hours of flights AND the fact that honestly, what do you do? It is 6am and it is your word against his, I have all my luggage in his trunk with two new laptops not to mention my other personal belongings I have no desire to lose to a crazy cab driver, so what does one do? Sit stubbornly and call the police? I don't even know if they would come/have any effect. CLEARY the only way to do these things is to keep the money in your hand while the cabbie gets the change, but that is one of those things that is clear in retrospect and sometimes difficult when dealing with bags and passports and a particularly clever/ruthless/asshole of a cab driver. But honestly the mistake happens in literally 3 seconds of time and then you are fucked, and what do you do? Sit and argue until the cabbie gives up? Maybe that would work, not sure.

Now I always have a trusted driver come pick me up, the fee is 100 pesos and well worth the 20 extra pesos.

I have seen flyers being handed out at the airports advising people to only take the approved taxis, but I only saw it once. The system isn't great, they need to get all the taxi drivers out of the area where the people pass-- often the drivers grab you before you even see there are legitimate taxi stands.
Wow, a double scam.

The swapping thing is quite well-known (happened to me once, but I lost only 18 pesos = gave a 20 and the driver gave me back a 2 telling me it was not enough).

For the 380 pesos ride (steal !): did he note the taxi number ?

There's nothing much to be done unfortunately.

As said above, your BL is a bit guilty of what happened to him.
If you pay at the taxi kiosk and get a voucher, there's no chance of being ripped off.
I haven't taken many taxi rides in the city for nearly two years as I've lived in the suburbs and when I visit the city I usually drive to where I'm going.

A couple of years ago, the bad meters used to be real common. You have to have some idea of how much a taxi ride is going to cost to know when you're being ripped off.

I remember when the flag dropping on a cab was less than two pesos. I would take a cab from Corrientes y Callao to Village Recoleta and normally it would cost me about 6 pesos. Once I wasn't paying attention to the meter as we went, but when we got there the driver said with a straight face "15 pesos." I looked at the meter and sure enough, it was 15 pesos (give or take however many centavos, I don't remember).

I argued with the guy for about 5 minutes and finally told him to call the police and we would settle it with the cop. The driver shut up and then said real snottily "just pay me what you think you should."

That same route, I started watching the meter and about every 10th ride or so I would get a taxi with a bad meter and tell him to pull over when I saw it going too high, give him a few pesos and threaten to talk to the police when he started complaining.

A cousin of my wife's was raped in the backset of a taxi about two years ago. They were unable to get the police to arrest the driver because she had the cab number, but not the driver's license number (or so the police said).

I was in a taxi about three years ago with my then-girlfriend (now wife). We were on our way to meet her sister. We stopped at a stop light and some school girls with back packs crossed the street in front of us and the light changed before they completely crossed in front of the cab. The driver punched the accelerator and actually hit the back pack of one of the girls with his hood. I yelled at the jackass to stop, but he was saying the girls deserved it because he's so sick of pedestrians crossing the street when they shouldn't. I opened the door while we were still moving, forcing him to stop. The poor girl was scared shitless and crying her eyes out - my wife and I went back to help her.

Everyday, from the standpoint of someone who has to share the road with taxi drivers, I constantly put up with their arrogant crap - they think they own the road because their job happens to involve driving. They block traffic without thinking while letting passengers off when they could move over. They swerve in into your lane withut even looking and get pissed off when you honk at them. I could go on and on.

Yes, the majority of taxi drivers are decent, honest folks just trying to make a living. But there are a goodly percentage of scumbag taxistas here, without a doubt.