Taxi Scam in Barcelona – How to Avoid Being Taken for a Ride!

All cars or vans in this industry must post a sign visible in front and rear of the vehicle a sign with the letters SP (that is Servicio P?blico or public service). These vehicles comply with the latest directives and laws both in Spain and EU, regarding safety, insurance, comfort, and accountability.

Without entering into a lengthy moral sermon about why not use illegal cars, there are two important things for a traveller:

1.-“SP” cars or vans have unlimited insurance coverage in case of accident, others don’t.

2.-Since this type of piracy is increasing so are the police inspections at the airport, port or popular tourist attractions. If caught, the driver is not only fined but that transfer ends right there, so you will have to abandon the vehicle and you will have to continue your transfer or tour on your own means, together with your luggage if any, and forget about your money if you have paid anything up front.

So, how can such false cars be detected? Some advice:

By law, any vehicle carrying out this type of service in Spain, car rental with driver  (transfers, city tours, etc) must have the” Hoja de Ruta” (like a Manifest, with flight number, number of passengers, name of principal passenger, pick up point, drop off point, drivers name and company name, who contracted the service, etc.).This is a contract between you and the driver, filled out in official form. This contract goes to Court. If a driver doesn’t have it, they could still be legal, but sloppy and at the risk of  a hefty fine.

If you have contracted a transfer before your arrival, and meet up with your driver at the airport terminal, you are greeted and then walked off to the public toll parking lot, you can start suspecting. An “SP” vehicle has a reserved, free parking area at the airport. An “SP” vehicle may possibly park in the public parking area but not for free, probably as a courtesy to the passenger if it is raining, for example, but check if the “SP” plates are visible when you reach the car, and if still in doubt, ask for the “hoja de ruta”.

And the litmus test is asking for the “libro de reclamaciones” or complaint forms which are presented in a book form. This book must have the car’s license plate on the front cover, all SP vehicles,  hotels, restaurants, Tapas bars, hospitals, clinics, public offices, or anybody else who is selling a product or service to the final consumer, etc. must have it. Keep this in mind if you are ever upset with any type of service you receive.

It doesn’t happen often, fortunately, but if there is a traffic accident, and someone is injured and you are ridding in an illegal vehicle, it all depends on what your personal life and health insurance back in home says about this.

With the unfavourable EURO exchange rate for many currencies now, there is great pressure to bring down prices, and like everything else in life, there is limit.  Many travel agencies are innocent victims of this as they also have no way to control what vehicle is carrying out their services in some foreign country and after having their request for hire passing through three or four hands before reaching the driver, and you.

Always try to hire a car directly with the local drivers, many available over the internet. Ask for proof that they are legal, shy away from portals that sell you cars worldwide unless you know them well – after all, do they know who they are subcontracting?

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Ваш отзыв , 15 Jun 2010

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