I was coming home from a trip today and it was raining quite hard. I decided that I would take a cab from the train station instead of public transit because I had luggage, etc. I get in the cab and things seem alright. Ride was smooth and direct. Then it came to paying. Then there was the fun. I hand my visa and he puts it in the machine. There was an awful lot of button pushing and he says it failed. He tried that card again, and it failed again. Then he asks for cash. I have no cash, we try another card. It fails. I try my debit, and it fails. Now honestly this is getting not funny. I haven’t any cash on me, and they are supposed to take my plastic, and my plastic is perfectly good.

He then says his machine doesn’t work, that it is not me but it. He suggests I ask my friends as he points to my building. I guess he meant my neighbours, and well they were not home, and they are not my friends. So he says he will drive me to the nearest place so I can get the cash. I went across the street and went into the Pharmaprix to do a purchase with cashback. I pay the man.

I cannot call the 311 line on the cab because I am in Gatineau, not Ottawa where the cab is licensed. So I find the contact information for the cab company Blue Line. I email them and get a fairly prompt reply. It is illegal to operate with a non functioning machine, and that their debit system was not down today. I am then told to contact the city inspectors for him to be stopped and told to repair the machine.

Here’s the thing, I am not sure the machine was down. I have been doing a lot of reflection, and I have looked over my cancelled transaction receipts, and I think he did this deliberately. He pressed the buttons a lot, a lot more than what a card machine requires for a typical transaction, and he never handed the machine to me for my pin for my credit cards. He only did for the debit, and again, he pressed the buttons constantly after I returned it to him, which he is not required to do. He plainly wanted cash. I don’t know why, but that is what it appears to me.

So tomorrow I will call the inspectors in the city of Ottawa to say what happened. And when inspectors pull his cab over and find the damn machine working… then what?

I am frustrated, upset that he had contact with my credit and debit cards, and was deceiving me. And to top this all off I never got a receipt for the cash transaction, and so cannot claim this ride for my expenses for the business trip I was on. Yeah, great day.

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