A Refund for the Rip-Off Cab Ride

Palm Beach County government may be rife with corruption and short on cash, but it recently managed to help one citizen with a vital task: getting a refund for an ill-fated cab ride.

Last month, we introduced you to the sad tale of a 30-year-old Boca woman who paid $50 for a ride from the Palm Beach County Jail in West Palm to a tow lot less than four miles away. After being arrested on a charge of a DUI, her car had been confiscated, and when she emerged from jail the next day, she found a West Coast Taxi cab waiting outside. She hopped in, then watched in horror as the cab's meter raced past the tab for a week's worth of groceries.

Afterward, she filed complaints with every government consumer protection agency she could think of, worried that the cab company would scam more unsuspecting customers stranded at the jail. Her diligence paid off. Last week, she got a call from someone at the Palm Beach County Division of Consumer Affairs asking where they should send her refund check for $36.

"Of course, I got superexcited because I never thought I would get anything out of this," said the woman, who did not want her name published.

Apparently, the consumer affairs investigators had no trouble getting the money back after putting in a call to West Coast Taxi. "[The company] said it was some sort of misunderstanding and just sent them a check," the woman said an agency official told her. Anesson Joseph, president of West Coast Taxi, could not be reached for comment this morning.

The experience has restored the woman's faith in local government, but she's not buying the cabdriver's tale of a "misunderstanding."

"Unless he misunderstood that I didn't want to get ripped off," she says.

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