Fergus Shepherd was visiting Paris with his wife and children during the half term holiday, when he when he was hit by the startling charge on his Mastercard.
He believes it was linked to short taxi ride he took between two of Paris’s most famous tourist spots.
He said: “We had a lovely week and of course I used the card to pay for a few things, it was only when we got home and I got the statement I saw that I had been charged €890 for a single payment, which I certainly hadn’t spent.
“When we looked at the time on the payment it was roughly the same time as we took a taxi from the Musée d’Orsay to the Pompidou centre.
“We took a licensed Paris taxi and the fare on the metre was about €15.
“The driver let us out around the corner because there were roadworks and I paid on my card using Chip and PIN, I didn’t see the amount properly on the card terminal, but I could see the metre amount and it was what I would expect for that journey.
“When I got home I saw the €890 charge and I called Mastercard and they said it was probably the taxi.”
The charge on the statement was listed to SumUp, the London-based tech company which provides card payment services to small businesses around the world – it is widely used in France by small businesses and freelance traders including taxi drivers, hairdressers, tradesmen and boutiques.
Fergus added: “Because the payment was a Chip and PIN one, Mastercard say they won’t refund me, SumUp say they will investigate and I have contacted both the Paris police and the Paris taxi drivers association, with no response yet.
“It’s a huge amount of money, not an amount I can afford to lose, and it’s really spoiled what was a lovely trip.”
Licensed Paris taxis have fixed rates that they have to charge for trips from Paris airports into the centre of town. Those prices vary slightly depending on whether the taxi is from Charles de Gaulle airport or Orly and where in Paris the passenger is heading. But €58 is the maximum.
Tourists in the city are often targeted by unlicensed drivers – especially at airports and train stations – who charge rip-off fares, including the driver who charged tourists from Hong Kong €230 to take them from Charles de Gaulle airport into the city centre.
The city of Paris has been attempting to clamp down on unlicenced drivers in recent months, with several cases going through the courts.
Tourists are advised to always use a licensed Paris taxi (or an Uber or other VTC) and never accept a lift from drivers who approach you at the airport or train station – licensed taxi drivers are banned from soliciting for trade, so only illegal drivers approach passengers.
Have you experienced unexplained card charges after visiting Paris? Share your experiences on [email protected]