Cabbies Sue Companies Over Tips

     CHICAGO (CN) – Eight cab companies took more than $1 million from cabdrivers by skimming 5 percent off every tip paid with a credit card, eight cabbies claim in a class action.
     Lead plaintiff Innocent Adiemeli sued the “taxi affiliations” known as Blue Ribbon, City Service, Flash, Choice, Globe, Koam, Sun and Dispatch, in Cook County Chancery Court.
     Cabbies in Chicago have had to accept payment by credit card since 2002, according to the complaint. The cab companies may charge a 5 percent processing fee, but the cabbies say the 5 percent fee applies only to the fare, not to tips also charged to the card.
     For drivers who work for a cab company, the fare, plus tip, is credited to the cab company, which then distributes the money to the drivers.
     “The taxicabs operating within the affiliations of Blue Ribbon, City Service, Flash, Choice, Globe, Koam, Sun and Dispatch all have the required equipment for processing credit and debit cards installed in all the taxicabs operating within the respective affiliation.
     “The receipts presented show the amount of the charge that was paid for the fare and also show separately the amount given not as part of the fare but as a gratuity or tip to the driver,” the class claims.
     “Defendants, however, refuse to separate out the gratuity, when calculating the amount to charge the driver for a processing fee.”
     The cabbies claim that their companies “are overcharging beyond the limits set by the governing regulations because the Chicago Regulatory Provisions limit the amount that can be charged as a service charge to the driver to 5 percent of the fare. Plaintiffs contend that taking 5 percent of their gratuities and tips is wrongful and in violation of the Chicago Regulatory Provisions.”
     The cabbies estimate the damage at more than $1 million. They want the money, and damages for conversion and unjust enrichment.
     They are represented by Clayton Voegtle, of Libertyville.

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