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Blue Velvet
Jan 21, 2009, 02:44 PM
NEW YORK (AP) The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is investigating an incident where a California woman said she was forced to use her iPod as payment for a cab ride. Natalie Lenhart, 20, of Sacramento, took a cab to the airport in early December, but her credit card was declined.

The driver called 911, and Port Authority police responded. Lenhart was told she had to give the driver some compensation, so she turned over the iPod.

A spokeswoman for the Port Authority said the incident was being investigated by the internal affairs office. The story was first reported by the New York Post.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/8299846


So, would you hand over your iPod first?



MUSIC 'FARE' WAS UNFAIR FOR RIDER
COPS MADE HER GIVE UP IPOD AFTER PAY SNAFU

Talk about music piracy.

Uniformed JFK Airport officers forced a teary-eyed, 20-year-old woman to surrender her red iPod Nano as cab fare - or be "taken downtown" - when her credit card was declined, The Post has learned.

Natalie Lenhart, of Sacramento, Calif., said the $140 music player, full of "oldies" by The Beatles and James Taylor, was valued at more than $90 more than the final cab fare, with tip, that she racked up last month.

The driver, Mohammed Islam, said he still has the iPod and wants to give it back in the presence of a Taxi and Limousine Commission official.

"What am I going to do with the iPod? There's no ear phones!" said Islam, who has been driving for three years.

Islam said he called 911 after Lenhart swiped her credit card 20 times at Kennedy Airport, and Port Authority officers responded. Both passenger and driver said an officer told Lenhart she "had to give the driver some compensation" if she didn't have the money for the fare, which the cabby recalls being about $49.

The TLC said the driver was innocent of any wrongdoing because the officer "forced the driver to take the iPod as payment," according to a commission official.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/01212009/news/regionalnews/music_fare_was_unfair_for_rider_151174.htm

Sonicjay
Jan 21, 2009, 03:10 PM
haha, bizarre..

PlaceofDis
Jan 21, 2009, 03:20 PM
that is totally messed up. i didnt know that this form of 'bartering' would ever be acceptable.

BoyBach
Jan 21, 2009, 03:21 PM
My first impressions were that it's a bit of an overreaction to call the police following a credit card rejection, followed by an equally silly decision to force the customer to hand over her iPod in compensation.

However, having thought about it, the more interesting question for me is concerning its legality. The customer and taxi driver have entered a contract to take her from A to B in exchange for an agreed fee. When she is unable to pay the fee, how and who decides what can used in recompense? Wouldn't they have needed to agree upon a value for the iPod? What about a receipt and what would it say? Is she entitled to change? Do we have any lawyers, or people with experience/knowledge in contract law, that could explain/clarify?


So, would you hand over your iPod first?

This is a family forum, so I couldn't possibly give my answer! ;)

Consultant
Jan 21, 2009, 03:40 PM
"What am I going to do with the iPod? There's no ear phones!" said Islam, who has been driving for three years."

Taxi driver fail
- Can buy headphones
- Can sell it

Passenger fail
- Cash? Traveler's checks?
- Different credit card?
- ATM card?

teflon
Jan 21, 2009, 06:45 PM
I think instead of forcing the lady to hand over the iPod as compensation, the police should have made the lady hand over something close to $50 in value and use it as a guarantee of payment. The lady would get the money and pay the cab driver later and get her item back, or the cab driver will keep the item. Say after 3 months with no calls from the lady about the payment he gets to keep it and sell it.

Gray-Wolf
Jan 21, 2009, 06:46 PM
Thing is, if she gets the money up, with a tip, she could get it back. No credit card? Trade a pod :D

Abstract
Jan 21, 2009, 08:35 PM
If you can't pay, then you should give the cab driver something that's at least as valuable as the amount owed. It can't be just anything, either. She shouldn't be able to give the guy her $60 purse, or $75 make-up kit, as that isn't worth anything to (most) men.

I don't know what the right thing to do is in this situation, but giving up her iPod was probably the best thing to do at the time. To a taxi driver, cash is probably worth more to the driver than the iPod, so if you get to your destination and find that you really don't have any means of paying for the ride, the item she has to exchange in compensation for the $50 cab ride should be worth a lot more than $50 to make it worthwhile for the driver.


Anyway, I think it's fair, but perhaps they should have traded phone numbers and emails so that they could make an exchange for cash later.

notjustjay
Jan 21, 2009, 09:15 PM
Anyway, I think it's fair, but perhaps they should have traded phone numbers and emails so that they could make an exchange for cash later.

I think this is the first thing they should have done. With the police as their witnesses. Make sure the bill is settled within, say, 3 days, or charge her with whatever punishment/fine you get for stiffing a cab fare.

pooky
Jan 22, 2009, 12:33 AM
Isn't calling 911 for a deadbeat cab fare a HUGE overreaction? Maybe NY is different, but in CA they have laws against unnecessary usage of the emergency line. If it's really egregious, they will charge you for their time. So where's the fine against the cab driver for wasting the time of the emergency dispatch folks?

teflon
Jan 22, 2009, 06:58 AM
Isn't calling 911 for a deadbeat cab fare a HUGE overreaction? Maybe NY is different, but in CA they have laws against unnecessary usage of the emergency line. If it's really egregious, they will charge you for their time. So where's the fine against the cab driver for wasting the time of the emergency dispatch folks?

It was airport officers, not emergency dispatch cops.

pooky
Jan 22, 2009, 09:21 AM
It was airport officers, not emergency dispatch cops.

That's who responded on the scene (which might explain the idiot reaction of the "police" in the situation).

But when you call 911, you don't get the police, you get emergency dispatch. Their job is to route the call to the appropriate place, in this case the Port-a-cops. Wasting their time is significant, because it reduces the time they have to route real emergency situations to real first responders.

sushi
Jan 22, 2009, 09:26 AM
Sometimes cards won't swipe.

Couldn't they have just entered the numbers manually?

Weird story.

mkrishnan
Jan 22, 2009, 09:27 AM
"What am I going to do with the iPod? There's no ear phones!" said Islam, who has been driving for three years.

I think this gentleman would fit in in the iPhone forums just fine. :D We should give him a guest account.

It sounds like it was basically just used as collateral. I don't feel particularly sorry for her, and I'm not impressed by her crying job trying to get out of paying her cab fare. If you're going on a major trip / using a cab for such a long distance, you ought to at least have multiple forms of payment with you -- like another ATM card or something that can act as a credit card, or, god forbid, cash. Or be willing to be taken to an ATM machine by the driver to get the cash (and pay for the additional cab fare involved).

She should get her iPod back unharrassed, but she should pay her cab fare first.

(To Sushi's point, yeah, you would think so, so I'm guessing the card was actually declined, and didn't just fail to read.)

Blue Velvet
Jan 22, 2009, 09:31 AM
According to The New York Post, this wasn't the only iPod she owned. Now we can really unload on her. ;)

mkrishnan
Jan 22, 2009, 09:40 AM
According to The New York Post, this wasn't the only iPod she owned. Now we can really unload on her. ;)

Let she among us who owns only one iPod be the first to cast a stone. ;)

sushi
Jan 22, 2009, 09:51 AM
(To Sushi's point, yeah, you would think so, so I'm guessing the card was actually declined, and didn't just fail to read.)
Okay, if it was declined, then it makes sense that she needed to provide some collateral of some sort.

Your other points are spot on.

Amateur travelers.

According to The New York Post, this wasn't the only iPod she owned. Now we can really unload on her. ;)
Let she among us who owns only one iPod be the first to cast a stone. ;)
Snort. Ouch that hurt. :)

mkrishnan
Jan 22, 2009, 10:22 AM
Snort. Ouch that hurt. :)

Don't worry, I'm sure Sesshi will come in soon. :eek: ;)

SFStateStudent
Jan 22, 2009, 10:38 AM
Since when does "the po-po" have the authority to threaten someone with arrest for failing to pay a just debt? If anything, the police should have taken a field interview card, then allow the cabdriver and the woman to settle their differences in court or negotiating "a promise to pay" or IOU. Thank God the officer didn't have a taser or a canister of pepper spray. I wonder what the policy is on "use of force" in this situation? :eek:

mkrishnan
Jan 22, 2009, 10:44 AM
Since when does "the po-po" have the authority to threaten someone with arrest for failing to pay a just debt? If anything, the police should have taken a field interview card, then allow the cabdriver and the woman to settle their differences in court or negotiating "a promise to pay" or IOU. Thank God the officer didn't have a taser or a canister of pepper spray. I wonder what the policy is on "use of force" in this situation? :eek:

You seriously think that some woman who was forced to provide collateral when she was unable to pay her taxi fare is the next Abner Louima or BART shooting? I think the police need to be held to high standards, but this hardly seems like an example of criminal police misconduct or excessive force. No one's safety or civil liberties was violated here.

SFStateStudent
Jan 22, 2009, 12:28 PM
Certainly, this is not in the same context of the Rodney King beating or the BART Shooting on New Year's Day; since police abuse of authority doesn't always demand that violence or brutality be a prerequisite. Clearly, the police officer has the discretion to arrest LENHART for "failure to pay for services" (probably a class-B misdemeanor; at least here in California), but to force an individual to give up personal property in lieu of the fare, along with the threat of arrest; the officer is participating in a misappropriation of personal property under the color of law. The seizing of personal property on behalf of the cab driver, is a violation of LENHART'S civil rights. A police officer with a gun and a badge tells LENHART to turn over the $140 iPod or be arrested; I'm thinking, "do everything the police officer with the gun tells me to do!" IMHO :eek:

theBB
Jan 22, 2009, 01:43 PM
How do you even know the cop forced the iPod trade? He may have threatened arrest unless some bartering took place and she may have picked the iPod as the only portable valuable that the cab driver would agree that has value at least equal to the fare. If that is the case, I see no problem.

synth3tik
Jan 22, 2009, 01:52 PM
Sure beats the twin cities where the cabbie will just run you over after non-payment.

Ok so it has not happened in a year or two, but for a while man, ditching a cab meant at least a few stitches.

Consultant
Jan 22, 2009, 02:01 PM
Lenhart was told she had to give the driver some compensation, so she turned over the iPod.

She was told to give driver compensation. Not at gun point. Not "give the driver the ipod at gun point" that some backseat lawyer wannabe are speculating.

She could have gave the correct amount in cash but didn't. The woman turned over the iPod.

Settle it in court instead of taking collateral? It typically takes $40 to file something with court, before the cost of lawyers.

shadownddust
Jan 22, 2009, 02:01 PM
I don't know, giving up an ipod before a flight is a really big thing. I might have just given him one of my kidney's instead.

But seriously, there should have been some sort of IOU situation. She should have some sort of verifiable ID with her that the police could have checked to make sure she was who she said she was and then continue on with their days. I'm sure the cab driver could have made up that amount of money in fares rather than going through all this trouble, and then received the 50 bucks from her three days later or something.

SFStateStudent
Jan 22, 2009, 02:20 PM
How do you even know the cop forced the iPod trade? He may have threatened arrest unless some bartering took place and she may have picked the iPod as the only portable valuable that the cab driver would agree that has value at least equal to the fare. If that is the case, I see no problem.

She was told to give driver compensation. Not at gun point. Not "give the driver the ipod at gun point" that some backseat lawyer wannabe are speculating. She could have gave the correct amount in cash but didn't. The woman turned over the iPod. Settle it in court instead of taking collateral? It typically takes $40 to file something with court, before the cost of lawyers.
Officers allegedly forced iPod payment

NEW YORK, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- A New York cabbie says he wants to return an iPod Nano he claims uniformed airport officers forced him to accept as a fare. Mohammed Islam said he wants to return the iPod Nano to Natalie Lenhart of Sacramento under the supervision of a Taxi and Limousine Commission official, the New York Post reported Wednesday. The driver said he called 911 after Lenhart swiped her payment card 20 times in the taxi cab at John F. Kennedy International Airport but was rejected each time. Islam and Lenhart both said Port Authority officers responded and told Lenhart she "had to give the driver some compensation" if she did not have money for the fare and forced her to surrender her iPod Nano, which Lenhart said was worth about $90 more than the fare plus tip. Islam said he wants to trade the music player for the amount of the original fare. "What am I going to do with the iPod? There's no ear phones," he said. The New York Port Authority said the incident is under investigation. "As of now, we have no evidence of any wrongdoing" the Port Authority said in a written statement. "However, this is against our policy if it happened as reported, and we will investigate and take appropriate action if it's found that someone didn't follow proper procedures."

Just short of having the police report in front of me; or personally witnessing the incident, my opinion is all I can offer based upon news accounts. Additionally, a misdemeanor committed "not-in-the-presence" of a police officer requires a Citizen's Arrest. Again, IMHO...

benthewraith
Jan 22, 2009, 02:32 PM
Why not just take her to a drive thru bank to make a withdrawal? Surely it can't be that difficult.

Blue Velvet
Jan 22, 2009, 02:38 PM
Let she among us who owns only one iPod be the first to cast a stone. ;)


I own only one iPod...

She's utterly stupid and thoroughly deserves what she gets, I hope she cried as the cabbie ran his hands over her iPod's click-wheel and mocked her cringingly embarrassing and soppy playlists.

;)

DavieBoy
Jan 22, 2009, 02:45 PM
well, she was at an international airport so I would not take an IOU, you have to get something that you know has resale value..


As for the cops, they probably did not want to do any paperwork....

They probably thought it was a quick solution to the problem. By the way, they are among the highest paid police officers in the country.

Port Authority Police of NY & NJ = Police Heaven.

mkrishnan
Jan 22, 2009, 02:47 PM
I own only one iPod...

She's utterly stupid and thoroughly deserves what she gets, I hope she cried as the cabbie ran his hands over her iPod's click-wheel and mocked her cringingly embarrassing and soppy playlists.

;)

I think I'm in love. :eek: ;)

dornoforpyros
Jan 22, 2009, 03:05 PM
Weird that the cabby called 911 over this. Seems like he should have taken an imprint of the credit card and her phone number and just had the cab company deal with it.

Consultant
Jan 22, 2009, 03:38 PM
I think most people with reason understands
- Taking collateral for money owed is logical.

If you don't think so, why don't I borrow some money from you and leave you with nothing? Why don't I borrow your car and leave you with a piece of gum?


Weird that the cabby called 911 over this. Seems like he should have taken an imprint of the credit card and her phone number and just had the cab company deal with it.

If the credit card is no good, an imprint does nothing.

SFStateStudent
Jan 22, 2009, 06:46 PM
It sounds like it was basically just used as collateral...

I think most people with reason understands
- Taking collateral for money owed is logical...

Collateral is probably not the most appropriate word, since LENHART was not allowed to pledge something as security for repayment of a loan, to be forfeited in the event of default. LENHART was forced to forfeit personal property to secure a debt for services, under the threat of arrest for a misdemeanor offense by a police officer. Once her iPod was taken as due payment LENHART is left with no course of action to retrieve her property, so the bottom-line is that her iPod is not collateral, since there is no intent on the part of the cab driver to return the iPod, except for "Bad Press."

theBB
Jan 22, 2009, 09:49 PM
Once her iPod was taken as due payment LENHART is left with no course of action to retrieve her property, so the bottom-line is that her iPod is not collateral, since there is no intent on the part of the cab driver to return the iPod, except for "Bad Press."
What is your solution then? If I was the cab driver, I would not accept a hand written IOU from a stranger living on the other coast. If she wants to get her iPod back, she could try to contact him later. She would have to trust him that he would return it upon proper payment, but he trusted her to make a payment after driving her to the airport and she failed, so it sounds fair.

SFStateStudent
Jan 23, 2009, 12:23 AM
What is your solution then? If I was the cab driver, I would not accept a hand written IOU from a stranger living on the other coast. If she wants to get her iPod back, she could try to contact him later. She would have to trust him that he would return it upon proper payment, but he trusted her to make a payment after driving her to the airport and she failed, so it sounds fair.

Well, it's not like she darted from the cab to avoid paying the fare. Her intention was to pay the fare with a credit card, and it should be the responsibility of the cabbie to ensure that there are backup procedures to ensure that the fare is "payable" by their current methods of payment. Whether it's by check, money order, cash, credit card or debit card, the vendor or cab driver has a responsibility to ensure that those methods meet the needs of their customers. Should the cabbie have had the responsibility to ensure that her payment method was doable (not sure if that's a word) or not, and if it's not, warn the customer or refuse that particular fare. Could the cabbie have called in the credit card to another driver or dispatcher and handle the transaction in that manner v. painting their customers into a corner with few, if any optional payment methods? I've heard of other customers in similar situations in which they negotiated with their cabbie and sent the money to them once the got home and attached a rather nice tip on top of the fare. Several attempts by LENHART's mother to speak with Islam have failed to work out a payment of the $49 fare and the return of her daughter's iPod. We'll hear more from the Internal Affairs Division of the Port Authority, when they complete their internal investigation...

iParis
Jan 23, 2009, 12:30 AM
I would give up my body before I gave up my iPod. :p

Mr. Giver '94
Jan 23, 2009, 01:00 AM
Not to be stereotypical, but Mohammed Islam....I mean come on....LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Hope she gets her Nano back though.

SFStateStudent
Jan 23, 2009, 01:32 AM
+1 ^^^ My sentiments exactly. But, then again I didn't write the story for the NY Post...

Abstract
Jan 23, 2009, 02:22 AM
Whether it's by check, money order, cash, credit card or debit card, the vendor or cab driver has a responsibility to ensure that those methods meet the needs of their customers.

No it's not. Where the heck did you get that idea?


The cab driver gave her 2 possible ways to pay, which is more than enough, and yet she couldn't pay using either method. Even if it was her credit card that didn't work, it was still her fault. In fact, I didn't even know you could pay a taxi driver using a credit card. I pay with cash, which is pretty hard to screw up. You either have the money, or you don't. There's no FAIL! when you use money.

You want him to accept cheques? That's funny.

SFStateStudent
Jan 23, 2009, 02:48 AM
No it's not. Where the heck did you get that idea? The cab driver gave her 2 possible ways to pay, which is more than enough, and yet she couldn't pay using either method. Even if it was her credit card that didn't work, it was still her fault. In fact, I didn't even know you could pay a taxi driver using a credit card. I pay with cash, which is pretty hard to screw up. You either have the money, or you don't. There's no FAIL! when you use money. You want him to accept cheques? That's funny.

"NYC taxis are required to have their technology package in good working order, and when it’s not, they’re not supposed to be picking up fares.
The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) states in their rules, “if the taximeter is equipped to accept credit or debit card payments for fares, a driver may not pick up or transport a passenger when the taximeter is incapable of accepting or processing credit or debit card transactions.” The exception to the rule is if the driver informs the passenger he can’t take card payments, prior to the beginning of the ride, and gives the passenger the opportunity to find other transportation.
Moreover, the rules state, “In the event that the wireless payment equipment used to accept payment by credit and debit cards is inoperable at the destination of a trip as a result of a technical problem in the system’s communication network that is not related to the equipment in the taxicab, the customer has the option of either (i) paying cash or (ii) requesting the taxicab driver continue to a location where the wireless payment system may communicate with its network.”
If the driver needs to go to another location to run the credit card, the driver is not permitted to charge the passenger for the extra ride.
1. The driver didn’t follow taxi commission rules by not making an attempt to move to another location where the card would go through.
2. If the driver knew the machine was having problems he violated the rules by not informing the passenger the machine wasn’t working right and giving her the option to not take the ride.
3. The Port Authority Police exceeded their authority by threatening to arrest her for non-payment. The young lady wanted to pay, but the driver’s equipment didn’t permit it. The driver was violating the law, and they should have acknowledged that.
4. The girl’s inexperience showed in that she didn’t get the name of all people concerned, badge numbers, etc. If it would have been me, I would have been on my cell phone to the Taxi Commission immediately to seek their help. Also I suspect she could have been somewhat more assertive with the PA police explaining that she wanted to pay but that his machine wasn’t working, and he never told her that before taking her as a passenger.
I think the Taxi Commission’s staff has not done their duty or best to resolve the problem satisfactorily, especially considering the driver definitely violated their rules by not moving the cab to another location to see if the card would go through. Based on what the young lady was told by the card company, it would seem that moving the cab could very well have immediately resolved the payment problem."

Happened to stumble across this, but I'm not sure if it totally addresses your initial statement...;)

TwinCities Dan
Jan 23, 2009, 02:52 AM
Sure beats the twin cities where the cabbie will just run you over after non-payment.

Ok so it has not happened in a year or two, but for a while man, ditching a cab meant at least a few stitches.

Ahhh...The Heartland of the U.S. of A!

;) :p :o

SFStateStudent
Jan 23, 2009, 03:10 AM
From the New York Post:

http://www.nypost.com/seven/01222009/news/regionalnews/fare_ly_dumb_jfk_cops_botched_ipod__tuss_151326.htm


Almost RESOLVED...:cool:

Xfujinon
Jan 23, 2009, 03:07 PM
Not to be stereotypical, but Mohammed Islam....I mean come on....LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Hope she gets her Nano back though.


I know. I don't find it funny in a mean-spirited way, as I don't think there is anything wrong with that name.

But, I would certainly find it odd if I met someone named Christian Jesus, or Israel Jew, or perhaps Joseph Mormon Smith.

Well, I've met a few Joseph Smiths, but in any case...

Abstract
Jan 23, 2009, 03:23 PM
'Xenu Scientology' sounds pretty cool. :p So does Skywalker Jedi.



Mohammed is the world's most common name, so that's not very surprising. I have also met quite a few Mohammeds.

The surname 'Islam' is.....well.........not sure what to think, really.

madoka
Jan 24, 2009, 03:30 PM
From the New York Post:

http://www.nypost.com/seven/01222009/news/regionalnews/fare_ly_dumb_jfk_cops_botched_ipod__tuss_151326.htm

Congradulations Natalie Lenhart! You've now immortalized your name and pic on the internet. Now whenever a future employer, co-worker, friend, potential date, etc. looks you up, they'll see you're a whiney, irresponsible drama queen. :p

http://www.nypost.com/seven/01222009/photos/new0i.jpg

BoyBach
Jan 25, 2009, 07:44 PM
James Taylor offers fan new iPod

Folk singer James Taylor is giving a fan a new mp3 player after she had to give up her iPod to a New York taxi driver in lieu of payment.

Natalie Lenhart's credit card was declined after a $49 (36) trip to the airport and was forced by officers at the scene to hand over her player.

The red iPod nano was loaded with old tunes including songs by Taylor.

Taylor told the New York Post he would send Lenhart a new iPod filled with his songs, along with a personal note.

...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7849979.stm


:)

anjinha
Jan 26, 2009, 01:31 PM
I would give up my body before I gave up my iPod. :p

+1

SFStateStudent
Jan 26, 2009, 11:01 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7849979.stm:)

+1 ^^^ Right on James Taylor; Lenhart lives about 1 1/2 hours north of my residence, hopefully she'll get local news coverage on Taylor's gift...