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Warning: Eastern Car Service from hotels — Brooklynian

Warning: Eastern Car Service from hotels

mods: can this be posted to park slope and gowanus forums too?

This weekend I had family visiting and they stayed at one of the new hotels in the neighborhood. Saturday, I called Eastern to set up a car to take them to LGA early Sunday morning. I requested an SUV since there were four of them plus luggage and the price Eastern gave me was a bit high, but I agreed because I figured it was because of the time and the SUV request.

Anyway, when the driver got them to LGA he gave them another price which was $15 more than I'd been told. It was early, they were not sure what to do, and the guy had their luggage in the back of the car. They told him the price we'd been quoted, but he called on the radio to the dispatcher to "confirm" the price. They gave the guy the higher amount and then called me when they landed back home.

So, I am pretty pissed at Eastern. This is clearly a scam to take advantage of tourists. Say what you will about whether or not they should have paid the higher price, but I understand that they were uncomfortable, and they shouldn't have even been put in that situation.

I went over to the Eastern location on 15th street to talk to them and that got me nowhere. I am going to file a complaint with the TLC and I've also talked to the hotel manager to let her know this is going on.

I'd hate for this to happen to any one else's friends or family. It is embarrassing and infuriating.

Needless to say, I won't be using Eastern anymore. That $15 upcharge just cost them a significant amount of business.


  • That really sucks. I guess the upside is that the car showed up and got them there on time. A screw up that somehow made them miss a flight could have made it worse, but I'm glad you're doing so much follow-up.

    Thanks for the warning. If nothing else, this reminds me to tell those visiting us to stick by the price we were first quoted and don't ask the price or offer money until the bags are on the curb. I take cabs to the airports several times a year and always just get a price on the phone (as you did) but have never had a driver try to up the price.

  • This is not a scam. This routinely happens with all the car companies (trust me I take cabs to LGA several times a month and this has happened with Arecibo, Eastern, International, Evelyn etc etc). It has more to do with miscommunication than trying to swindle you or tourists.

    After I was heated about this happening to me and mine- I asked one of the cabbies why there was this discrepancy between what the dispatchers quote and what cabbies ask. He said dispatchers routinely lowball the cost of a ride so that they wont lose customers- they dont care if this shafts the cabbies. Cabbies will quote you a higher price to see if they can get it and that also takes into account their costs( gas, tolls etc). Cabbies know that if they see you face to face they can also bargain with you if you dont like the initial price they quote you.

    How to avoid this in the future:

    *Ask if there will be any surcharges for extra bags/oversize items, asking for a minivan, using a credit card etc as these are all factors than can drive up the cost of a ride.

    *Make sure to have the number for the dispatcher and give it to friends and family members whom you call cabs for

    * Reconfirm the price the dispatcher gave you either when you first enter the car or after your bags are on the sidewalk at your destination. If there is a disagreement get the dispatcher on the phone, explain the situation and have them talk to the driver.

  • Depending on what you're taking with you and how many people are going it's up to the driver how much he wants to charge you.

    Although most car services should have a set rate for going to the airport.

    I like Arecibo Car Service

    Always on time and a good rate.

    170 5th Avenue Brooklyn NY (718) 783-6465

  • Yeah, I pretty much only call a car service to go to the airport, and I use Arecibo or Continental and the rates have hardly gone up in the few years since I switched from public transit to cars for getting to the airport. Going other places I feel like the rates changes with the wind.

  • Trumystic said:

    This is not a scam.


    He said dispatchers routinely lowball the cost of a ride so that they wont lose customers.

    Uh, this sounds like the very definition of a scam.

    I agree with always confirming the price before getting in the car.

  • I think it would be a scam if the driver had initially agreed to the price quoted by the dispatcher. If the driver did confirm and then later upped the price when he has your bags- then yes I would agree its a scam.

    If the driver has not even heard the price quoted by the dispatcher- then its lack of communication between driver and dispatcher or between driver and passenger.

    Good luck with the TLC. I havent found them helpful.

  • Trumystic said:

    If the driver has not even heard the price quoted by the dispatcher- then its lack of communication between driver and dispatcher or between driver and passenger.

    If the dispatcher intentionally gives you wrong information (what's the word for that? Oh yeah - LIES) about the price, it's a scam. The driver's hands may be clean, but it's still a scam. Ever heard of "bait and switch"?