Charging Above the Fare allowed
It is an offence for the driver of a Hackney Carriage (taxi with a yellow or white plate at the rear of the vehicle stating that it is a Hackney Carriage, usually with a sign on top, which can be hailed in the street) or any person having charge or care of the Hackney Carriage to charge more than the fare that is allowed by the Local Authority or Licensing Authority. They are fitted with a meter with the fare rates pre-set and it is unlawful to either change the rates or charge more than the meter states.
You can find out the fare from the local authority directly or through Google searching under either “taxi fare” or “hackney carriage fare” along with the name of the local authority. Please note that this is different to private taxis (which should be pre-booked and have a plate at the rear of the vehicle stating that it is licensed for private hire) which have no limits on the amounts they can charge. The idea is that private fares should be agreed at the time of booking and are therefore subject to the control of market forces.
Do I need an NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) for offences relating to any overcharge?
No, there is not a requirement for an NIP for the offence of overcharging a customer.
Fine up to £1000 for each offence, in addition to which the fare can apply for a refund of the overcharge.
If you have inadvertently overcharged due to a defective meter or other reason, we strongly advise you contact us for advice, as a defence would be dependant on the facts of the case. Therefore it is critical that the full circumstances of your case are examined to ensure your case is properly prepared. If you face an allegation, we advise you contact us to take specialist legal advice