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Ontario woman 'shocked' at $4.6K charge for 19-minute taxi ride on Caribbean vacation

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After returning from a vacation to the Dominican Republic, an Ontario couple said they were “shocked” to see they'd been charged $4,623 for a 19-minute taxi ride.

“I'm actually quite upset that they are not handling this situation well at all," Anastasia Brauer of Orangeville, Ont. told CTV News Toronto.

Brauer said she was travelling with her fiancé and that the trip went very well. On the last day, they said took a taxi recommended by their resort to the airport before Brauer said she paid the fare with her Bank of Montreal MasterCard.

“I put in my pin, I saw the amount that I was to pay, which was $36 USD, and after the transaction went through, I handed back the machine and we parted ways,” she said.

Days later, when she got home, she said she noticed a charge $4,623 on her credit statement for the taxi ride.

"It was a 19 minute trip and I feel like I should have driven across the Dominican five times to make that payment worthwhile," she said.

Brauer said when she contacted BMO to explain what happened she thought the charges would be reversed and was shocked when they weren't.

Brauer received a letter from the BMO Dispute Resolution Department which, in part, read, “we do not have any billing dispute rights to further your case. Unfortunately, we’re unable to process credits to your account.”

BMO said customers are responsible to ensure the correct amount is displayed on a point of sale terminal before authorizing a transaction. Brauer is adamant the amount she saw on the terminal was for $36 USD and says she feels the bank should do more to combat fraud.

"They should ramp up their security and they should really crack down on this and stop putting it (fraudulent activity) onto their customers," she said.

When CTV News reached out to BMO, a spokesperson said “We are in touch with our customer, [but] given the priority we place on customer confidentiality, we’re unable to disclose details of our conversation with our customer, but you are welcome to contact them for an update.

The bank underlined that “protecting credit card accounts is a partnership between customers and their bank.”

“Customers are responsible to ensure the correct amount is displayed on the point-of-sale terminals prior to inserting their credit card and entering their PIN to authorize a transaction. We encourage customers to be vigilant at all times,” the spokesperson said.

When CTV News reached back out to Brauer, she said she has now received a full refund from MasterCard of the $4,623 charge which she says was great news for her.

"My credit card has been refunded so that's good. I’m very thankful to have this resolved,” she said.

When paying with a credit card in another country, don't just check the amount on the payment machine, also make sure it's in the correct currency. You also may want to travel with cash to pay for certain items, so you don't have to use a credit card.

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