Monday, July 6, 2009

NSW Police-Crime Stoppers

Faruque Ahmed
P O Box – 349
Alexandria – 2015
Mobile: 041 091 4118

Mr. Peter Price
NSW Police-Crime Stoppers Australia
1 Charles St
Parramatta, NSW 2150

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Subject: Electronic Skimming, Taxi Industry and Taxi Council P/L Manipulation

Dear Sir

I write in regards to the ongoing collaboration your department is carrying out into credit card “skimming” supposedly in practice within the NSW taxi industry, allegedly by some taxi drivers.

I provide a copy of a recent article in 'Meter" magazine, April- May 2009, Page 3 which is put out by the NSW Taxi Council Ltd who I understand your department has had some dealings with.

This organisation clearly does not represent the wishes and interests of all those parties, persons and stakeholders who participate in the NSW Taxi Industry.

It is alarming to read the article at the point where it appears to put the forward the purported, "aware(ness)" shown by your own organisation and of the "police" in general. It presents a number of points which is said to relay to drivers "the growing community concern about credit card fraud and (how drivers) should take steps to ensure (that taxi drivers) integrity is never questioned - see the checklist on this page."

As you can see under the checklist headed, "For Electronic Transactions" it says in part at the points I wish to comment on;

Point 2 Always use an EFTPOS machine which is anchored to the taxi.

Point 3 Use a Cabcharge EFTPOS terminal which will ensure that the receipt you provide has the details required by the customer, trip details including pick up and destination which are transferred from GPS co ordinates.

Point 4 Issue a second receipt to the customer.

Point 6 Always use emergency (Green) Dockets when cards cannot be processed electronically.

I will address each point in the order they have been presented above but reiterate the article to any reasonable person would be construed as being directed to the NSW Taxi Industry and to the general public by the very limited view and limited membership that organisation claims to represent, and that that view put forward by them, is then made out to be made out on your own behalf.

Please be aware the NSW Taxi Council Ltd is housed in the same building that is owned by Cabcharge Australia known as Cabcharge House (Note it is not called "Taxi Council House") at 152 Riley St, East Sydney NSW 2010.

Cabcharge Australia as you may know own CCN Taxis Combined (the largest taxi fleet in NSW) they also own ABC Taxis and other taxi networks and have a relationship and ownership of various Transport and Bus companies such as Westbus via Cabcharge DelGro(Singapore) P/L.

The point being they represent the vested interests of the biased viewpoint of a handful of individuals who now are high handedly attempting to push forward their own wrongful, untruthful view as being your very own department’s view.

If their view is in fact not completely in alignment with your department's view and policy, it would be expected at a minimum you advise the NSW Taxi Council Ltd forthwith of your objection.

More importantly it would be expected that you seek the input of representatives from other stakeholder organisations and from individuals from the NSW taxi industry before going any further with your 'initiative" into the taxi industry and the apparent but yet to be substantiated related credit and debit card “skimming” practice. It would be prudent to immediately cease the rollout or approval to install any such proposed, “Safe Swipe” or "Warning Stickers" in taxis, until that wider and necessary consultation takes place.

I now go back to the numbered, itemised points. I provide detail and ask relevant questions.

Point 2.Why should (only) "an EFTPOS machine" be used "that is anchored to the taxi?"
Are you aware that bailee taxi drivers (the vast majority of drivers nowadays) for the purposes of taxation are not placed squarely in the same category as employees? That they do not 'work for" nor are they "employed by" the accredited taxi operator for any given taxi in NSW?

That they in fact work for themselves and each and every one of them has their own ABN number, usually but not always supplied to them as a Sole Trader?

That they are personally required to and do forward GST payment for each and every fare they carry and that they also forward their assessed Income tax to the ATO?

Are you further aware all bailor lessee taxi plate holders (those that lease the plate and may also actually own the vehicle it is attached to) also have to forward both GST and Income Tax to the ATO, similar to the above mentioned bailee taxi drivers.

Are you aware it is current and accepted practice that many of both these categories of taxi drivers rightfully and legally choose as individual business entities/persons, to not participate in the Cabcharge EFTPOS machine installed in any NSW taxi cab?

For to enforce compulsory usage of any accredited operator/owner or taxi network installed EFTPOS machine onto these individual business owners and ABN holders would be a clear restraint of trade and would amount to "third line forcing." This practice would as the NSW Taxi Council Ltd well knows is an illegal practice as found by the Supreme Court of Australia.

Further to this point are you aware that as current and accepted and legal sanctioned practice allows many taxi drivers use electronically linked EFTPOS terminals within taxis Australia wide? That when they go about the operation of their own business when taking on bailment using another parties "business", which is a registered taxi cab, that they use EFTPOS terminals or machines that are often not "anchored to the taxi?" As provided by TaxiEpay and GM Cabs and others for example.

Are you then saying that the NSW Police- Crime Stoppers Australia the organisation you represent, says that only EFTPOS terminals that are "anchored to the taxi(s)" are the only EFTPOS terminals or machines you allow or say that should be allowed to process credit and debit cards in those vehicles?

Because that is what this article is saying you are saying.

Are you saying non anchored EFTPOS terminals in taxis must surely be operated by illegal, fraudulently acting drivers?

On to Point 3 from the article

Are you, your department (Crime Stoppers) and the NSW Police saying that only "Cabcharge EFTPOS terminal(s)...will ensure" that, the "receipt" that is "provide(d) has the details required" by any requesting customer"?

Are you aware of the ability of the aforementioned unanchored, non Cabcharge EFTPOS terminals and of their ability to issue the very same receipts with any details that may be requested or "required by the customer" in regards to "pick up and destination"?

Are you aware there is no requirement under any regulation for receipts to have "pick up or destination details" that are "obtained or transferred from (any) GPS co ordinates "?

All Taxi networks issue stand alone, business card size fare and detail receipts where pick up and destination details can be written by drivers for each fare. This like the additional paper issued receipts from non anchored EFTPOS and non Cabcharge terminals can be issued or made out in a very short time. They are often given together for any customer who so requests them both.

Regarding Point 4 Duplicate or "second receipt(s) to the customer" can be issued by drivers from non anchored and non Cabcharge EFTPOS terminals also in a very short time.

If these are required for personal records that may be held by the passenger or for handing over to any accountant and such like, then these secondary business card size receipts, can also be issued. ABN numbers for each individual driver are already placed beforehand on those cards by each driver and this practice has been in place for many years.

Regarding Point 6 Cards that, "cannot be processed electronically" by EFTPOS machines can still be "processed" for eventual payment manually and this can be done by other non "Green Dockets."

These "Green Dockets" issued by Cabcharge are not the only "dockets" that a taxi driver can use. For example GM Cabs based in Sydney issue their own dockets that a taxi driver can use for credit and debit cards. GM Cabs also issue their own hand held processing machine for use with these dockets.

Why then are you allowing the NSW Taxi Council Ltd to co opt your organisation into supporting only their own chosen EFTPOS processing machine ie Cabcharge, as the only one named and supported by your organisation and by yourself when they are beholden to, unduly influenced by and are often one and the same persons as in Cabcharge or as significant holders of Cabcharge shares as they are members of the NSW Taxi Council Ltd ?

Are you a promoter of anti competitive practices?

Nothing less than a retraction via an article in the next issue of meter Magazine is required. An official rebut via a Press Release from your organisation on this matter is required.

In short your organisation to all appearances thus far has been misled and under informed by the NSW Taxi Council Ltd.

Regrettably for you and the organisation you represent you have failed to widely consult on this issue and that wide consultation is something that would have been expected to have occurred by any reasonable or thinking person.

I cordially advise that you prioritise the following;

Immediate suspension and retraction of this, "Safe Swiping" or "Warning stickers" distribution for taxis until further notice

I request that you respond to me at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely

Faruque Ahmed

Hon Bob Debus Minister for Home Affairs
George Brandis Senator Shadow Attorney General
Hon Tony Kelly, NSW Minister for Police
Barry O'Farrell NSW Opposition Leader (Liberals)
Mike Gallacher NSW Shadow Minister for the Police (Liberals)
Gladys Berejiklian NSW Shadow Minister for Transport
Clover Moore NSW (Independent) and Lord Mayor of Sydney
Lee Rhiannon MLC NSW (Greens)
Alan Jones 2GB Broadcaster
Steve Price 2UE Broadcaster
Linton Besser, Journalist, SMH

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