Penticton taxi wars take dirty tricks to the internet | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton taxi wars take dirty tricks to the internet

Balraj Gill of Penticton's Eco Taxi. Gill says a hijacked Google page is costing him 50 per cent of his business as his phone number was replaced by a competitor's.
February 25, 2019 - 7:00 PM

PENTICTON - The owner of a Penticton taxi service says a former employee has hacked his web page, rerouting his phone number to a rival taxi company.

Eco Taxi cab company owner Balraj Gill says the problem began a few weeks ago following the dismissal of one of his drivers.

He recently discovered customers calling the company’s phone number on his Google web page were being rerouted to a competitor’s business.

Gill says he’s lost nearly 50 per cent of his business since the employee’s dismissal and discovery of the change.

“This man has posted comments on Facebook about my business and threatened to 'do in' the company,” Gill says, adding he had received a number of complaints about the man from police and customers prior to his leaving the company in December.

Gill says the man originally left on his own, then tried to come back, but Gill refused to re-hire him.

Gill believes the man is now working for a competitor, not as a driver, but "in the background.”

He says the former employee had access to some of Gill’s passwords and was able to change the one on his Google account because there was no backup question and answer security.

So far, Gill has been unable to change the number on the Google page. He says he’s contacted the RCMP and Google about the issue, and was told by both parties to open a new page.

Gill says the former employee has also texted him, demanding “money owed to him” in order to get the new password.

If you Google 'Eco taxi phone number', the result is the phone number for Courtesy Taxi in Penticton, not Eco Taxi.

Courtesy Taxi manager Amar Kahlon says he has been out of the country and isn't aware of the issue with Eco Taxi's Google account.

"It shouldn't be coming up with our number. We don't want to take responsibility for their number, because if they do something wrong and their page comes up with our number, it could affect our business, too," he said.

Kahlon said he was aware of some personnel issue with Eco Taxi where a former employee was playing with their accounts.

"The only thing I can think of is they should delete the Google account and start a new one. I can't call Google on their behalf," he said.

Gill has posted a message on the company’s Facebook page notifying potential customers of the problem, providing the company’s correct number at: 250-492-9999.

With three companies in town, the Penticton taxi business has long been competitive.

In 2016, competitors made plenty of noise  when Kerry DeLong began Eckhardt Senior Services, a "companion service" specializing in rides for seniors and handicapped people and alleged he was picking up regular fares.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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