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TIPPER'S REGRET: Do you have to hand a tip back if requested?

Updated: May 8, 2023



The taxi industry is one of the sectors that still heavily relies on the UK tipping culture. A good day of tips can mean getting home to the family that extra hour earlier as a reward for the excellent service offered. A bad day can see you slogging it out in the cab later than usual.


While no taxi driver expects a tip, recognition goes a long way. But what if the passenger gets something called ‘tipper’s regret’ and retrospectively asks for the generous gift back? Do you have to return it?

It would be highly unlikely that a tipper paying in cash would be able to track down the cabbie to ask for the money back. However, as more taxi passengers choose to pay via card payments, ‘tipper’s regret’ could creep in days or weeks after the payment was received.


Unbelievably, there is no legal guidance if this scenario takes place. So, what are your choices? You obviously could return the tip and just write it off as an anomaly, or you could simply refuse to give it back. By refusing to hand back the tip, the tipper could pursue it further, most likely via the small claims court.

Restauranteurs experience the most ‘tipper’s regret’, particularly when someone mistakenly adds a tip on top of a bill that already includes a service charge. Again, it’s up to the restaurant to either provide a refund or stand their ground and refuse.

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