Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ripped Off By Bad Farecards?

We've heard from more than a few readers that Metro's farecards are very easy to demagnetize and that subsequent attempts to get a refund are laborious and often unfruitful.

On Metro's Web site under the FAQs, it says that if you have a problem with your farecard, "see the station manager located in the kiosk. If the station manager can't correct the problem immediately, you'll be given a fare adjustment envelope to complete so that we can replace your farecard by mail."

We also found this 2007 WJLA report, which detailed some problems with getting refunds. We love the hint of disgust in Leon Harris' voice as he intros the segment. At the end of the segment Metro promises to do better.

Have they? Have any of you experienced an inordinate number of farecards going bad? Have you had a hard time getting a refund? Let us know.


Anonymous said...

the farecards are crap, but i've never lost enough to even try for a refund

Anonymous said...

this is a typical case of metro not thinking the customer is first/right. it's a scandal.

ali_girl said...

My story - happened just yesterday:
Had some metrochecks and went to add it to my smartcard (this is actually the only thing SMART about metro I can find).

The machine would not take my metrocheck saying it was invalid. Went to the station manager and he scanned it and said it was good and to try it again. Knowing I was doing it correctly the first time, I made him come with me. Standing in front of what seems to be a relic from the 80s (way clunky) the station manager scratched his head, thought for a minute and his solution was, "huh...i don't know." The guy next to me can't get his to work either. And instead recognizing that there may be something wrong with these POS machines, he snaped at the guy to "follow the instructions". Guess what....WE CAN READ!!! That is not the problem, ASSHOLE.

Not having time to deal with it, I took off to my destination, Friendship Heights. Before I left, I decided to try my metrochecks again and guess worked. I found a machine that actually worked!!!! Well, let me clarify - a couple of my metrocheck DID NOT work, even on this new machine. So that's another problem - shitty metrocards that demagnetize via keys, phones, change - pretty much anything metal.

How is it that NYC can make cards that work. The technology is out there. Or is this another example of somebody's cousin at Metro getting the metrocheck contract.

Sean Robertson said...

Why are people still using paper farecards and metrochecks anyway? They should just force businesses who use them to switch over to SmartBenefits.

Anonymous said...

uhh... i took mine to metro center and got an instant refund. no problems. quit yer whining.

brian said...


I had over $40 in bad paper cards and when i went to station office they would only give me $5 incremental replacement tickets - time consuming and un-green aside from annoying.

Again, I had over $50 in bad cards and learned that if you mailed them in - IF you were now out of state, they would send you a check. Well, my nephew has yet to receive a check - been over 2 months now....

Just spoke to a nice "in the know" lady named kim at 212-962-5719 and she found my cardz - they are currently processing Aprilz - so mine were in MAy - she said i should get $$ in September.

thatz my story..

Anonymous said...

I took my 10 or so demagnetized cards to metro center, and they said they could only take one card per day, per customer. This was the sole purpose of my metro trip that day, so I spent about $3 and over an hour just to find this out. I was told I could mail the rest in and have them added to my smartcard (which I purchased that day). I wasn't given an envelope, and I assumed I could find information online about where to send a card. However, the information isn't available online, and now I'll have to go back to a metro station to get that envelope. What a waste of time!!!

Anonymous said...

Just today I purchased a farecard at Courthouse because I forgot my Smart Trip at home. I turned off my cell phone & kept my ipod away from the card too, just in case. By the time I got to Union Station a half-hour or so later, it had become demagnetized. The metro employee asked me, "Why would you demagnetize it??" as though this was my intention. I had put exactly $4.20 to cover my roundtrip for the day, and she said the card was worthless. It's clearly not the $2.10 I'm mad about - it was the absolutely awful customer service.

Thanks all for the tip about heading to Metro Center, though.

Anonymous said...

I have a smartrip card and had $20 cash eaten by the farecard machine at Pentagon metro. The station manager said she could not open the machine and for me to contact smartrip. It's been two weeks, two emails and still no response, let alone restitution. You can treat customers that way when you have a government monopoly. I have started looking for work closer to home to avoid metro entirely but the local government will still give some of my taxes to metro. Why would DC metro unsuck itself when it doesn't have to?

Anonymous said...

I am a frequent traveller to DC and have ten demagnitized fare cards. I finally went to Metro and they would only take one at a time! ome on DC people -do you really want to rip-off visitors like this?

I bet you Metro is making millions.

Will said...

I live in DC, but dont ride that often. Still the collection of unusable farecards has led me to get a smartrip. Anyone know the address for mailing unreadable cards to put on the smartrip?

Anonymous said...

I just moved to DC from NYC and am completely shocked at the rediculous restrictions on the metro cards and at the fact that nearly every card I have bought has demagnetized. I have tried keeping them away from my phone and other cards and it still happens with every card. Also when I first got to DC I decided to try a one day pass since I would be going all around the city for interviews. When I went to use my pass I was informed that I cannot use it before 9:30am! What is the point in that, who does not have to ride the metro before 9:30am if they are going to work? I paid for the entire day shouldnt I get to use it for 24 hours!! I never thought I would say this but I miss the New York City Metro where lines didnt back up to pay an exit fare, trips were one price no matter what time of day or how far you ride and you could buy daily and monthly passes that didnt screw you over. Whats with the extra price gouging during rush hour, it should cost me the same price to go the same distance on the metro no matter what time of day I rise!

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