Reader Josh's SmarTrip card recently stopped working, so he sent it to Metro for a replacement.
Here's part of the initial Metro response:
We have received card ... Your old card had a balance of $59.95. Since the old card was found to be damaged there is a replacement fee of $5.00. Therefore, your new card will have a balance of $54.95.Josh was not happy:
You must be kidding me! YOUR worker marked on the envelope form in which I sent the SmarTrip card that the card WAS NOT damaged. In fact, the card most definitely was NOT damaged. I would like proof from you that the card was damaged. The only problem with it is that it just stopped being read at the WMATA gates. My guess is that the chip inside for some reason stopped working, but this is not a result of the card being damaged in any way. In fact, that card was less than one year old! Why should I, the customer, have to pay $5 from my balance because YOUR card was faulty? I fully expect my balance to be restored to the FULL AMOUNT and would like to speak directly to a WMATA representative if there is an issue with doing so. It's enough already that my Smart Benefits will be interrupted for an entire month until I can get on the next enrollment cycle because of YOUR poorly manufactured card, so I don't see why you feel the need to rob me of yet another $5. Surely your ridiculous fare increases and cuts in cleanliness and service I have noticed will balance out to cover this cost for you somewhere.Metro replied:
We will be mailing out a card to you with the full amount on the card today. Sorry for the inconvience [sic].
Metro ridership plummets, officials not alarmed (Examiner)