AT swipes funds from HOP card users
A woman who found her HOP card balance had mysteriously gone to zero was shocked to find Auckland Transport (AT) had taken the money and other HOP card holders are experiencing similar losses.
In the year to the end of April, $342,000 was wiped from HOP cards under AT’s ‘‘60 day’’ rule. There are over one million Auckland Transport HOP cards in circulation, with people able to use them to pay for all forms of Auckland transport.
‘‘I purchased the HOP card and loaded $20 on it in December,’’ said the woman, who did not want to be named.
‘‘I don’t need to use it regularly but I wanted to have one ready to go in case we need it as I heard buses no longer can make change for cash, and you really need a HOP card.’’
She didn’t need it until this week.
‘‘I checked my AT HOP card balance and it said zero.
‘‘When I called yesterday they said if you don’t tag on within six weeks of loading the HOP card, the balance zeroes out.’’
It appears to be a problem caused by the way the HOP system has been set up.
‘‘When you complete a transaction online, an action is added to the system which requires the HOP card to be tagged on before the action can be completed, which is when the balance is officially loaded on to the card,’’ AT’s James Ireland said.
The main reason for the 60 day tag on limit is to ensure the amount of data held does not cause the tagging system to slow down, as it has to search the database when each card is tagged on.
‘‘Between May 2016 and April 2017 $342,000 worth of transactions expired due to not being used within the 60 day period,’’ Ireland said.
That didn’t reflect the amount kept by AT, as it also included money ‘‘reinstated’’ when people complained.
‘‘If someone does not tag on within 60 days, they can call us and we will reinstate the money.’’
The woman found she had to get ‘‘evidence’’ she had paid the money, despite AT’s systems containing evidence of the payment.
AT have since changed the HOP card terms and conditions to make it clearer that it was willing to reinstate money taken under the 60-day rule, and that there was no time limit for getting your money back.
Over one year, $342,000 was wiped from HOP cards under Auckland Transport’s ‘‘60 day’’ rule.