HOP users’ credit swiped

East and Bays Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - ROB STOCK

A woman who found her HOP card bal­ance had mys­te­ri­ously gone to zero was shocked to find Auck­land Trans­port (AT) had taken the money, with 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. One mil­lion AT HOP cards in cir­cu­la­tion, which can be used 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, and when checked the bal­ance 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.

‘‘Sev­eral times a day the new ac­tions get added to the list, which is stored in ev­ery tag­ging ma­chine.

‘‘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.

‘‘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.

PHIL DOYLE/STUFF

Over one year, $342,000 was wiped from HOP cards un­der Auck­land Trans­port’s ‘‘60 day’’ rule.

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