Today’s Letter to Clipper “Customer Service”

March 11, 2013

Sorry that this blog continues to be a ranting forum for me. I try to keep that sort of thing on Facebook 🙂

Following is a copy of an email that I sent yesterday to Clipper Customer Service. I wrote it while I was riding on Caltrain; I’ve edited it here only to correct my typographical errors.


In January, I was robbed. I used the automated phone system to report my ClipperCard stolen. I did not ask for a replacement, because it would take at least a week to get one. Then I immediately went to the drug store and bought another card.

I registered my new card on my Clipper account and started to use it.

I was surprised, but not upset, when I unexpectedly received a new CipperCard in the mail, since I did not ask for a replacement in the automated phone system. (Sorry to repeat that, but the Customer Service person seemed very unclear about this.)

I wasn’t too surprised to find I had been charged $5.00, although I wasn’t sure why I was charged $5.00. I figured I would just let it go; it was just too much trouble to deal with. I was surprised to find that my autoload was automatically switched to the new, unasked-for card. The cash balance from the stolen card was also moved to the unasked-for card. I didn’t notice it until a week or so later, when the card I purchased would not autoload and I had to pay $14.00 for a day pass. While waiting for the train, I tried to call Customer Service and was jacked around on the automated phone system until almost closing time – and then put on automated hold until after closing.

When I got home, I went online. I found that I could not move my balance from the unasked-for card to the card that I purchased. However, I could fix the autoload, so I did.

I just tried to use my ClipperCard again today. My card has 8 rides on it, but because it does not ALSO have cash on it, I had to buy another day pass. Apparently, cash does not autoload, even though I have autoload set up. Another $14.00.

On my third attempt, I finally got Customer Service on the phone. Now I am being charged a SECOND $5.00 to move my money from the card-I-didn’t-want to the card that I purchased. Plus, it will take another 72 hours before the money is transferred! They explained to me that first they have to block the card, then they have wait 24 hours to see if any transactions were placed on the card. Then they finally do the transfer.

So that I could ride the train without paying $14.00 per day – I added $10.00 cash to my good ClipperCard. I knew it was a waste – another $10 that I will never see again. At the end of my transaction, I find out that this money will also not be available for 72 hours. What!! What?? Why does this transaction have to wait 72 hours? Do you send in my credit card charge by mail?

On top of that, I will have to pay $5 if I want a refund of my $10.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to actually talk to a person with your “Customer Service”? You do everything you can to discourage someone from actually getting help.

Do you know how bad your web site is? It is impossible to do basic things, like move a balance. It took me 3 tries before it accepted my credit card number – and I know it was right every time. (BTW, it only took once for the Customer Service lady to charge it.) The interface is awful, and you aren’t notified up front of charges.

Do you know how horrible your service is and how ridiculous your policies are? I am sure that you charge my credit card immediately when I put it in the ticket machine. So you are sure speedy about getting your money, but sloowwww to give service.

Is there anyone that could refund the second $5.00 charge that I should never have had to pay – and maybe also give me back my $10? I feel like I should get a refund of the two day passes I bought already, but that’s surely a lost cause.

In summary – I was robbed in January and I reported the crime to the police. Since then, Clipper has been robbing me, little by little. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to report this crime.


Sunnyvale hates commuters – so Sunnyvale, I hate you back!

May 14, 2012

I am currently sitting at the northbound Caltrain waiting area. I missed my train, again. It will be an hour before another northbound train arrives. Sunnyvale Caltrain Station

So you would think that I would be mad at Caltrain because they have a lousy schedule, especially at mid-day. But that would be pointless, since Caltrain does not control its own funding. For that, I’m mostly annoyed at Santa Clara County.

Nope, today I am mad at Sunnyvale. For the past decade, they have been tearing up their downtown area and redo-ing it. It’s a never-ending disaster of a project. For years, it wasn’t a big problem for me, since I don’t live there. But then I started commuting to San Francisco; my nearest station is Sunnyvale. Until two years ago, there was adequate car parking within a block of the Caltrain station – but then Sunnyvale demolished at least 50 spaces. They also didn’t bother to put signage up that would direct you to other parking. After months of frustration with this, I decided that I would drive to Palo Alto and commute from there.

But of course, I would really prefer to ride my bicycle to the train station – it’s healthier, greener, blah blah blah. And I do try. But of course with the roads torn up a different way every week and all the lights messed up, I keep getting caught for 10 minutes when I least expect it. Now the lights near the train station don’t allow certain turns when trains are approaching. Great. This is the third time I’ve gotten to watch my train go by in the last month.

Goodbye Sunnyvale. I’ll miss Dish Dash the most, but I will be happier if I never come to Sunnyvale again. I can ride my bike to the Mountain View station. It’s farther, but I am in shape for it. And I’m not coming here by car any more either, just for spite. So a big raspberry right back to you!!