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“the first evidence I’ve seen of that proposed post-Labor Day social-media-based customer service blitz actually working”

by Prince Of Petworth October 28, 2016 at 11:10 am 7 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

I usually like to bring cash to top off my SmarTrip card when it’s running low, but I forgot to grab a 20 out of my closet this morning so I used my credit card at the fare machines on the 7th Street side of the Shaw station.

First try: “Not approved.” Thinking it was a fluke, I tried again—no go. I moved to a different machine, same result. Gave up and got on the train anyway, since the $4 I had on my card would cover a one-way trip.

Got a text from Bank of America a couple minutes later with all three attempts listed as suspicious activity. BofA declined one of those attempts, but the second and third (one of which rang up as $0) were both approved by the bank, although the SmarTrip machine said they’d been declined.

It’s been said that when the going gets tough, the tough whip out their phones and fire off some snarky tweets.

A little while after that, @Metrorailinfo reached out to me and invited me to explain in a Direct Message, which I did (selection attached). Fifteen minutes later, they hit me back with a note from the Credit and Debit Office saying they were able to reverse the non-$0 transaction, and they even gave me a confirmation code.

I’ll be watching my card to see what happens during/over the weekend, but I thought it might be worth sharing to encourage others to reach out to WMATA via social media with more substantive complaints than “my train’s stuck in a tunnel” because this is the first evidence I’ve seen of that proposed post-Labor Day social-media-based customer service blitz actually working.

One could call me jaded because I’ve locked horns with the SmarTrip machines and lost money on the deal despite reaching out to both WMATA and SmarTrip customer service agencies (hence why I usually bring cash), but it was nice to see this one actually heading in a positive direction, because I really wasn’t expecting it.”

  • Dave

    It’s kind of sad that reasonable customer service is progress, but this is definitely progress, so I’ll take it!

    • Tom

      Right? The bar is admittedly set pretty low, but here’s hoping my cautious optimism pays off in due time.

  • skj84

    I almost always reach out via social media when I need customer service. Most companies have a designated person or team for that purpose and I find I usually get a faster response. I

    • Tom

      Big time. I’m going to keep at it w/ WMATA. Since I’ve gotten burned on this in the past, I was expecting a weeks-long uphill battle with Bank of America’s dispute department.

    • marigold

      Agreed! I had tons of issues with Pepco for months after I moved but one tweet later everything was resolved within a week!

  • TacoPants

    Good to see people within Metro caring about things, a welcome change. I once saw an open flame on the back of the last train car as it pulled out of Dupont toward Farragut. When I told the attendant in the booth near the exit about it he didn’t even look up at me from his book or ask which direction the train was headed. An annoyed “Okay, thanks” was all I got. I thought he hadn’t heard me and so I repeated that it was on actual fire and got a “Okay THANK YOU SIR.” Again he didn’t look up from the book. I guess small metro fires were commonplace back then, nbd?

    • Tom

      This almost as unsurprising as it is horrifying.


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