Tuesday, May 15, 2007

There Is No Problem That The LIRR Cannot Make infinitely Worse

So, as a result of my favourite credit card being refused by the LIRR TVMs1 I have been using another card I rarely use. In fact, I hadn't used it at all since buying my first computer system with it in '96. This has resulted in the inevitable - Mr Brain forgot to pay last month's bill.

The first I knew about this was when I got this month's bill and was surprised to see that it was dunning me for a significantly higher amount than the cost of two tickets plus a late fee. As punishment for earning me a penalty I ordered Mr Brain to calculate the overage, and after much clanking, grinding and a couple of bursts of steam from the old earholes I figured it out to be about the cost of a monthly LIRR ticket.


I dug around in the mountain of crap that is my filing system and located the bill for April and sure enough, the LIRR had charged me for two tickets. Different transaction IDs on each entry, so it wasn't a simple double charge (which happens all the time and usually gets fixed before the bills come though). No, this looked to be the work of the TVM fiasco of last month2, probably when one of the machines timed out during my attempt to buy a ticket and announced it wasn't taking credit cards, only to put itself back online again seconds later.

I immediately contacted the credit card issuing bank to try and get a chargeback, but their semi-automated system put me on old forever then hung up on me. Which gave me time to reflect and come to the conclusion that this time I might actually give the LIRR the benefit of the doubt and attempt to use their internal procedures first. Nothing ventured, as they say.

I called the number listed on my statement, but was informed by an answering machine that they only dealt with people between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday. I'm not sanguine about the response time during lunch hours either. Still, I left my name and office number so they could call me back and let it lie for the weekend.

Monday I had a dental appointment to get the crown properly cemented in again, so was unable to check my messages. When I came out of the dentist's office, imagine my surprise to see they had tried to call me back on my cell phone (but had left no message). Today I came in to find a message on my machine with a name (christian name only) and a number for me to call them back.

This story will continue in a later post, since that's all I know for now.

  1. As a result of events related in this entry
  2. During events related in this entry

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