MTA is Holding my Money Hostage

Okay, so I just got off the phone with that wonderful company we New Yorkers call the “MTA”. For those of you who don’t reside in New York, that’s New York City’s silly old mass transportation service that is a whole lot more of disturbance than it is of any service to anyone.

So what was my issue this time?

Well, on Friday night, I attempted to buy a monthly metro-card for $81. I swiped my card in the MTA machine, and the machine said that it was unable to process my request. So I tried again with a different card and got the same result. Now, let me just make sure you’re aware of this; I did have enough money on both cards, but for whatever reason, the machine was f’ing with me that night. Now I was in a hurry to get home, because it was like 3 o’clock in the morning. I tried to purchase the monthly card several more times, but it didn’t work. Eventually, I ended up being able to purchase a single-ride ticket, so I got on the subway and went home.

The next afternoon, on my way to Habana Outpost in Fort Green, I tried to purchase a monthly metro-card, and it still didn’t work. Once again, I was only able to purchase a single-ride ticket. I did that, and went on my way to Brooklyn. During my stint in Brooklyn, I got some food with some friends where I ended up having to use my card. Some people gave me some cash and I used my card to make the purchase. Now, I was a little weary using my card because it hadn’t been working with the MTA machines for the last 2 days. Nonetheless, $50 worth of food later, my card was accepted.

On my way from Brooklyn, back to my apartment, I tried the MTA machine again, and it still didn’t work—even with the very same card I used to purchase my food. This time, I couldn’t even buy a single-ride ticket for $2.00. Unbelievable! So I used my credit card to make a purchase, and after 2 or 3 tries, it actually worked, and I was able to get my monthly card.

When I got home, I checked my online account to see what was going on. Turns out, I definitely had enough money in my account to buy a metro card, so that wasn’t the issue. However, despite only purchasing the one monthly metro card, I had about 6-7 $81.00 charges on my account; all pending, but still subtracting from my available balance.

I called the bank and they said to call the MTA. I called the MTA, and they told me that I should wait 3 days for the charges to clear. Understanding that, I initially got off the phone, but outraged at the fact that if I really needed that money, it was not available to me, I called back to try and demand that they immediately rectify the situation.

I talked to one person and asked him if he could do what my bank asked me to tell them to do, which was to have the MTA call my bank and give my bank the approval to deny the charge. The representative said that the MTA does not do that. I asked to speak to his manger. She, the manager, then came on the phone, and said that she couldn’t do that either. When I lied, and told them that I really needed the money so that I could buy a metro card and get to work on Monday, she said there was nothing they could do to help me, despite the fact that they were holding my money hostage because their machines were randomly denying my card while siphoning my money right out of my pockets.

Is this what customer service has come to? Here I was, a young man, saying I had no money other than the amount pending on my card, and the very company holding my money hostage refused to help me out. I even told the lady that every bit of cash I had was in that bank account and that I have no credit card, but she didn’t care. She didn’t even say sorry. She just said there was nothing they could do except tell me to wait 2-3 days for the charges to come off my card. Meanwhile, if I really had no other money, I would have been destined for 2-3 days of no food, missed payments, and countless missed phone calls from my boss about missing work.

This is the world we live in though. Where the government (the MTA is run basically run by the state) won’t even help the little man out when it is the government that is at fault. Look, I’m a liberal guy, and I tend to side with the Democrats on political issues, but if the government is really going to give people a big fat “there’s nothing we can do to help,” even when they are the ones at fault, then I don’t want them running anything, never mind the economy.

So what should I do people?

Should I call the MTA back on Wednesday and say I still have the charges, even if I don’t? Should I tell them I missed out on 3 days of work because of them? Should I see if my bank can cancel the charges anyway? Let me know. I’m looking for ideas, because there’s no way they can be at fault and be able to tell the customer to live with it. It’s just wrong. So let me know what I can do to at least be as big of a nuisance to them as they were to my bank account.

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