Saturday, March 29, 2014

How is my Autoload payment information doing? I have no idea!

So one of the current ongoing issues is the fact that when I was issued a new credit card (when my old one expired), PRESTO tells me when it is too late to update my information. This is still unresolved.

In the interest of playing the game PRESTO's way, I decide to go check my other cards to make sure the date on my credit card is updated. What does this look like?

Step One: Log In.
Step Two: Choose "Manage your Autoload Now"
Step Three: Select "Update Payment Information"
Step Four: Click "Next" to "Modify Autoload Information Online"
Step Five: [wait! I want to check my card info to make sure it is already up to date? There's no info about my Credit Card! what happens if I proceed? will it mess up my Presto Card for 24 hours and then I need to tap? Gulp!] Fill out card information and click "Register Payment Details"
Step Six: After entering my card info and registering I get a thank you message. I still have no idea if I updated my old card expiry date, or if I just needlessly re-entered the same info already on record. 

The only reason I am exploring this procedure is because PRESTO, despite having your card info (through a third party, sure, that's just great), does not notify you of the need to renew. In contrast, Paypal will give you advance warning that your card is about to expire. 

A PRESTO supervisor tried to blame me for not thinking of PRESTO when I got my new credit card in the mail. And tried to pass the blame again my asking me if I knew that PRESTO uses a third party to administer the credit card info. "It's all on our web site" she said. Where else are customers  expected to research to know how the behind the scenes workings of an organization are set up? 

All I want is to be able to access my account in a way that makes having an online account a useful thing to have.

I did get this e-mail confirmation a few minutes after updating the form. So I guess I should call to ask what I did?:
Congratulations, your request to modify the Autoload contract associated with the PRESTO Card has been successfully processed. The contract ID number is xxxxxxxxx_xxx.Please take note of the contract number in your records, or keep this letter for future reference should you need to contact the PRESTO Call Centre for inquiries regarding this contract.
PRESTO is committed to providing you with the best customer experience possible. If you have any questions or comments, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please visit us at or call our toll free number at 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123).Thank you for choosing PRESTO.Sincerely,The PRESTO Team
"The best customer experience possible" - hmmm. Not working.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Just Letting You Know It Is Too Late to Do Anything About

My eldest teenage daughter e-mails me from Kingston today. This is what Presto sent her today (March 26):
You are receiving this notification because you submitted a request to cancel your Autoload contract. Your request associated with the PRESTO Card has been successfully processed. The contract ID number is 000000.
Please note that if you have not submitted a request to cancel your Autoload contract, you are receiving this cancellation notice because your contract has been terminated due to insufficient funds or expiry of your credit card. Please check to ensure your current payment information is up to date and visit us at to establish a new Autoload contract.
We recommend that you keep this contract number in your records, or keep this letter for future reference should you need to contact PRESTO for inquiries regarding this contract. If you are having difficulties setting up a new Autoload contract on the website or have other questions regarding this cancelation, please call our toll free number at 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123).
Thank you for choosing PRESTO.

Being a dutiful father and eager to ensure Presto knows that we did not submit a request to cancel our Autoload contractI I get right to work. I know what happened: I have a new credit card issued from my Credit Union when my old one expired. All this needs is the old card expiry date to be changed to the new date in 2017.

I log in to Presto to update my credit card info and get her card back functioning. The first screen shows her card as "active" with $24.03 on it. Except when I follow the link to "manage [your] autoload now", I can't. The options to update payment options are greyed out. 

So now I have to call Presto. This is always a drag. I phone. Run through the phone tree. Painstakingly enter the 17 digit card number into my phone. Press some more buttons. Finally get a person to talk to.

I want to update my credit card information. I'm told I can't.

No. You see, there have been two $20 autoload amounts added to my card "in good faith" when the expired credit card info was accessed while she was using the Presto card on GO transit. This rogue $40 total will now be deducted the next time my daughter taps her card. Which would be when she arrives in Toronto from Kingston (on the amazing Megabus, who do know about customer care. That's a story I'll share later).

Now she'll be in Toronto with $2.40 on her card. Not enough to pay for the train or bus back to Hamilton. Not even close. So now she has to produce some cash (she doesn't have a credit card yet), locate a kiosk in Union Station where she can add money to the card and then use it to get home. A bit later than if Presto was reasonable.

Now I will need to wait 24 hours from the time she taps the card before I contact Presto to set up a NEW autoload contract. Same Presto Card. Same Credit Card (with updated expiry date). New autoload contract.

The customer service rep on the line is telling me all this and I am asking her if it wouldn't be a better customer service thing to notify the customer that there's a problem with their card when it happens? And then let the customer log in and update the errant info. No. As it is, by the time they notify you about the problem it is too late to fix it. Seriously?

I end up talking to her supervisor who tries at least twice to push the blame for an unnecessarily complicated process onto me:
1. "Did you get your new credit card in the mail?" she danglingly asks, suggesting my next automatic thought would be to think of Presto, the only place I would have to contact to update the info, like, every few years when the credit card expires.
2. "You know we use a third party to do the credit cards" she explains. I tell her I don't care how they work their business behind the scenes, I am telling you that as a customer I just want to update the expiry date on my card using the web site and avoid this complicated process.
She tries to explain it is normal for auto payments. But a service like Paypal will notify you if there is a problem with your payment. Certainly the Hydro or Gas companies wouldn't come and shut off your power or heat because of one problem transaction. They would notify the customer and update the information, and probably thank you at the end. If Presto ran the utilities we would be sitting in the cold darkness waiting 24 hours for a chance to set up a new contract and being told it's our own fault.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lost in Transit

So, remember when I told you about my daughter losing her Presto card? 

And the web site being down as I tried to report it lost or stolen? (I did finally get it done around midnight) 

There's a new thing.

I want to transfer the remaining money on her card to another of my four Presto cards. Site won't let me. 

I call to get PRESTO to do it for me. 

They say they can't since the cards were all registered separately. They tell me I need to buy a new card and then I can get the money transferred onto it. 

But I don't want to replace the card, I explain, I just want to move my money.

Told I couldn't do that, I could be a hacker. 

I replied with "should I be concerned about PRESTO security?" 

According to Presto, the only way is to buy a new $6 card I don't want. 

So - so despite having the log in, password and security question, the card number, and my credit card billing info, I can't access the money unless I spend $6 to buy a Presto card...

Is it just me?