Monday, September 30, 2013

You had ONE job, Presto. ONE JOB!

This poster is a lie. Never have to worry about your balance? Pffft!

Inklings that something was awry with the Presto card autoload feature happened around September 18th.

From: TM
Date: Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Subject: FW: Contracts Modified
To: ""
Just called Presto, apparently everybody is receiving this email. They said all autoload contracts were deleted and must be re-set up in the next few days. I asked if they would be sending an email to inform everyone of this and they said they don't know yet as they just found out about. Pass the popcorn, this should be good.

Subject: Contracts Modified
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2013 11:45:05 -0400
Dear T------,
Your request to modify the Autoload contract associated with the PRESTO Card has been successfully processed. The contract ID number is 000539248_133.
Please note 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 highest level of customer satisfaction possible. If you have any questions or comments, we would be delighted to hear from you. To contact us, please call our toll free number at 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123), or visit us at
Thank you for using PRESTO.

On September 19th, on Twitter, the complaints and the apologies flowed like a river. At no point did Presto think that maybe it would be a good idea to email all of their Autoload customers and advise them that problems could happen with their accounts and to check balances before leaving the house/office. 

Because this:

From: Amanda S 
Date: Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 9:42 PM
Subject: Presto Card Woes!!
Have you heard about the recent Presto debacle? I went to the GO station this morning, fortunately the traffic was sparse and I got all the greens, because when I tapped my card, I got an interesting message on the presto mating to see customer service.
When I spoke to the agent at the wicket and asked her what what up with my card, she told me that I'd fallen victim to the lasted Presto F-Up.
Apparently, something like 20,000 users were affected by an issue caused when Moneris (presumably the company who manages the money movement for Presto) made changes to their system, causing auto-loads to reverse themselves magically!
What fun! I had a $200 autoload on the 20th, and now, 5 days later, my autoload was reversed, leaving me with a balance of negative $15. I had to load with my debit card, fortunately for me, no biggie.
After waiting on hold for 30 minutes, I spoke to a lovely rep at Presto, who confirmed that auto loads that were put through on the 20th (and only the 20th) were all declined by Moneris.
The falsely declined transaction (which actually never made it to my credit card at all) seems to have triggered the cancellation of my autoload contract, meaning I have to wait till tomorrow, input all my credit card information again, and wait up to 5 business days for the autoload to activate again.

Oi! Presto… plz get your stuffs together!!!!

Anyway, hope anyone who had this happen gets it all sorted. And they should call presto so they can complete an investigation to make sure there are no other issues. Presto is investigating each case that they hear about in hopes of fixing/preventing this issue.

And once it appeared Presto fixed the problem, they seemed to fix it so well that the system (once again!) began to double dip from customers' credit cards:

Subject: Your PRESTO Account / Votre compte PRESTO
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2013 11:42:26 -0400

Version fran├žais ci-dessous

Dear PRESTO customer:
We are writing to inform you that we have recently identified a situation that has impacted your recent PRESTO transactions.
In reviewing your account, it was determined that there was a duplicate charge to your method of Autoload/Auto-renew payment. We are currently in the process of refunding the duplicated amount on your behalf. The offsetting credit will be processed within the next 3-4 business days. Please note that it may take another 3-5 days for your bank or credit card company to process the credit.
Please accept our sincerest apology for any inconvenience this has caused. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at 1-877-378-6123.
Thank you,

Moral to the story? Ignore the poster. 
Today, tomorrow and forever.


Dakota said...

I can't that it will be almost nine days before my double charge will be reversed. Once it has been reversed I am cancelling my autoload and will load it at a GO Station.
We are held hostage by Presto as there is no ticket to buy.
Thanks for posting about this C.J.

Bicky said...

This is why I never signed up for auto-load. Too many horror stories. My sister was double-dinged and she's cancelling her auto-load once her credit card is credited back.

Squiggles said...

Well, this cemented the fact that the auto-load is a scam. As well, Since my trouble a couple of weeks ago, I won't even load online any more. I will only ever load up at the station.

They have done nothing but mess up and hold people's money hostage. Add on the fact that there is NEVER any notification of a screw up on their site (even if they know about a day or two ahead), is enough for me to never trust them again.

Al said...

A coleague at work had $500 credited to her card and after 6 months they have told her it is hers to keep.

There is a screw up I would like to have happen.

What I dont understand is how they were not able to see who made that payment to the wrong card, did noone complain about the $500 that never made it to thier card?

Anonymous said...

"Presto: That b*tch be crazy!"

Michael Suddard said...

Interesting this happened to Presto on GO Transit in Toronto for October. You would figure Presto would have seen it coming considering this is not the first time for autoload issues.

End of July saw issues in Ottawa, full details here:

Admittedly, the two systems are separate, but it is quite embarrassing that online loads and autoloads/autorenews continue to be an issue. Seems even Presto's so called next generation system(i.e. Ottawa's system) hasn't resolved any bugs. In fact, I wonder what improvements there are besides not being compatible with previous generation system's that Toronto area systems use.

It really makes me wonder why a new system was entirely required when several other transit agencies around the world have proven technologies (e.g. New York, London, etc.) that see far more electronic transactions in 1 day than the Toronto area agencies combined would have in a week.

This Presto mess continues to leave me shaking my head.

Squiggles said...

@ Michael,

This isn't even the first time there have been autoload issues on the GTA Presto cards. Happened almost 2 years ago:

April said...

I am amazed that anyone still uses the autoload feature.

Maybe I am just crazy and paranoid but there is absolutely no way I would let Presto anywhere near my credit card or bank account. Or Rogers, Bell, Enbridge or hydro for that matter.

TomW said...

I didn't do autoload because I didn't want cash coming out my bank at the wrong point in the month. It will kick at certain threshold (?$10), and I will go below $10 about a week before the end of the month (those week's rides are all free, so that's OK)... which is the week I have least money in my bank account.
So, I don't need the money on my card, and I do need the money in my bank account. Autoload would make it the wrong way round.

I treat Presto like my utility bills: once a month, I sit down and pay them all online. Takes about 15 minutes total.

George said...

I'm with you April. Nobody except me gets access to any of my cards and accounts.

My mind is at peace knowing that the orporate types can't take anything they please and then utter an apology consisting of "Oops bad".

Presto is a whole new level of incompetence though.

April said...


My problem isn't even that they screw up and say "Oops sorry . . . my bad". My problem is that when they screw up, and they always day, their solution is usually to offer a credit to my account.

But you took money you were not supposed to take, now I don't have enough to pay my other bills. How does a credit to my account help me?

When I need money on my Presto, I go to the station. When I need to pay my cable bill, I pay it. I know what comes out and I have control over when and I don't have to fight with someone ot get my money back.

Anonymous said...

Anybody else having issues with the Overide function at Union?

I press overide, then tap. It takes the entire balance of my default trip instead of the minimum. I try to 'cancel' but it wont' let me.

Then, when I tap off it takes the balance off as if i'm tapping on.

So instead of paying $6 I end up paying $13. To top it off, the only way to get my money back is to call GO Transit, then, if they agree it went wrong, the will send me a voucher.

This is absolutely ridiculous. I've gotten a new Presto Card to see if my card was the problem, but it still does it.

Presto has to get it together fast.

Michael Suddard said...

"Presto has to get it together fast."

ROFL even after the scathing (scratch that..flaming!) 2012 Auditor General's report, Metrolinx just blew it off with their usual marketing spin.

I bet if you were to tell Presto to get it together fast, they will probably give you some bla bla bla about how difficult it is to build a system to handle different transit agencies etc. etc.,

All this, meanwhile New York City (and others) have been handling billions of transactions a year and perfected a system where you can get day pass, 7 day pass and monthly passes (30 days) for over 10+ years which leaves Presto in the dust!

The only curve ball thrown at Presto so far that has worked, it works on STO which is the Gatineau, Quebec side as well on a completely different system. This continues the free transfers between Ottawa's OC Transpo and Gatineau's STO. Congrats to Presto for that.