If an Oyster card stops working, a customer can take it to a ticket office, where the balance is checked and added to a brand new Oyster card straight away, completely free of charge.
London Underground has just sent out guidance to its staff: “If the card has failed and the ticket office is not open, the customer should be advised to purchase a new card [from a ticket machine]”. Why should a customer have to buy a new card? If you buy a defective product in a shop, you expect to be able to exchange it for one that works! This option has been denied to customers as Tube ticket offices close.
To make matters worse, staff have been told that customers can only transfer the balance from the defective to the newly-purchased card by visiting the Oyster website or phoning the Customer Contact Centre.
What about people with visual or hearing impairments? What about tourists without internet or phone access? What about people who cannot afford the phone bill or the internet? Money on Oyster cards belongs to customers: LU should give it back on the spot, straight away, at a ticket office!