Open main menu Close main menu

Cancellation of transport card and refusal to refund money stored on the card

Local Government
Ombudsmen Act 1975
Legislation display text:
Ombudsmen Act 1975
Auckland Transport
Leo Donnelly
Case number(s):
Issue date:

A complaint was made against Auckland Transport (AT) about its cancellation of an ‘AT HOP’ card used by commuters on Auckland’s public transport system. AT cancelled the card because the complainant had failed to ‘swipe-off’ the card on three occasions within two weeks, and it refused to refund the $100.00 that remained stored on the card. The card had not been registered and AT’s policy in this regard was recorded in its Terms of Use.

The Ombudsman noted that this policy was not advertised, and affected unregistered card-holders only, because holders of registered cards were warned when they failed to tag off during this period. The Ombudsman concluded that although AT had the power to cancel cards when a customer failed to meet the Terms of Use (the need to tag on and off), most card-holders had no knowledge of the rights and obligations attached to the use of the card in this respect. Further, in this case, the complainant had been able to prove to AT that the money remaining on the card was his.

The Ombudsman formed the opinion that AT had acted unreasonably in this instance and recommended that it apologise to the complainant and refund him $100.00.

This case note is published under the authority of the Ombudsmen Rules 1989. It sets out an Ombudsman’s view on the facts of a particular case. It should not be taken as establishing any legal precedent that would bind an Ombudsman in future.



Last updated: