Be careful when purchasing a light rail pass

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TEMPE - “That was what I got. Insert and remove your debit card,” Randal Jovich said.

The instructions seemed simple.

But after Randal Jovich purchased what he thought was a $1.75 one-way light rail pass, he realized he'd actually bought a 31-day ticket for $55.

“At that point, it had occurred to me that I had bought somebody else's pass,” Jovich said. “There was no confirmation in between there to indicate that I was about to be charged $55 instead of the $1.75 I was expecting to be charged.”

Jovich never used the $55 ticket.

Instead, he bought a separate one-way pass so he could get a full refund.

“I really didn't expect it would be a problem for me to get a refund,” he said.

But after receiving this letter from Valley Metro denying him a refund, Jovich e-mailed 3 On Your Side for help.

“My initial reaction? Are you kidding me? What do you mean you won't give me a refund? That's just nuts,” he said. “I mean we're in a society where you can charge for services, not render them and them and refuse a refund.”

A spokesperson tells 3 On Your Side Valley Metro's policy is, “To not reimburse or reissue passes that have been accidentally activated or inadvertently purchased by the customer. This policy is in place as there are many prompts throughout the transaction process where the customer must acknowledge what he/she is buying; responsibility does lie with the customer to make sure they are aware and buying the right fare media.”

However, a spokesperson says it takes each refund request on a case-by-case basis.

Even though Valley Metro initially denied Jovich’s request, after further investigation, Valley Metro says it agreed to override its decision and give him his money back just days later.

3 On Your Side returned the unused pass, and Valley Metro issued Jovich a one-time courtesy refund.

“I'd love to see this never happen to anybody else in the future,” he said.

Jovich is glad to have that $55 back, and has this advice to others - like him - who are new to riding the light rail.

“So I would say for first time riders, yeah, when you walk up to the machine it doesn't say insert your credit card. If it does you're finishing someone else's transaction,” Jovich said.

Valley Metro suggests the same saying, “There are several prompts throughout the transaction process that has you consciously select your product and reminds of the total cost.  If you approach the fare vending machine with a transaction in progress, it is recommended that you cancel the transaction before inserting your method of payment.”