Touch ‘n Go Card Reader Malfunction – What Does It Takes To Get A RM 2.00 Refund From KTM?

This post is a recount of my personal experience going cashless, using Touch ‘n Go card on a KTM Komuter train to Pulau Ketam.

Komuter train
Komuter train

On the fateful day, friend and I were playing ‘tourists’ in our home country. We visited Pulau Ketam, and KTM Komuter was our transportation choice to Pelabuhan Kelang.

Queen Bee, my very excited friend sent me a packing list one night before .. umbrella, water, hankie …. and a Touch ‘n Go card!

Let me explain. Going cashless on a KTM Komuter saves you some moolah. So, why not? Especially when using one, usually costs more … yeah, going cashless doesn’t (always) save consumers money in Malaysia.

TnG card reader machine is malfunctioned, and it's the one & only at the station
TnG card reader machine is malfunctioned, and it’s the one & only at the station

To cut the long story short, we touched our TnG card to the electronic card reader at KL Sentral station. But … we couldn’t touch out at the exit point at Pelabuhan Kelang station. The one and only card reader machine has been out of order, for 3 days, we were told.

We were advised to reset our card on our return journey, at KL Sentral station. Otherwise, we will be charged penalty fee. Pelabuhan Kelang station is not equipped with the necessary, to reset a card. What?! We also had to pay cash fare to get back to KL Sentral station.

I was irked. NOT because of the petty RM 2.00 fare difference. Really, it’s an amount small enough for me to bat an eyelid.

What's the point of TnG? We needed to pay cash
What’s the point of TnG? We had to pay cash

But … how about the many other affected passengers, and some might be pressed for money? And how about those that use the service on a daily basis? RM 2.00 per day, RM 10.00 for 5 working days!

A quick search reveals many other grouses. Those that complain at the ticketing counter were given a runaround. It’s not our problem, you complain to TnG.

Ever heard of Mystery Shopper? Our government should have Mystery Commuter programme, and cut out those cheap publicity stunts of so-and-so taking our public transport during “peak hours”, konon.

I always believe that “too much complaining and not enough action gets us nowhere.” People whine, people bicker, but not many of them acted.

Complaint email
Complaint email

So, I wrote in. Not just one party. But to 3 parties: Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (SPAD), KTM and Touch ‘n Go.

Why SPAD, friends asked .. SPAD plans, regulates and enforces all matters relating to land public transport. In this case, they acted fast.

Kudos to the 2 efficient officers: Encik Faizal Nizam bin Mahfuz, Complaint Management Division, SPAD and Encik Zainal Ismail, Perkhidmatan Komuter, KTM. There is hope for for us, Malaysians.

Fri 25 March, 8.53pm: Sent complaint email. Auto reply received from TnG and SPAD. Auto reply from SPAD also asked to provide details within 5 working days.

Sun 27 March, 12.34pm: Replied SPAD with requires info

Wed 30 March, 4.30pm: SPAD sent email to KTM, with me in cc list – asking them to look into this matter

4.49pm: subsequently sent Surat Akuan Terima (Acnowledgement letter) to me

Thurs 31 March, 12.58pm: KTM sent me an email, informing that they will consider my request for refund of fare, and for me to provide the necessary details: name, contact tel number, TnG card series number and travel route

Friday 1 April, 3.12pm: I replied KTM with the necessary details

Monday 4 April, 10.01am: SPAD sent me a “Tutup Kes’ (Case Closed) email, and mentioned for me to liaise with KTM on the refund

Around 12pm: KTM called my friend, to collect the money at KTM office, at KL Sentral. My friend was asked to bring along copy of our TnG cards with the serial number provided, for documentation purpose.

2:59pm: KTM followed up with an email, recapping the phone conversation in writing

All for a RM 2 refund
All for a RM 2 refund

Wednesday 6 April, 8.45am: Friend collected the money in cash, and signed on a form

Overall, it has been a pleasant experience/ exchange, up to the point of cash collection. KTM informed us that it is not a practice for KTM to refund customers, due to faulty TnG card reader machine. But they took our case into consideration, and decided to refund us. Never know, till one ask .. They also explained that they will be using new machines soon as the current ones are now obsolete. There will also be more TnG lanes to cater to increasing passengers going cashless.

I do have underlying questions from this experience.

So, they refunded me and my friend. How about many others? Why can’t KTM makes it an automated process for refunds to be given whenever problem like this happens? Or have a manual machine to scan the card? Why does it has to be so difficult?

How many affected commuters lodged formal complaints, like what I did?

After receiving my complaints, did KTM (1) replace the malfunctioned Touch ‘n Go card reader (2) have a back-up plan whenever the card reader malfunctions again?

The case is closed, according to SPAD. But is it really closed, in a bigger scheme of thing?

Writer

Travel opens up a whole new world, which is cliche but true. I am a strong advocate for independent and solo travel. I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia but now live in Bangkok, Thailand, resulted from a chance encounter in 2009 with my why-are-you-Thai bf. I am now split between two countries. One country for my bf, another for the family, for the occasional weekend together.