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Thread: CaBi key fob stopped working - why? And why so difficult to get new one?

  1. #1
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    Default CaBi key fob stopped working - why? And why so difficult to get new one?

    So, after taking my bike in for a brake repair, I planned to take a CaBi home. As always, I stick my fob into the slot to get a bike, but then I get a red light. Huh. Maybe something is wrong with that dock. I try the other three bikes there. Same thing. I then proceed to walk the ~3 miles home stopping at five other stations on the way and the same problem.

    I went past a Commuter Store on the way and stopped there thinking that they could let me know if there was a system issue or get me a new fob. The woman was all set to get me a new fob. She called CaBi to set it up and after a lot of back and forth, I was told my fob should work and I needed to order one from the app or web page. Well, that is horrible customer service – I was right there and she had a key fob. They could swap the number on the account.

    I asked about why a fob would stop working, thinking that I would like to avoid it in future, but his only answer was “it should work.” Of course, I cannot easily locate how to get a new one on the web site. Grrrrrrrrr.

    So, has anyone had a CaBi fob stop working on them? Why does this happen? Mine doesn’t appear bent or damaged in any way, it hasn’t been soaking in water or anything else. If I can figure out how to get a new one, I would like to stop it from failing again.



    Oooo, and just saw 51 e-mails (I guess I tried that many times?) from CaBi about wanting a phone number to allow me to keep using the system (which they have already) since they are updating their systems - even worse service!!!!
    Last edited by DrP; 01-21-2021 at 05:17 PM. Reason: Checked e-mail

  2. #2
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    Dr. P, I'll look into this. You are correct. It shouldn't be this hard.

    Henry

  3. #3
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    As to the "has anyone ever had a keyfob stop working" - yes, I had one stop working about a year ago. There also didn't seem to be any obvious trauma/incident/etc. It was around 7 years old, so could've just started aging and something internally got . (Not sure if newer keys are the same, but older keys had a small circuit board that could get dislodged if the plastic casing started to separate - see https://ggwash.org/view/32623/how-to...-bikeshare-key for a picture of that.)

    The replacement, however, was pretty easy for me when I finally got around to it a month ago: I was already set up in the app with phone number (they "Lyft-ified" the app requiring re-entering in the phone number as if they knew nothing about me) and I got it in the mail about a week later.

    If convenience is more important than saving money, you can order a key for $10 from https://store.capitalbikeshare.com/; not sure if there's a better way to get a replacement for a damaged one, so it'll be interesting what Henry has to say. Once you receive the new key, you have to login to your account and associate the key with your account. Mine worked perfectly in a dock about 2 minutes after I did that.

  4. #4
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    Don't forget you can also use the Cabi app on your smartphone to unlock a bike.

    I had an old key that was falling apart when the casing started to separate back in Dec 2019. I contacted customer service and they emailed me this response to get a new one:

    Thank you for contacting Capital Bikeshare support! It'll be a pleasure to help you out.

    I'm truly sorry to hear that your bike key is badly damaged and we really appreciate that you let us know.

    Please rest assured that I've already deactivated this key from your account.

    The good news is you can access your account using the mobile app to continue riding!

    However, if you would still like to use a physical key, you can get one from a participating kiosk, which will be marked with a small, black key icon on the website station map.

    Here's the information you'll need:

    Bike key pick-up code: xxxx-xxxx-xxxx
    Expiration Date: 2020-02-10 19:40


    Should you have any other inquiries, don't hesitate to contact us again and we'll be glad to give you a hand in any way we can.

  5. #5
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    DrP:

    Looks like confirming of the phone number with your account is the answer. In early 2020 riders had to update their accounts (yes, there were more earlier emails to users about updating). We had to do this with the launch of ebikes, and because we had seen a big spike in stolen bikes in the past two years. This phone number verification was part of tightening the security measures.

    Part of that process linked an existing member's old key fob to their new account (identified via phone verification). If the account did not update or link the key properly, the key FOB would stop working. Members were allowed to ride for a period of time without upgrading due to Covid-19, but this was phased out late fall/early winter. Riders can link any unpaired fob to their account, but they must log in online themselves to add this.

    Whenever a disabled FOB tries to unlock a bike, the phone number or email associated with the old account receives a notification, hence the 51 emails. We are also confirming that customer service should be directing riders with a key to add it to their account.

    I've also attached a .pdf of screen shots to walk through the process. Hope this helps.

    Of course, downloading the app will also let you unlock right away.

    Henry
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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry View Post
    DrP:

    Looks like confirming of the phone number with your account is the answer. In early 2020 riders had to update their accounts (yes, there were more earlier emails to users about updating). We had to do this with the launch of ebikes, and because we had seen a big spike in stolen bikes in the past two years. This phone number verification was part of tightening the security measures.

    Part of that process linked an existing member's old key fob to their new account (identified via phone verification). If the account did not update or link the key properly, the key FOB would stop working. Members were allowed to ride for a period of time without upgrading due to Covid-19, but this was phased out late fall/early winter. Riders can link any unpaired fob to their account, but they must log in online themselves to add this.

    Whenever a disabled FOB tries to unlock a bike, the phone number or email associated with the old account receives a notification, hence the 51 emails. We are also confirming that customer service should be directing riders with a key to add it to their account.

    I've also attached a .pdf of screen shots to walk through the process. Hope this helps.

    Of course, downloading the app will also let you unlock right away.

    Henry
    Thank you, Henry.
    However, this all assumes that one has a smart phone or any cell phone with texting ability. I spent a lot of time on the phone (landline) with them today (partially because their phones kept disconnecting). Some folks thought I needed a new key and others just the verification, but either way I would need the verification. They have recently changed their system and require verification by texting a cell phone some information. They cannot fathom anyone not having such capability (while I know many like this - and in the 30-50 year old range, done by choice, not inability to understand). I requested to escalate the issue, but I have my doubts that it would ever be resolved. I will keep trying, but I am very unhappy. And that they didn't e-mail me (which ability they clearly have) to let me know I needed to fix this before I ended up walking 3 miles home. I never received earlier e-mails about this - I checked last night since I save all those.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrP View Post
    Thank you, Henry.
    However, this all assumes that one has a smart phone or any cell phone with texting ability. I spent a lot of time on the phone (landline) with them today (partially because their phones kept disconnecting). Some folks thought I needed a new key and others just the verification, but either way I would need the verification. They have recently changed their system and require verification by texting a cell phone some information. They cannot fathom anyone not having such capability (while I know many like this - and in the 30-50 year old range, done by choice, not inability to understand). I requested to escalate the issue, but I have my doubts that it would ever be resolved. I will keep trying, but I am very unhappy. And that they didn't e-mail me (which ability they clearly have) to let me know I needed to fix this before I ended up walking 3 miles home. I never received earlier e-mails about this - I checked last night since I save all those.
    Apparently if you are persistent (days, hours on the phone, and multiple e-mails asking for escalation), someone there knows that it does not need to be a cell phone with texting capabilities. You can use a landline and tell it to call you with the code (just wait on the web page for the "resend code" and "call me" buttons). I went through the process and my account recognizes me now. I will try to check out a bike soon to see if it is completely solved. Of course, I needed a bike last Thursday, Friday or Saturday and earlier today... but hopefully I can use it in future!

  9. #8
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    That sounds incredibly frustrating, DrP.

    I had a CaBi fob suddenly stop working a couple of years ago. There was no visible damage, but it had survived years of use and abuse. Fortunately it was before this new replacement process went into effect, and I had a positive experience when I called CaBi customer service. Since my fob was old, they offered to send me a free replacement by mail, after confirming some information over the phone. The new fob arrived a few days later.

    In the interim, I was able to use the credit card linked to my account to get free one-time activation codes. I believe the option of using the credit card linked to your account is still an option, even though they encourage you to use the app. However, I have not tried to use it in a while.

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