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Thread: Poorly 'designed' system for discounted annual membership

  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Poorly 'designed' system for discounted annual membership

    I've been an annual membership holder since the first couple years of the program, and I realized today that my last 6 rides have all been charged $2, as my membership expired on or about Aug. 30th. I had been to the online portal earlier this summer, and had seen both the expiry date and my CC info there. So... I presumed it would renew. Not so.

    1) According to the call center rep, my membership was not set up for automatic renewal. Well then... it would help greatly if you'd make it obvious on the profile page that this is the case. I work for a school, and we are offered discounted memberships- which is amazing- but the renewal process has always been dysfunctional. Cap Bikeshare have changed the process more than once, and it has rarely worked properly. Since going off the standard membership and onto the one my school offers, 4-5 years ago, I have never had a seamless renewal- there has always been a week+ of wait, sometimes much longer.

    2) When an annual membership expires, the system doesn't send out a reminder. They just start charging you $2 per ride. It's my own fault that I ignore the texts I opted to get every trip- looking back, the new ones did say I was charged $2, I just didn't read them anymore. But what is inexcusable here is that, for people who have additional challenges navigating this system, this is tantamount to theft. I teach adult immigrants, all of whom are learning English, and many (most, really) of whom aren't fully comfortable with internet technology. Holding them accountable for keeping track of their expiration, and then automatically charging them 40% of their annual membership cost per ride after that is... unethical to say the least. I'm sure the Program will argue that's it's not illegal, due to reams of legalese in the rider use agreement, but that doesn't remotely respect the customer.

    Do better, CaBi. The community relies on you.

  2. #2
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    I sort of had the opposite experience. My membership was supposed to renew in April 2020. COVID hit right before then, and I started working from home and stopped using CaBi. I didn't pay attention, and my account was automatically renewed in April 2020. I just searched my emails and text and I didn't get a notification. I guess I opted in when I first signed up for auto renewal and forgot about it. I didn't notice this until 6 months later, so I wound up paying for a year but did not use it a single time.

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  4. #3
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    Let's not forget the awfullness of the website now insisting that you have cell phone service and use (insecure) SMS text messages to log in, rather than providing your account password over an encrypted, authenticated web connection. While the rest of the world is using things like Google Authenticator, USB security keys, and, yes, SMS in addition to passwords to make logins more secure, CaBi has switched to 100% SMS, making things less secure (and less convenient -- I can't be the only person who regulary finds himself in buildings with terrible cell service).

    IME there's no point complaining to CaBi, as it seems to be a complete mess. Maybe complaining to your elected officials would help since they own the system.

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  6. #4
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    Opposite in certain ways, but exactly the same in terms of lack of communication being the root cause. Unless it's a horribly unsuited system to begin with- which may certainly be the case- in this day and age it shouldn't be too much to expect automated notifications for things such as your account expiring soon or automatically renewing.

  7. #5
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    It would be helpful if the profile page was more explicit about whether you're enrolled for automatic renewal and when a special type of membership (e.g., employer-sponsored) is set to expire.

    In the past, I have received an email a month before my scheduled automatic payment for my annual membership renewal. The emails are a useful reminder.

    It seems like CaBi also could send a nudge/reminder if an employer-sponsored membership is about to end (e.g., your membership expires on x, you have the following options...).

    I get the text message confirmations, but prefer the ride history in the app, which is pretty clear about charges.

    Do we know that folks who qualify for a discounted or free membership through their local government would actually experience similar issues? I would hope not. I would hope that the local government would be the entity determining eligibility and when to end benefits, not CaBi.

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbehrend View Post
    It would be helpful if the profile page was more explicit about whether you're enrolled for automatic renewal and when a special type of membership (e.g., employer-sponsored) is set to expire
    Amen. I'm not sure how well that could work -- for years my employer has provided benefits by handing out "coupon codes". I guess all they should need to do is keep track of the purpose of each unique code, or ask you, when renewing with a coupon, if you intend to do the same next time.

    Quote Originally Posted by dbehrend View Post
    Do we know that folks who qualify for a discounted or free membership through their local government would actually experience similar issues? I would hope not. I would hope that the local government would be the entity determining eligibility and when to end benefits, not CaBi.
    I'd be shocked if they fare any better. I know CaBi has different account classes, e.g. some who qualify for free memberships also are able to keep a bike out for considerably more than 30 minutes without incurring an overage fee.

    BTW, the login system is even worse today, as in: it doesn't work at all. It won't send texts, and if you click the right button combination to see the "Call me" option, the website displays "Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again.". Also, no surprise here, their "Fix log-in issues" page seems outdated, e.g. it suggests they text from a five digit "short code" when, as recently as three days ago, they were using a regular 10-digit US phone number.

  9. #7
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    Thank you for these postings. I have shared all of this with the Lyft staff who operate the system and regional government staff who oversee them. You are correct. It is poor design compounded by outdated information on the website. We will work to get this fixed.

    Henry
    Last edited by Henry; 09-14-2021 at 12:27 PM.

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  11. #8
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    Thanks, Henry.

    Here's another one: the "corporate membership" info on https://help.capitalbikeshare.com/hc...02571-Renewals is also out of date -- it says to log in to https://account.capitalbikeshare.com/, find "See Plans", which is not on that page, and then click "Join & Save", which also isn't on that page.

    (BTW my employer provided me a PDF with a Student/Corporate program code and slighly different, although still useless, instructions. I have also opened a CaBi support ticket in hopes of at least retaining my access to their bikes.)

  12. #9
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    I'm sure you won't be surprise to hear that the initial response to my support request included a new set of instructions that also did not work. Those instructions have seven steps, and I couldn't even get through the second because they don't align with the actual CaBi website behavior.

    BTW, my memmbership is no longer listed as "expired" on the site. It now says it will renew in about two weeks, though it doesn't indicate which of my two payment methods will be used, nor give me any way to remove either of those methods from my account, nor to disable automatic renewal!

    I'm not at all surprised. For years CaBi has occasionally exhibited problems suggesting ineffective development and change management processes. What I'm seeing this week suggests both that management hasn't thought through some user activity paths [like somebody with a corporate freebie wanting to continue as an employer-paid subscriber after one year, or somebody wanting their account not to be renewed], and that they're deploying software updates (changing the coupon renewal process) and making configuration changes (switching SMS to a regular 10-digit phone number) without also revising their online public-facing documentation and internal customer service boilerplates. Lyft is just carrying forward many of the bad habits developed at Motivate. :-(

  13. #10
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    Thanks. Add these to the notes.
    Henry

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