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May 16, 2011

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Concerns over travel card top-up device

DOUBTS have been raised about the reliability of a new device allowing money to be to added or transferred to transport cards online, after users claimed that credit "disappeared" from their cards.

The USB device, developed by Shanghai Public Transport Card Co and available since May 5 for 120 yuan (US$18), is intended to improve convenience for card users.

But a resident, surnamed Chen, living on Chongming Island, complained that 972 yuan on his public transport card vanished after he encountered an unexpected system error when using the device to transfer money from one card to another over the weekend.

Chen said he had followed every step in the instruction book and kept the network running, but when he pressed the "confirm" button, the application crashed and the remaining 972 yuan on the card was lost.

He believes that the device and an unstable trading platform caused the problem.

Other residents complained to Shanghai Daily that they had encountered system errors when using the device that stopped them transferring money.

They speculated the card top-up system was still at a testing stage and full of bugs.

A customer service worker with the company hotline said system errors had occurred because too many users were using the device and the online trading platform at the same time, causing network delays.

She said delays might cause the money to temporarily disappear in the system, but after the problem of a network delay was solved - which could take hours or days - the money should reappear.

She said users encountering these errors should dial the hotline 12319 for technical support during weekdays.

It was reported that more than 800 of the devices were bought on its first day on sale, even though some consumers had said 120 yuan was too expensive.

The device also features a function that allows users to track down taxis online if they leave behind belongings or forget to get an invoice.


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