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Consumer Watch: Clipper Card System To Deduct Money Owed After 2010 Computer Glitch

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) - Nearly 8,000 Clipper Card users are being told they need to pay-up for some free rides they were accidentally given a long time ago.

Last week, The Metropolitan Transportation Commission began emailing notices to 7,954 bus riders whose Clipper Cards were credited with funds during the period from August 2010 through May 2012, but never actually had any money deducted from their bank accounts.

John Goodwin of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission said it appears something went wrong during the "auto-reload" process, in which funds are replenished on the cards once a month.

Heather Anderson of San Francisco received two notices informing her she owed $40 from late 2010.

"I first thought it was fraud," Anderson told ConsumerWatch. "It seemed so ridiculous that it couldn't possibly be for a charge that was two years old."

The MTC's Goodwin said the billing snafu largely affected riders on crowded lines, such as the N-Judah.

"The bus didn't upload its clipper transactions into the system," he explained. Goodwin said human error may have played a role, as well.

"We've checked the process and confirmed every customer did receive the value on their cards." Goodwin said. In all, nearly $231,000 went unbilled because of the glitch, and that the average customer affected owes $29.00.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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