SINGAPORE: In a frustrating ordeal that lasted for months, a Singaporean found herself entangled in a bureaucratic hassle with EZ-Link Pte Ltd after losing her father-in-law’s EZ-Link card in June of this year.

Her predicament began when she applied for a refund, only to be informed that the refund couldn’t be processed due to an outstanding balance of 77 cents from a failed automatic deduction dating back eight years.

Ms Sun (transliterated from Mandarin) told Channel 8 news that the lost card was registered under her EZ-Link mobile app so she promptly reported the loss, terminated the card, and initiated a refund request, as the card held a stored value of $23.05 at the time of its disappearance.

However, her pursuit of a refund took a frustrating turn. Despite receiving an email from EZ-Link Pte Ltd inquiring about her application, her follow-up inquiries and requests for a refund went unanswered. Calls and messages to the company were met with silence.

It wasn’t until two months later, on August 22, that Ms Sun received an email from the company. This email informed her that her refund request could not be granted due to an outstanding 77-cent balance from another card linked to her account. The email also clarified that when users activate the automatic recharge function, EZ-Link first tops up the card and then attempts to retrieve the funds from the user’s registered automatic top-up account. Outstanding amounts arise when EZ-Link fails to access funds from the user’s bank or credit card account.

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Perplexed by this revelation, Ms Sun questioned why EZ-Link was addressing this issue after eight years of silence, particularly when she had no knowledge of an unsettled balance in the first place. Despite her demands for an explanation, the company remained unresponsive. It was only on September 20, after she called the company again, that staff promised that a manager would contact her.

A manager finally contacted Ms Sun on Monday (Oct 2) and informed her that her refund request was granted. Ms Sun said:

“I received a call yesterday and they said they would return the money to me, but there was no further information. So my money has been received, but I’m afraid no one is following up on this systemic problem.”

Ms Sun told the Chinese daily that she believes that it is very unreasonable for the company to find out after eight years that the customer owes money. She also revealed that she has had constant problems using the EZ-Link mobile app over the years and expressed hope the app can be improved.