clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Racked Mailbag: The MTA's 'Brilliant' Scam

New, 8 comments

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Once in a while, we pull letters from the Racked Inbox and post them for your enjoyment and/or enlightenment. Want to contribute? We're listening. Anonymity always assured.

The posting of one Starbucks customer's grievances have inspired another reader to speak up about scamming of a slightly different nature. The email:

Saw you noted something about the shenanigans going on at Starbucks with their debit cards. Was wondering if you'd noticed the brilliant scam in progress at the MTA. They've changed the 'prepackaged' Metrocard values, such that you're always left with a value less than one fare on the card. Whereas you used to be able to buy a $10 card, get $2 free (6 rides, exactly) and just throw out - I mean recycle - the used cards when done, now you have to save them because they've got values of .05 or $1.05 or $1.50 on them. They're banking on people leaving this loose changed unused, right? WTF was broken about offering cards with an exact number of rides on 'em?
Though others have no doubt realized the new card policy is a bum deal for riders, we're still puzzled as to what you are supposed to do with the left-over change on your Metrocard. Answers, anyone?
· Racked Mailbag: Starbucks Cards Not So Rewarding [Racked]