I’ve taken down the post I wrote yesterday afternoon regarding my terrible, very bad customer experience at the Met. This has now been resolved. Read on:
Briefly, here’s a non-dramatic summary of the initial incident:
I won the lottery (Full disclosure, I object to the lottery for a number of reasons and miss the rush ticket line, but that’s another post.)
The way the lottery works is you get an email telling you that you won. You click a link from the email and you purchase your one or two $25 tickets up to two hours before the show.
When I pressed proceed to cart, I found someone else’s name, address, phone number, type of card, last four digits of card and order. I couldn’t remove that information and I couldn’t order my tickets.
I was spooked by seeing someone else’s stuff, and frustrated because I couldn’t buy my tickets.
I called Customer Service who could not help to buy the ticket, but advised me to print my “you are a winner” email and go to the Met box office to purchase the ticket. She also said she would report the computer glitch. Then things turned really sour as the Box Office clerk told me there was nothing he could do because you have to buy the lottery tickets online. This was after I told him about the glitch AND that customer service had told me to go there.
I got “assertive.” I did manage to get my tickets but it wasn’t pleasant, and I still had concerns that the Met wasn’t taking the computer glitch all that seriously.
I went to the opera. It was lovely.
So after blogging about it and maybe alerting the media (because that’s the way we roll in the Big Apple), I did hear back today from the Director of Customer Service. We had a long chat. She assured me the information I saw was “dormant” and that no one could have used the person’s account to buy anything. I let her know that wasn’t my only concern. There was still more information than I should have seen. It was information that an unscrupulous person could use to get more information. She agreed, and said they were looking into how it happened and keeping it from happening again.
She assured me that what customer service told me was correct. That was a big deal because part of why I was upset was because I thought I’d been given the run around — either inadvertently or on purpose. Here’s the important take away: Lottery winners who are unable to purchase their tickets online, can present the “winner” email to the box office, and even if you don’t have the printed email with you, they should be able to look up your customer information. She said once I presented the “winner” email, there should have been no questions asked — “Here are your tickets. Enjoy the show.” She apologized and took responsibility for that human glitch, and said it was being looked into.
She also patiently let me vent about the lottery system and how it might not be working out too well. There were lots of empty seats around me at that night’s performance. And while the lottery may be make the cheap seats more accessible for some nine to fivers, the fact that tourists who don’t live in the US (and residents of Florida!) can’t participate is an issue. I felt heard on that. It’s not often we (the little people in the cheap seats) get a chance to feel heard.
Full disclosure: I’m getting comped for my troubles.
I still don’t like the lottery and I’m not feeling 100% confident about their website handles private customer information, but overall this was a pretty good outcome.
(Updated to add: Just went online and ordered a couple of tickets for Un Ballo in Maschera as a special present for myself. After logging in, the system asked for credit card info instead of automatically charging me to a stored card. I consider this a good thing.)