Long Island Attorney Fights LIRR Refund Fees

MINEOLA, NY (WCBS 880) – It all began when Chris Ebel purchased five Long Island Rail Road tickets for $12.50.

Ebel was stunned when a conductor informed him that the tickets, which he was unable to use due to the snowstorm, had expired. When he sought a refund, he was told to read the fine print.

In that fine print, new rules and regulations require riders to pay $10 to the LIRR before it will refund money paid for tickets – which are now invalid after just two weeks.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports from Long Island

“Now they’re telling me I must pay them $10 for tickets I did not use,” Ebel told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Ebel’s attorney plans to file a lawsuit because the refund policy isn’t visible on the ticket. It is covered up by a bold, black-colored box that reads “One Way Peak.”

“The ticket is a contract, and the law specifically says if there’s language in the contract that’s unreadable, it’s unenforceable,” says Ebel’s attorney, Ken Mollins. “This language is covered up.”

Mollins wants all LIRR riders who paid the refund fee to get their money back.

“So, the Long Island Rail Road, who puts their hand in everybody’s pocket, they missed here,” says Mollins.

The LIRR said that, after nine public hearings and an advertising campaign, riders should know about the new policy. Now, though, the railroad is acknowledging a problem with “six percent of tickets” and promises to immediately work to better inform commuters.

“Although we are not legally obligated, we are going to fix that error – that printing error,” LIRR spokesman Joe Calderone said.

“This is predatory,” Ebel said. “This is a scheme for money.”

The LIRR also acknowledged that charging for refunds – and making tickets valid for just two weeks – is an attempt to plug a $900 million MTA deficit. The railroad said it can no longer afford to “eat the costs” of processing ticket refunds, adding that it will do a better job of announcing changes in the future.

More from Sophia Hall
  • kathy

    This is crooked and shd be illegal. Just about every store gives 30 days to exchanfe . Rhey are only selling a ride. How creepy and scuxxy they are,

  • Trevor

    Based upon comments I leave it to who is riding LIRR etc etc.
    And, one more thing..i.e. speak to yourselves first and know the truth.

  • yoel goldstein

    I peed on the seat last week : )

  • yoel goldstein

    This is completely racist against white people!!

  • Stan


    • voiceofreason

      Stan, i hope you have to ride a bike to work for the rest of your life

  • Trevor

    That’s not the reason I am leaving NY for good.
    But am Glad NY will be a Past as far as I am concerned, and a happy camper in a very much better managed state of Texas.

    • voiceofreason

      Good stay in Texas. You have nothing to offer NYC anyway with your less-than skills and slow thinking. You failed and had to return home to where “the livin’ sure is easy!” You failure

    • KPMc

      We all look forward to never hearing from you again. Now you can go to Texas local new site. Good Riddance!

  • Marianne

    The same EXACT thing happened to me…..the kicker is this… I purchased a ticket from New Hyde Park to StonyBrook…..on the day I wanted to use it the train was NOT running due to a snow storm. I had to write a letter to consumer affairs at LIRR and provide proof of purchase and after 6 weeks, they still refused a refund, but did give me two tickets to anywhere the LIRR travels…..this is terrible. I want my money!!!!!!

  • Cos

    $12.50 is not a lot of money, but during these rough economic times it could mean the difference between sandwhiches for the kids nothing…. If he jumped the gate and got caught, don’t you think the LIRR would waste more than $12.50 to pursue, catch and fine the guy? I think so…

  • sk

    the LIRR is the biggest rip off i the world! they are always lokking for more regulations/laws/higher faires etc. any excuse to make you pay more. any they can do that b/c its the only way to get to Manhattan if you don’t drive. More people should really protest/boycott. The RR is getting away with too much!

  • Mike

    I hate LIRR.

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