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Caution--no refund on Compass Cards if no Canadian Address

Texas
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18 posts
3 reviews
1 helpful vote
Caution--no refund on Compass Cards if no Canadian Address
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We returned from a 5 day trip to Vancouver a few days ago. There were 5 of us using public transportation, so we had 5 Compass Cards. No where in my reading while planning this trip did I read that you can't get a refund for the $6 card deposit and any remaining funds if you don't have a Canadian address with which to register each card. All I read was that you could go to a specific location in Vancouver or mail them back later. The Vancouver location didn't fit our plans, and since I thought I could mail them back for a refund I didn't make any special effort to get to the location for a refund. I called today and was told, sorry, no refund without a Canadian address.

So, warning to non-Canadians who don't have plans to return to Vancouver or who don't have a Canadian friend/relative under whose name you can register your card (they'll get your refund and have to send you the money)...get your refund while you're still there. It's not a life shattering amount of money, but it would have been nice to know this ahead of time. There's nothing that I saw at the kiosks (or here on Trip Advisor) that explained it. Maybe I missed it.

Penticton, Canada
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28,616 posts
27 reviews
11 helpful votes
1. Re: Caution--no refund on Compass Cards if no Canadian Address
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You likely paid more money for souvenirs - frame the thing and call it a souvenir

Texas
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18 posts
3 reviews
1 helpful vote
2. Re: Caution--no refund on Compass Cards if no Canadian Address
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Also, note that when you check the balance (and the balance that shows as you tap in and out from buses, trains, etc) does 'not' include your $6 deposit.

Vancouver, Canada
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39,541 posts
60 reviews
46 helpful votes
3. Re: Caution--no refund on Compass Cards if no Canadian Address
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That is good to know. That actually really surprises me. I hope you weren't over by too much on your cards. I suppose you can try to sell them to inbound passengers. That's a nuisance. On the other hand, they shouldn't expire if you know any one who is planning a trip.

I'm sorry this happened. Starting in a couple of weeks, you have the option to just tap a credit card, which will simplify things for some travellers. The Compass Card information should definitely include this point.

Texas
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18 posts
3 reviews
1 helpful vote
4. Re: Caution--no refund on Compass Cards if no Canadian Address
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No, we didn't spend that much in souvenirs, but thanks for the snarky reply. Just want others, especially if traveling in a large group, to not make the same mistake just because we didn't have all the details ahead of time.

Nanaimo, Canada
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31,371 posts
115 reviews
79 helpful votes
5. Re: Caution--no refund on Compass Cards if no Canadian Address
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I'd be really pi$$ed about that. One card is one thing, but 5 of them? Even in Canadian $$$ that is too much for any scrap book I would make. Thanks for the heads up, and for warning other travelers that are visiting Vancouver from out of the country.

Where in Texas are you located? I have a friend in Forth Worth that might be heading this way in August!

Surrey, Canada
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145 posts
1 review
2 helpful votes
6. Re: Caution--no refund on Compass Cards if no Canadian Address
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You didn’t miss it, it’s really not clear on their website. It states that visitors from outside Canada can mail in the form but “please note the policies above”; those policies include the statement that only registered cards are eligible for a refund. When you log on to register a card, that system says that “only Canadian addresses are supported at this time”. Far be it from me to accuse Translink of being deliberately obtuse (insert eyeroll), but this does seem pretty misleading.

On the plus side it does give you an excuse to return 😊

Canada
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5,791 posts
21 reviews
24 helpful votes
7. Re: Caution--no refund on Compass Cards if no Canadian Address
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If it makes you feel better, Chicago Transit does the exact same thing to non-Americans. You can't register a Ventra card in order to get credit for your deposit with a foreign address.

Edmonton, Canada
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8,182 posts
78 reviews
73 helpful votes
8. Re: Caution--no refund on Compass Cards if no Canadian Address
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It bothers me to see you even need to "register" to get your money back. There's a privacy implication; I'd prefer my travels, locally at least, be anonymous.

Smart cities have an attendant at the airport where you can get your deposit back after that last ride to the airport. (Sore point with me; I live in a backward city where you still have to pay with exact-change coins or tickets, no electronic option some 20 years after the technology showed up in modern cities.)

Penticton, Canada
Level Contributor
28,616 posts
27 reviews
11 helpful votes
9. Re: Caution--no refund on Compass Cards if no Canadian Address
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So I am curious how much would it have cost for all the trips that were taken without a Compass Card?

Basically did you lose any money by getting a Compass Card compared to single fares. Just wondering if it was still a good deal without getting a refund? The latter would be good info for others traveling to Vancouver.

and, we still have our Navigo Decouverte from Paris which cost way more than $6.00 Cdn and no refund options; we got our money worth, they are now souvenirs and we proudly showed them to friends that will be visiting Paris next month (-:

Texas
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18 posts
3 reviews
1 helpful vote
10. Re: Caution--no refund on Compass Cards if no Canadian Address
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Having a refund location at the airport would be perfect. You could use your card for that last trip and then get the refund while still in Canada. Obviously I'm sure they'd rather not issue the refunds, but it would be a great convenience. I know I read the refund form, but as stated above, the refund form doesn't mention this policy...only when you actually try to register the card do you get the error if you try to input a non-Canadian address. Oh well...we had a great trip! Just would have been nice to not end it feeling a bit ripped off.

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