I’ve written quite a bit about how terrible the Railway Ministry’s online ticket sales system was this Spring Festival. More recently, we heard rumors that they may be looking to outsource this service to someone competent for next year, a development I’m sure China’s millions of weary Spring Festival travelers would welcome. But I must say, even I didn’t expect that more than a month after Spring Festival ended, the website could still be causing Spring Festival-related problems.
But apparently it is. The Southern Metropolis Daily is reporting that some customers who, for one reason or another, canceled their ticket purchases and requested refunds this Spring Festival still haven’t gotten their money back. These refunds, according to regulations, are supposed to be issued within fifteen days.
It’s unclear how many people this may be affecting, as the Southern Metropolis Daily article focuses on one specific case of a man who has been waiting for his refund since February 20th. His calls to the Railway Ministry site’s customer service hotline resulted in a busy signal, but the reporter was finally able to get in touch with a rep who told him that customers with refund problems could leave their emails and feedback via a form on the ticket sales site, and that the Ministry would resolve such cases quickly (the rep did not provide a specific time limit).
In any event, the fact that repeated calls to the customer service hotline of a national railway ticket sales service resulted in a constant busy signal is just further evidence that the Railway Ministry is unwilling or unable to operate a professional online ticket sales service. Here’s hoping they contract it out to someone competent sooner rather than later.