We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Using an Opal Card in Sydney Australia, Beware!!!

Swansboro, North...
Level Contributor
1 post
5 reviews
Save Topic
Using an Opal Card in Sydney Australia, Beware!!!

Beware! We purchased Opal Cards on the internet prior to leaving the USA for a trip to Sydney. The Opal Card is like a debit card used to purchase all types of transportation, i.e. buses, trains, ferries, etc. Just hop on hop off and scan the card. The merchant name that showed up on our credit card when they were purchased was "Transport for New South Wales". While the Opal card worked great in Sydney, the above named company has screwed us for the remaining balance on our cards. We asked for a refund when we returned to the States. They say we can not have a refund of unused balance, unless we have an Australian bank account. Really? They had no problem charging our credit card when we loaded the Opal Cards; and now won't give us a refund! Scam! Scam! So, do the next best thing, call your credit card company and request a charge back! We did!

Mentioned in this post
Sydney
Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
9 replies to this topic
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
1,370 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Using an Opal Card in Sydney Australia, Beware!!!

I don’t think you can get a refund on any card bought in Australia unless you have an Australian bank account, I couldn’t imagine you could do the same in the US. You could have got a refund easily from the train station though. How much are we talking here? There is no need to buy one before you come, they are easy to get in Australia.

Mentioned in this post
Australia
Australia
South Pacific
Edinburgh
Level Contributor
10,895 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Using an Opal Card in Sydney Australia, Beware!!!

The best thing to do is not overload the card.

How much did you have remaining g onit anyway? Given the cheap cost of OPAL fares plus the daily and weekly caps, it allows a lot of travel for a small cost

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
11,444 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Using an Opal Card in Sydney Australia, Beware!!!

The OP is correct that it is a bit of a scam and weakness in the Opal card system - there are no cash refunds of unused balance (so no refund at a rail station).

https:/…

As a comparison, the London Oyster card gives refunds back to the credit card on the spot/when leaving London.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
Level Contributor
20,432 posts
203 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Using an Opal Card in Sydney Australia, Beware!!!

No you could not get a refund from anywhere.... Train stations and merchants dont refund in cash or to credit card accounts. Thats why we always advise minimum loading

Did you read the T&C before buying or even anywhere on here that tells you this in plain English?

https:/…

Have you received the charge back? I suspect once your CC company reads the T&C which you agreed to at time of purchase they may take a different view on refunding other purchasers,, they will have no recourse with Transport NSW .

Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Brisbane
Level Contributor
12,555 posts
112 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Using an Opal Card in Sydney Australia, Beware!!!

This is not unusual ... in New York, Paris, Rome etc none give refunds on public transport tickets. You have to work out what you need and hopefully don't overspend. I would say those places that do refund would very much be in the minority.

As always read the T&C's BEFORE purchasing, not after.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2,265 posts
142 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Using an Opal Card in Sydney Australia, Beware!!!

It is an inconvenience for travellers but it is in the t&c and as others have said, we always advice posters to put in minimum necessary and then just top it up. Don't forget, your money is valid for 9 years and you can pass the card on to anyone who might be able to use it (with or without reimbursement). This is just how most stored value card works. I have hundreds of dollars locked up in sundry opal cards and e-tags for road tolls. Not much I can do about that.

The good news is that they are trialing tap on/off credit card on Sydney ferries and in time will work right through the system.

Mentioned in this post
Sydney
Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Brisbane, Queensland
Level Contributor
10,732 posts
52 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Using an Opal Card in Sydney Australia, Beware!!!

We had the lovely experience of another family giving us their Opal Cards when they were checking out of our mutual accommodation - there was enough money on each card for a train trip and some left over. We used them, and then handed them on to another family when we were leaving, again with balance on them - it was a nice little "pay it forward" thing to do.

After all, it is not sheep stations we are talking about.

Cheers

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
7,587 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Using an Opal Card in Sydney Australia, Beware!!!

OP - a Scam is a deliberate attempt to swindle someone.

Whilst I agree that not giving refunds to other than Australian bank accounts is unfortunate, your laziness in not reading the published T & Cs does not make it a scam.

As others have said, unless you loaded a ridiculous amount into it, the refund would have been negligible - and you could have done a good deed & passed the Opal cards on to someone else.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
Level Contributor
20,432 posts
203 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Using an Opal Card in Sydney Australia, Beware!!!

+1 on the handover.

I’ve seen a few people lately who have been handing opal cards to people as they enter domestic ...

Quite a few travellers think the card itself has a value..... it doesn’t.

Reply to: Using an Opal Card in Sydney Australia, Beware!!!
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted