Man's SwissPass suspended after he is mistakenly declared dead 3 times

Man's SwissPass suspended after he is mistakenly declared dead 3 times

It’s not often that modern technology goes wrong, but when it does it can be quite spectacular: a man from Solothurn in Switzerland has had his SwissPass blocked multiple times over the past few months. After some digging, he was informed that he had been declared dead three times in three months.

Man's SwissPass gets suspended three months in a row

According to SRF consumer magazine Espresso, the story starts back in August, when the man tried to pay for a ticket using the SwissPass app on his mobile phone. However, he noticed that his request for a ticket kept being rejected by the system, regardless of how many times he tried.

After he later called customer service, Alliance SwissPass - the company responsible for issuing passes for Swiss public transport - apologised and re-activated his account. Unfortunately, this only worked for a month, with the man’s pass being rejected again in September. After it happened again in October, the man began to suspect that it had nothing to do with his bank account or mobile app and decided to do some digging.

SwissPass did not work as man was thought to be dead

Contacting a friend who worked at the ticket office at Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), the man soon learnt that in the past three months he had been declared “dead” by the ticketing system three different times. If someone is registered as dead in Alliance SwissPass' system, their account is blocked and all recurring tickets are suspended. 

Armed with this knowledge, the man called the helpline again, only to be told that they couldn’t do anything about it. Faced with the prospect of having to call Alliance SwissPass every single month, the man then contacted Espresso.

Alliance SwissPass apologises for dead man glitch

Speaking to the magazine, Alliance SwissPass spokesperson Reto Hügli apologised profusely for their response and for the glitch. “There was a mix-up with another customer account,” he explained, noting that if a person shares the same name, address or date of birth as someone who passes away, the system can accidentally take down the wrong account.

He confirmed that the issue with the man’s account has been resolved and that helpline staff will be given further training on how to handle the glitch.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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