IVC students disgruntled about defective library copy cards

Micah Brown

A steady rise in student complaints regarding defective copy cards in the Irvine Valley College library has prompted school administration to investigate the efficiency of the card dispensers. CMS Inc. provides the card management service to IVC and Saddleback College that facilitates students’ ability to make copies on the machines in the library.

According to Jayne Sinegal, chair of the School of Library Services at IVC, the system “enables students to purchase a copy card from a dispenser for the price of $1 CMS charges 35 cents for the cost of the plastic card.” A balance of 65 cents remains on the card for students to spend on copies.

IVC student Eden Banarie, 20, biology, recently experienced that the card system does not always work smoothly.

“When I went to use my card on the library printers, I received a bad data message.” She became concerned about her card balance. “When I tried to add more money to the card, I was told to ‘retry card’ by the machine.”

Fellow IVC student Vadi Erdal, 19, archaeology, also victimized by a faulty card, has given up on seeking help from library staff. “They never do anything about it.” Although the monetary loss is seemingly insignificant, Erdal is frustrated with the hassle and consistency of the problem. “It has happened before.”

This has become an ongoing problem among IVC students, but does not seem to be occurring at Saddleback.

Eric Garant, Saddleback’s director of Instructional Support Services, confirmed that the same company manages the copying service at both schools, but that there have not been any problems with the equipment or cards at Saddleback. “There haven’t been any complaints,” Garant stated.

After seeking help from IVC library staff, to little avail, Banarie was compelled to bring up the issue directly to CMS.

“[They said] the card has a magnetic stripe on the back that can become de-magnetized due to being exposed to other magnetic material, like a ringing cell phone.”

Contrary to the alleged lack of support for Banarie and Erdal from library staff, there is a policy in place at IVC structured for dealing with this situation.

According to Sinegal, “If there are problems with copying or printing documents, the staff at the circulation desk will issue, as a courtesy to students, a 65 cent replacement card. If students prefer a cash return, CMS will only return $1 in cash and requires the completion of refund return form to be signed by the student.”

Sinegal acknowledged the ongoing problem and said that IVC is working with CMS Inc. to ensure the card dispensing machine and copy cards are operating correctly. “We are investigating whether there may be problems with newly dispensed cards or replacement cards. Our circulation staff has placed a repair call to CMS and hope this situation will be resolved soon.”

When contacted regarding this issue, CMS representative Sarah Seltzer confirmed the information given by Banarie and Sinegal. “There are different reasons why a card will not work. If it gets used often, it may get demagnetized and the card reader won’t be able to read it. If the card is dirty, [the machine] will flag it as not readable.”

Seltzer said CMS cards warn students that there are no refunds, but the company will reimburse students the card fee when it is apparent the problem is a result of faulty equipment. “If anybody has any issues, we provide the libraries with funds so that they can refund [students] that feel that they have been wronged from poor copy quality or something like [monetary loss].” Seltzer also said, “If anybody wants to contact us or if they have issues, we’re always here. Feel free to call us.”

Ultimately, Banarie received compensation for her loss, but she still felt the lack of student awareness is unfortunate. “There’s still no warning for students about the possibility of the cards becoming de-magnetized and the money being lost. It obviously happens a lot.”

Fortunately, the trouble she and Vadi Erdal experienced while trying to make copies should raise awareness among other students and college staff-members about what to do if they find themselves in the same situation.