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Parks department reports credit card payment issues during fall class registration

A frustrated technology user (illustration by ARLnow)

(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) Registration for fall classes through the parks department hit a snag this afternoon.

Spots opened up Tuesday for this fall’s slate of recreation and nature and history classes, dubbed ENJOY classes. Today, however, users may have experienced a slow system with error messages not authorizing credit card payments or delays receiving receipts.

Early this afternoon, the Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation announced it was having technical difficulties with accepting payments by credit card.

In posts on social media, DPR encouraged people to instead pay by eCheck as it does not go through the same payment system as credit cards.

About 30 minutes later, the parks department said the issue had been resolved.

DPR spokeswoman Jerry Solomon tells ARLnow the payment snafu only briefly affected registration today. Between Tuesday and yesterday, she said, the system successfully logged more than 8,000 total registrations, including more than 7,000 completed online.

“The payment issue was only experienced during today’s registration,” she said. “We posted on our webpages and social media to make sure the community was aware, however as soon as the issue was rectified, people were able to resume their registration process as normal.”

Just after 12:50 p.m. the parks department received the all-clear from the payment processor that the system is fully functioning. By 1:20 p.m., more than 3,600 people were able to successfully register for classes, Solomon noted.

“We will have a better sense of what occurred today once our payment processor has diagnosed the issue,” Solomon said.

There was an issue with the payment processor during the Summer ENJOY registration process but she said it is unclear if this issue is the same.

“During the summer, staff were able to quickly respond by sharing an announcement online, helping callers, and making arrangements for payment by eCheck or at a later date,” she said.

This bug may be new but DPR has a history of issues with its registration platform.

In recent years parents would wake up bright and early, mouses at the ready, they would encounter problems logging in and navigating error messages — due to the crush of people trying to register at the same time.

Longstanding issues bubbled over last year when, despite efforts to beef up the system, it still crashed. County leaders put pressure on DPR to study what went wrong and develop a corrective plan. The break down also prompted the county to focus on ensuring departments properly vet technology services vendors.

After some tweaks and the addition of a wait room, this year’s summer camp registration process seemed to go off without a hitch — only for this new credit card payment issue to arise.

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