1st class journey refund

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petergibbinson

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Slightly long winded...I travelled from Orpington to Cannon street on a 1st class season ticket, and there were no seats at all (in 1st or standard) the train was not declassified.
I sent an email to southeastern requesting a refund for the difference in ticket between first and standard for that portion of the journey.
Southeastern emailed me back to say the train wasn't declassified so I wasn't entitled to a refund.
However I note that the national rail conditions of carriage (july 2015) page 18, section G subsection 38 clearly state that if you have a 1st class ticket and a first class seat is not available you are entitled to a refund.
I spoke to them and they said no I'm not entitled to a refund...this seems to contradict clear legislation in the national rail conditions of carriage?
Not about the money now...it's a matter of principle..
 
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Romilly

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My understanding is that if there is a 1st class compartment, and you have a 1st class ticket but don't have a reservation, then no compensation is due just because all the 1st class seats are taken by other passengers.

Condition 38 doesn't refer to a 1st class seat not being available but to 1st class accommodation not being available.
 
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maniacmartin

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NRCoC said:
38. Travelling in standard class accommodation with a first class ticket
If you have a first class ticket (or the equivalent) and the first class accommodation (or the
equivalent) shown in the National Rail Timetable is not available in any train you travel in,
you may claim a refund of the difference in price between the first class and the standard
class ticket for the relevant part of your journey.

'accommodation' also includes standing accommodation in the first class area sadly. I must say that it seems a bit mean-spirited of SouthEastern not to refund the difference as goodwill though.
 

Via Bank

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They are legally in the right I think, but complain, complain, complain and keep pushing. Consider writing to your MP too.

In my view, this is a loophole in the NRCoC, which has mysteriously not been removed. (I wonder why that could be?)
 
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najaB

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In my view, this is a loophole in the NRCoC, which has mysteriously not been removed. (I wonder why that could be?)
Are Standard class passengers able to get a refund if they have to stand?
 

Via Bank

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Are Standard class passengers able to get a refund if they have to stand?

No, they are not.

However, the First Class service provision on many NSE area TOCs has now degraded to a stage where a significant premium is being charged for what is superficially the same product: same seating, no partition, often no tables. And in my view, if seating is not guaranteed, the TOC has charged a significant premium for exactly the same product as Standard - and that's not really on.

But, as in Vegas, the house always wins - so I would regrettably expect this loophole to remain, unless it were challenged in Court or similar.
 

Starmill

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GTR run a scheme whereby passengers with First Class tickets who have to stand because there are no seats in First or Standard class get a refund. Virgin Trains East Coast will refund you the difference between First and Standard for your journey if there are no seats in First Class under their Seat Guarentee Scheme. I understand South West Trains run a similar scheme with vouchers given out by the guard.

Seems to me that Southeastern just aren't going the extra mile for their customers who pay a premium to travel in First Class.

If First Class is full and standing which means you can't get into it, then you're definitely entitled to compensation.

Are Standard class passengers able to get a refund if they have to stand?

Yes if they have a seat reservation and they abandon their journey.
 
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najaB

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...so I would regrettably expect this loophole to remain, unless it were challenged in Court or similar.
I'm not disagreeing with you that a TOC should refund/compensate 1st Class passengers who have to stand - from a customer service, company loyalty point of view. But I don't get why you class this as a loophole? If all the seats in 1st are full then it's likely that Standard is even more crowded so the 1st class passenger is getting a better standing environment.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Yes if they have a seat reservation and they abandon their journey.
If they have a seat reservation that's a different matter. The OP was travelling on a season ticket and there was no mention of a reservation having been made.
 

Starmill

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If they have a seat reservation that's a different matter. The OP was travelling on a season ticket and there was no mention of a reservation having been made.

They also weren't travelling in Standard Class. I assumed you were making a general point and gave a general answer for the benefit of anyone reading later.

To return to the OP, I'm shocked that someone paying the First Season price isn't getting more preferential treatment over and above NRCoC than you are. There can't be mamy people who spend as much on train travel as First Class season ticket holders.
 
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Via Bank

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I'm not disagreeing with you that a TOC should refund/compensate 1st Class passengers who have to stand - from a customer service, company loyalty point of view. But I don't get why you class this as a loophole? If all the seats in 1st are full then it's likely that Standard is even more crowded so the 1st class passenger is getting a better standing environment.

it comes down to the word 'accommodation' in the NRCoC. There is a reasonable assumption to be made that 'first class accommodation' refers to seating - while TOCs clearly take a different view on the matter, and consider it to be 'seating and surrounding floor space.'

Assuming the second definition is correct, in practice this means refunds are only due under NRCoC if there is no first class provided on a train where first class was advertised. It does nothing to protect the passenger in the event of underprovision of accommodation. By this logic, even if the first class area was a single seat and a small square around it, the TOC could throw up their hands and say 'not our problem, guv, we provided First Class and we're not responsible if it's full.'
 

petergibbinson

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Well I think you would have a good chance of winning in court - the conditions of carriage are nebulous enough that I think you would argue strongly that from a semantics point of view that first class accommodation being available means you get a seat (and in simple terms it wasn't available to me as all the space was taken)
Interesting however the very poorly worded email from them (and their website Q and A's) state that if you have a 1st class ticket and there are no 1st class carriages you are entitled to a refund - I travel back every day between 6 and 7 pm from Cannon Street to Orpington and all the trains are metro trains - they never have first class carriages. I have emailed them back stating please therefore refund me for 2 years whereby there were for no 1st class carriages on those trains (I would argue the email and their website statement is contractual)
Neither their email or website states the train should be advertised with 1st class carriages, just that "if there are no 1st class carriages on the service you are entitled to a refund"
I feel a notice before action and small claims court action....silly of me?
 

Tetchytyke

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SouthEastern are right. First Class accommodation was available, just full. Compensation is only where the accommodation is unavailable (i.e. a train with only standard class seats turns up instead)

In any other business the company would make a goodwill gesture, given that it's only a few quid and the repeated business is more worthwhile. But you've learned you're dealing with GoVia, who really couldn't give one tiny little stuff what you think. I'm sure this type of customer service will help you decide whether you wish to keep paying the first class surcharge though...
 
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Llanigraham

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Well I think you would have a good chance of winning in court - the conditions of carriage are nebulous enough that I think you would argue strongly that from a semantics point of view that first class accommodation being available means you get a seat (and in simple terms it wasn't available to me as all the space was taken)
Interesting however the very poorly worded email from them (and their website Q and A's) state that if you have a 1st class ticket and there are no 1st class carriages you are entitled to a refund - I travel back every day between 6 and 7 pm from Cannon Street to Orpington and all the trains are metro trains - they never have first class carriages. I have emailed them back stating please therefore refund me for 2 years whereby there were for no 1st class carriages on those trains (I would argue the email and their website statement is contractual)
Neither their email or website states the train should be advertised with 1st class carriages, just that "if there are no 1st class carriages on the service you are entitled to a refund"
I feel a notice before action and small claims court action....silly of me?

On EXACTLY what grounds would you take this to Court, and EXACTLY what Laws have been broken?
 

najaB

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I travel back every day between 6 and 7 pm from Cannon Street to Orpington and all the trains are metro trains - they never have first class carriages.
There are trains with 1st available both before 6pm and after 7pm. If you want to travel in 1st then travel earlier or later.
 
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Merseysider

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Well I think you would have a good chance of winning in court - the conditions of carriage are nebulous enough that I think you would argue strongly that from a semantics point of view that first class accommodation being available means you get a seat (and in simple terms it wasn't available to me as all the space was taken)
Interesting however the very poorly worded email from them (and their website Q and A's) state that if you have a 1st class ticket and there are no 1st class carriages you are entitled to a refund - I travel back every day between 6 and 7 pm from Cannon Street to Orpington and all the trains are metro trains - they never have first class carriages. I have emailed them back stating please therefore refund me for 2 years whereby there were for no 1st class carriages on those trains (I would argue the email and their website statement is contractual)
Neither their email or website states the train should be advertised with 1st class carriages, just that "if there are no 1st class carriages on the service you are entitled to a refund"
I feel a notice before action and small claims court action....silly of me?
For the sake of a few quid the risks outweigh the potential reward and the time involved would be significant. Not worth going to court over.
 

Tetchytyke

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I think you would argue strongly that from a semantics point of view that first class accommodation being available means you get a seat

No you couldn't.

Interesting however the very poorly worded email from them (and their website Q and A's) state that if you have a 1st class ticket and there are no 1st class carriages you are entitled to a refund

Only if the train is advertised as having first class accommodation which fails to materialise.

The "Metro" services are advertised as only having standard class accommodation.

I feel a notice before action and small claims court action....silly of me?

The chance of you winning would be somewhere between zero and nil.

The only silly thing is paying for first class tickets without checking whether your train conveys first class accommodation.
 

thedbdiboy

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Consumer Law aplies in this area. If you paid for a First Class ticket and were not able to get a seat because all the seats were taken you are entitled to a refund of the difference between First and Standard Class accommodation for that journey.
If you claim you should if possible provide some evidence (even a smartphone snap would help) plus of course all specific details, but SET and any replies on here stating that they don't have to provide you with a seat are incorrect. A STANDARD class ticket does not entitle you to a seat, but a FIRST CLASS ticket clearly does otherwise what is the point?
 

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Whilst I agree that a part-refund should morally be available to anyone unable to get a seat in 1st with a 1st class ticket, the Conditions seem to suggest otherwise.
NRCoC said:
40. Reserving seats
Seats in some trains can be reserved before you travel and you may have to pay a fee. Unless you have a seat reservation, the Train Companies do not guarantee to provide a seat for your journey.
The use of the word 'accommodation' elsewhere in the Conditions is somewhat ambiguous.
 

Haywain

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Compensation is only where the accommodation is unavailable (i.e. a train with only standard class seats turns up instead).
Compensation is only where the advertised 1st class accommodation is unavailable. If a train was advertised as being standard class only there is no compensation.
 

Tetchytyke

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Consumer Law aplies in this area. If you paid for a First Class ticket and were not able to get a seat because all the seats were taken you are entitled to a refund of the difference between First and Standard Class accommodation for that journey.

Care to point to the specific piece of legislation that states that?
 

Llanigraham

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Consumer Law aplies in this area. If you paid for a First Class ticket and were not able to get a seat because all the seats were taken you are entitled to a refund of the difference between First and Standard Class accommodation for that journey.
If you claim you should if possible provide some evidence (even a smartphone snap would help) plus of course all specific details, but SET and any replies on here stating that they don't have to provide you with a seat are incorrect. A STANDARD class ticket does not entitle you to a seat, but a FIRST CLASS ticket clearly does otherwise what is the point?

WRONG!
A rail ticket off any Class does NOT entitle you to a seat. It only entitles you to travel in the area specified to that Class.
 

suzanneparis

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This is something that needs addressing at government level. TOCs should be forced to give a refund for the difference between 1st and 2nd, otherwise what is the point in paying extra for first. Perhaps we need to write to our MPs.
 

Llanigraham

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This is something that needs addressing at government level. TOCs should be forced to give a refund for the difference between 1st and 2nd, otherwise what is the point in paying extra for first. Perhaps we need to write to our MPs.

Why?
See my reply above.
 

MikeWh

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WRONG!
A rail ticket off any Class does NOT entitle you to a seat. It only entitles you to travel in the area specified to that Class.
It's interesting that you confidently disagree with a person who always seems to speak with some authority on matters of ticketing.

Why?
See my reply above.
Well anyone is free to write to their MP about matters that affect them. Their MP doesn't have to agree, but they might if enough people express similar views.

Out of interest, if first class is a 12 seat partitioned section of a single carriage and all 12 seats plus the small gangway are occupied, are you then entitled to a refund because you are forced to stand in standard class accomodation.
 

Tetchytyke

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Out of interest, if first class is a 12 seat partitioned section of a single carriage and all 12 seats plus the small gangway are occupied, are you then entitled to a refund because you are forced to stand in standard class accomodation.

There are two different things here: whether there is a right to compensation and whether it is good customer service to offer compensation as a goodwill gesture.

If advertised first class is not available (i.e. they stuck a standard class only unit on) then there's a entitlement to compensation. If a passenger has a reserved seat in first class and cannot take it (e.g. failed reservations) then there would be an entitlement to compensation with most TOCs. But the NRCoC does not give rights to compensation if first class is full.

Some TOCs- including Great Northern Thameslink- choose to offer compensation if first class is full, but they don't have to.

Consumer law, AFAIK, does not guarantee that a first class ticket holder should get a seat or compensation if a train is full. If thedbdiboy thinks differently, I'm interested why.

ETA: to answer your question, I would say not- first class is available, it exists, it is merely filled with other passengers. Although one could probably make the argument it is not available if it is not physically possible to use it.
 
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Haywain

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Consumer Law aplies in this area. If you paid for a First Class ticket and were not able to get a seat because all the seats were taken you are entitled to a refund of the difference between First and Standard Class accommodation for that journey.
If you claim you should if possible provide some evidence (even a smartphone snap would help) plus of course all specific details, but SET and any replies on here stating that they don't have to provide you with a seat are incorrect. A STANDARD class ticket does not entitle you to a seat, but a FIRST CLASS ticket clearly does otherwise what is the point?
My understanding over several years in the industry has been different to this, and if this were indeed the case I wonder how it squares with people being Penalty Fared or prosecuted for standing in 1st class accommodation.
 

maniacmartin

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Out of interest, if first class is a 12 seat partitioned section of a single carriage and all 12 seats plus the small gangway are occupied, are you then entitled to a refund because you are forced to stand in standard class accomodation.

I would say so, but it isn't clear. If its so busy that you cannot even stand in First, then one could argue that the accommodation was not "available" to use.
 

hairyhandedfool

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Consumer Law aplies in this area. If you paid for a First Class ticket and were not able to get a seat because all the seats were taken you are entitled to a refund of the difference between First and Standard Class accommodation for that journey.
If you claim you should if possible provide some evidence (even a smartphone snap would help) plus of course all specific details, but SET and any replies on here stating that they don't have to provide you with a seat are incorrect. A STANDARD class ticket does not entitle you to a seat, but a FIRST CLASS ticket clearly does otherwise what is the point?

NRCoC Condition 40 states that a ticket (with no differentiation for class of accommodation) does NOT guarantee a seat. A first class ticket permits you to travel in first class accommodation, breathing first class air and smelling the sweet aroma of the other first class ticket holding passengers, that could be a coach or part of a coach, but not specifically a seat.

....Out of interest, if first class is a 12 seat partitioned section of a single carriage and all 12 seats plus the small gangway are occupied, are you then entitled to a refund because you are forced to stand in standard class accomodation.

Entitled? Not without a seat reservation. The first class accommodation is available, you just can't get in to it. I suspect, however, that a complaint would be answered with a 'goodwill gesture'.
 
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