Avanti West Coast Advance Refunds?

cf111

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Hello all, I hope all of us are keeping well during these most strange times.

It seems almost churlish to ask this, but as I'm self-isolating and have finished all the household chores I can think of, I might as well!

I have an advance ticket from Euston to Glasgow on the 1030 departure on Tuesday 24th March. My travel is not necessary and I will not be getting on a train.

As per the emergency timetable and Avanti's info page, my booked train is now cancelled but if I had wished to, I could travel on a train either side of the scheduled departure.

I think that in "normal times" I'd be entitled to a refund as my booked train is cancelled however the Avanti website only advises that I can rebook my ticket without paying an admin fee. I've no idea when I might be able to use this ticket so that is not an ideal remedy.

I purchased the ticket without using an account so can't log in to see what options I have. Do we think that if I filled in the webform and asked for a refund then I would get it? Their contact centre is closed at the moment and when it does open I'd be reticent to call as I'd rather not extend the wait for someone who is desperately trying to get home or something equally as urgent.
 
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alistairlees

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Hello all, I hope all of us are keeping well during these most strange times.

It seems almost churlish to ask this, but as I'm self-isolating and have finished all the household chores I can think of, I might as well!

I have an advance ticket from Euston to Glasgow on the 1030 departure on Tuesday 24th March. My travel is not necessary and I will not be getting on a train.

As per the emergency timetable and Avanti's info page, my booked train is now cancelled but if I had wished to, I could travel on a train either side of the scheduled departure.

I think that in "normal times" I'd be entitled to a refund as my booked train is cancelled however the Avanti website only advises that I can rebook my ticket without paying an admin fee. I've no idea when I might be able to use this ticket so that is not an ideal remedy.

I purchased the ticket without using an account so can't log in to see what options I have. Do we think that if I filled in the webform and asked for a refund then I would get it? Their contact centre is closed at the moment and when it does open I'd be reticent to call as I'd rather not extend the wait for someone who is desperately trying to get home or something equally as urgent.
Did you purchase the ticket from the Avanti website?
 

robbeech

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It may be helpful to remind you that for standard refunds due to disruption like this one (not a refund directly linked to COVID-19) that you have 28 days after the date of travel to obtain this refund. So if you bought this from a ticket office then you may be in a position to return it in the coming weeks. Of course, nobody really knows how the situation will develop so it's difficult to advise on that front really.
If this is an e-ticket or you bought it online and haven't collected it then it should be a matter of contacting them. If you have collected a paper ticket they're likely to still insist that you post them back to them despite this rule being rather ludicrous BEFORE we take the current situation into account when tickets have expired.
 

cf111

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It may be helpful to remind you that for standard refunds due to disruption like this one (not a refund directly linked to COVID-19) that you have 28 days after the date of travel to obtain this refund. So if you bought this from a ticket office then you may be in a position to return it in the coming weeks. Of course, nobody really knows how the situation will develop so it's difficult to advise on that front really.
If this is an e-ticket or you bought it online and haven't collected it then it should be a matter of contacting them. If you have collected a paper ticket they're likely to still insist that you post them back to them despite this rule being rather ludicrous BEFORE we take the current situation into account when tickets have expired.
Thank you, I had forgotten about the 28-days in all the chaos.
 

kje7812

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Haywain

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Full refunds are now being made, without an admin fee, regardless of trains being cancelled.
 

dizzie

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They might be being processed but, as another poster mentioned above, I've been requested to post the physical tickets back to Avanti (said it must be recorded delivery, the cheeky b*****ds!), before they will release the refund. Given I am in self-isolation for 12 weeks, a trip to the Post Office is not on the cards!

Of course, were it absolutely essential, I would have to find a way to get someone to pick up the tickets and post them for me, but I don't believe the returning of a couple bits of card is essential in these circumstances. My theatre booking was refunded without the tickets having to be sent back, why should my train tickets need to be returned before I get the cost refunded?
 

trainophile

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Stuck here :(
I completed the Avanti online claim form, including the booking reference and a photo of the ticket. Two days later I received an email asking me for the booking reference!

I replied to say I don't understand why they need to ask, and requesting that they in future confirm what claim they are referring to as many people will be doing several claims. i also re-stated the booking reference. Today I had another email asking me to post the ticket back to them. Luckily only one of my current claims was from Avanti and the cost matches the amount they say they will credit so I was able to identify it. I am not prepared to faff around with recorded delivery so am posting it back with a second class stamp, and enclosing a copy of their email agreeing to a refund.

It's all a bit like wading through treacle though. I have more claims to do in due course so hope they can get a slicker system in place by then.
 

alistairlees

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They might be being processed but, as another poster mentioned above, I've been requested to post the physical tickets back to Avanti (said it must be recorded delivery, the cheeky b*****ds!), before they will release the refund. Given I am in self-isolation for 12 weeks, a trip to the Post Office is not on the cards!

Of course, were it absolutely essential, I would have to find a way to get someone to pick up the tickets and post them for me, but I don't believe the returning of a couple bits of card is essential in these circumstances. My theatre booking was refunded without the tickets having to be sent back, why should my train tickets need to be returned before I get the cost refunded?
Just send an image of the tickets cut into two. This is agreed policy now.
 

CrispyUK

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My theatre booking was refunded without the tickets having to be sent back, why should my train tickets need to be returned before I get the cost refunded?
Presuming the show is cancelled and the theatre closed, those tickets are useless.

As Avanti are still running trains, there’s the potential for abuse, by claiming a refund then going on to use the tickets anyway.
 
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I have a refund to do as I was due to travel on the 2nd April however it looks like because I bought the ticket at Euston I will need to process the refund there.
However what happens if my tickets were partially paid for with a rail voucher, is that amount included in the refund?
 

td97

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For those who held advance tickets dated prior to the official policy change (23rd March), I have had recent success with Avanti Customer Services in obtaining a full refund for an unused ticket dated 13th March, using the web form.
 

alistairlees

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For those who held advance tickets dated prior to the official policy change (23rd March), I have had recent success with Avanti Customer Services in obtaining a full refund for an unused ticket dated 13th March, using the web form.
Was your traiin cancelled, or did you abandon your journey for some other reason? Or were there some extenuating circumstances?
 

alistairlees

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The train doesn't need to be cancelled, Avanti will repay, in full, advance tickets bought before 23rd March
Er, thanks. The OP’s Advance ticket was for travel on 13th March. Only Advance tickets for travel on or after 07.00 on 23rd March should be refunded, according to the rail industry. Hence my question.
 

td97

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Was your traiin cancelled, or did you abandon your journey for some other reason? Or were there some extenuating circumstances?
Er, thanks. The OP’s Advance ticket was for travel on 13th March. Only Advance tickets for travel on or after 07.00 on 23rd March should be refunded, according to the rail industry. Hence my question.
The journey was abandoned due to CV concerns. The journey was for travel on the day after the "delay" phase of the government strategy was implemented.
I actually asked Avanti for rail travel vouchers to the ticket value; however they went beyond that and provided a refund.
 

njr001

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8 Feb 2013
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Many thanks to td97 just submitted a refund request for Advances purchased for travel on 14th March purchased in December 2019 having previously had them rejected. Also submitted a refund for Advances purchased in October 2019 from Virgin West Coast for travel on 16th March which will probably be more problematic.
 

3rd rail land

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Just got a reply to my advance ticket refund request and like many will have experienced I was asked to provide the reference number. What's the point of having a field where you enter your reference number if all they do is reply asking for this information? Maybe the form is badly designed so the team processing these requests can't see the reference field or anything outside the message box.
 

trainophile

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Stuck here :(
Just got a reply to my advance ticket refund request and like many will have experienced I was asked to provide the reference number. What's the point of having a field where you enter your reference number if all they do is reply asking for this information? Maybe the form is badly designed so the team processing these requests can't see the reference field or anything outside the message box.
Indeed, I started to wonder if I was getting mixed up with some other communication when I got the email asking for this. They don't seem to have their act together. Not sure what the point is of filling in the form and attaching photo of tickets.
 

3rd rail land

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Indeed, I started to wonder if I was getting mixed up with some other communication when I got the email asking for this. They don't seem to have their act together. Not sure what the point is of filling in the form and attaching photo of tickets.
I didn't attach my e-tickets and they have not asked for this. Oh and Avanti were pretty quick to respond. I submitted my request on 24th March.
 
Last edited:

alistairlees

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Many thanks to td97 just submitted a refund request for Advances purchased for travel on 14th March purchased in December 2019 having previously had them rejected. Also submitted a refund for Advances purchased in October 2019 from Virgin West Coast for travel on 16th March which will probably be more problematic.
Be interested to know the outcome.
 

njr001

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Following advice here, I submitted a online claim to Avanti for advance tickets purchased before 23 March submitting copies of the e-tickets and received the following reply
Dear XXXX,

Thanks for getting in touch and apologies for the delay in our response. Because of the current situation, we are receiving a significant increase in contacts.

We appreciate why you may not want to travel at this time and we definitely understand the current situation. We are sorry to learn that you need to cancel the scheduled trip due to the recent COVID-19 advisory.

I do see the booking but to get a full refund you have to change journey to other date or time to get a full refund and that can online be done on our web site as voice support are no longer available due to the situation.

We at Avanti West Coast are aware about the situation around the world and recommend you to take care of your health and stay safe.

I hope the above information is useful to you, please let us know if you have any further questions.

Kind Regards,
Jossemere.

Where do I go from here?
 

gray1404

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The person sending that email is clearly working out of an overseas call centre with limited understanding of life in the UK. I have Managed overseas call centres serving UK customers so I have nothing against them, but replies like that really annoy me as it is poor service. There is no reason the agent responding couldn't have accessed the customers booking and issue a refund for them - then confirm by email reply. Very poorly written too and is of zero help to the customer.
 

londonbridge

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My refund relates to GWR rather than Avanti, so with apologies to the OP I'll post here rather than start a new thread.

I'd booked a gig ticket for a show in Oxford in May and then booked advances from London-Oxford and back. Gig has now been postponed to October. I generally use TOD but hadn't got around to collecting the train tickets. Checked on the GWR website, says you can submit a claim online if you don't have the paper tickets and that if you choose not to travel for Covid-19 related reasons you can have a full refund with no admin fee. Says refunds will take up to 28 days, so I submitted the refund yesterday. I can always rebook for the new date nearer the time. Also, with regard to release of advance tickets, I'm hoping things will be getting back to some sort of normality by June as, under normal circumstances and the 12 week rekease schedule, that's when I should be looking at booking my trip for this years Great North Run in September (assuming that goes ahead of course......)
 

Haywain

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Following advice here, I submitted a online claim to Avanti for advance tickets purchased before 23 March submitting copies of the e-tickets and received the following reply
Dear XXXX,

Thanks for getting in touch and apologies for the delay in our response. Because of the current situation, we are receiving a significant increase in contacts.

We appreciate why you may not want to travel at this time and we definitely understand the current situation. We are sorry to learn that you need to cancel the scheduled trip due to the recent COVID-19 advisory.

I do see the booking but to get a full refund you have to change journey to other date or time to get a full refund and that can online be done on our web site as voice support are no longer available due to the situation.

We at Avanti West Coast are aware about the situation around the world and recommend you to take care of your health and stay safe.

I hope the above information is useful to you, please let us know if you have any further questions.

Kind Regards,
Jossemere.

Where do I go from here?
The issue here could be that the tickets were for travel at a relatively early date, well before full refunds were being given. Maybe Avantitake the view that for the earlier dates they do not need to give cash refunds.
 

Wallsendmag

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My refund relates to GWR rather than Avanti, so with apologies to the OP I'll post here rather than start a new thread.

I'd booked a gig ticket for a show in Oxford in May and then booked advances from London-Oxford and back. Gig has now been postponed to October. I generally use TOD but hadn't got around to collecting the train tickets. Checked on the GWR website, says you can submit a claim online if you don't have the paper tickets and that if you choose not to travel for Covid-19 related reasons you can have a full refund with no admin fee. Says refunds will take up to 28 days, so I submitted the refund yesterday. I can always rebook for the new date nearer the time. Also, with regard to release of advance tickets, I'm hoping things will be getting back to some sort of normality by June as, under normal circumstances and the 12 week rekease schedule, that's when I should be looking at booking my trip for this years Great North Run in September (assuming that goes ahead of course......)
Reservations are being held back to much less than 12 weeks currently
 

xydancer

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I'm having problems with Avanti Advance refunds too. Just one batch of four transactions sent in by e-mail before they allowed people to do it via My Account on the website. The other transactions I sent in went through fine, but the agent refused point blank to process this lot, despite the fact they all met the criteria and I sent in pdfs of confirmation e-mails and tickets - and one e-mail I received during the conversation was barely intelligible so poor was the English.

I'm sure he has better things to do but in the end I e-mailed the CEO (Phil Whittingham) direct, which sparked some action. Copying in my MP may have helped - especially as it happens to be Chris Heaton-Harris, MP at the DfT responsible for rail. Three of the four transactions got moving within 24 hours but on the fourth there's still nothing. Another e-mail went off to the CEO's office today. From their reply, which again promised action, they are clearly not impressed. Nice to see Chris Heaton-Harris taking an interest too. His office wrote to me this morning checking on progress and asking to be kept in the loop.

Busy they may be at the moment, but Avanti's customer support really is the pits. Odd thing is, their social media team have always been brilliant the three or four times I've dealt with them, replying with precisely what I asked for or sorting things out immediately.

In total contrast, a manual refund that had to go to Virgin Trains (Bought from them way back in November) was dealt with and confirmed inside two hours.
 

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