Downgrade compensation?

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stut

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Was on the slightly oddly bookable 1333 FO train from Euston to Crewe on Friday, with an Advance 1st. 5 minutes after departure time, they can round 1st class apologising, saying that one of the doors was reporting a fault, and they had to lock 1st class out of service. We were offered a downgrade, or travel on an alternative service. As I needed to be at Crewe by a certain time, I opted for the downgrade.

It was all handled professionally, we found some unclaimed seats together, and got a couple of freebie soft drinks brought to us. However, it's still not what I paid extra for. The guard/conductor said there was no need to endorse the ticket.

The Virgin Customer Charter doesn't mention downgrades - does anybody here know if it's worst asking for compensation?
 
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rail-britain

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Yes, you are entitled to compensation
The reason this does not appear in the passengers charter as it is a standard level of compensation
This will be the difference between the Standard and First Class, for the fare type
 

stut

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Thanks, all. Have mailed VT with the tickets, a description of what happened, and praise for the train crew who did so well to reaccommodate everyone with minimal delay. Will see what happens!

FWIW, was rather impressed by the (Voyager) FC seats before we were moved!
 

rail-britain

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Thanks, all. Have mailed VT with the tickets, a description of what happened, and praise for the train crew who did so well to reaccommodate everyone with minimal delay
I forgot to mention
I always recommend photocopying the tickets, before sending the originals
Equally, when purchasing tickets always obtain a receipt
 

stut

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I forgot to mention
I always recommend photocopying the tickets, before sending the originals
Equally, when purchasing tickets always obtain a receipt
Oh, I always do this anyway (am used to it for expense claims). Was purchased online, so I have various receipts too. Ta for the tip!
 

Squaddie

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On the two occasions that I have been involuntarily downgraded (both due to last-minute rail replacement bus substitution by FGW) I have requested a full refund of the fare on the grounds that I would not have travelled had I known that first class accommodation was not available. And on both occasions I got it.

Maybe it's not quite the same situation, as you were offered an alternative to travelling in standard class, but it's worth a try.
 

rail-britain

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Maybe it's not quite the same situation, as you were offered an alternative to travelling in standard class, but it's worth a try.
No, as compensation can only be refused if the delay or issue is known when booking the ticket (and that assumes the selling agent is aware of the issue)
 

stut

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And just to round this off...

Got a cheque last night from VT, exactly as stated in here, for the difference between the fares I paid and the equivalent standard fare. That's pretty quick turnaround, especially considering the recent disruptions on the WCML.

As the standard fare at the time was at a high tier and the first class at a low tier, I've done rather well out of it. I can imagine feeling a little hard done by had it been the other way round, but that's out of Virgin's hands (and moot).

It came with a boilerplate letter that seemed to assume I had complained bitterly - in fact, I'd praised the staff for handling the whole situation so well and just asked to claim the difference.

So, excellent service recovery from Virgin, that would have me back without hesitation! Well, if they're still there...
 
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