Escalating a complaint to Passenger Focus

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by gray1404, 18 Apr 2015.

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  1. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Hi guys

    Am I right in saying that once you've complained to a TOC, if you are unhappy with their reply, you have to get back in touch with them and ask for your complaint to be escalated to a Manager for review, before you can complain to Passenger Focus?

    Thanks!
     
  2. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Yes, as I understand things you need to have received a final answer from the TOC.
     
  3. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I don't think it's absolutely necessary to have a manager involved, but I agree that you need to have made at least one attempt to resolve it with the TOC, and PF prefer it if you've already asked them to review their conclusion if you're unhappy with it. Especially with certain TOCs that take ages to reply, you're within your rights to refer it to PF if you aren't getting anywhere, even if it's only been normal customer relations you've dealt with.

    But PF will absolutely not touch it if you haven't given the company a reasonable amount of time to set things right.

    Edit: PF now go by the name Transport Focus.
     
  4. Fare-Cop

    Fare-Cop Member

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    Neither should they get normally involved in cases where there is clear evidence of fare evasion reported for prosecution.
     
  5. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I agree.

    They have, however, been known to side with the passenger when he or she technically committed a fare or ticketing offence but prosecuting it would be harsh and not in anybody's real interest, and gotten cases dropped.
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2015
  6. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I don't think so, no.

    I've known people try to appeal the original decision with the Company and never even get a response.

    Also, once a Train Comnpany has refused to provide a satisfactory answer, it's rare in my experience for them to change their minds. Well, that is unless you are prepared to spend absolutely ages on the 'phone speaking to a decent manager - if you can even speak to one. I did that once with TPE, on behalf of someone else, and it took a lot of time. It was about principle, not money, because the amount of time you have to spend to get decent answers can be far greater than the value of your time!

    Here's the complaint form: http://www.transportfocus.org.uk/contact/complaint
     
  7. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

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    In my experience it isn't quite as formal as that, but you should have had some sort of response before taking it to Transport Focus.

    They've usually accepted my complaints when I've complained and not been happy with the response from the TOC. So long as I've had a response from a TOC they've been happy enough.

    It isn't as formal as with proper ombudsmen (e.g. Financial Ombudsman, Office of Independent Adjudicator) but then Transport Focus aren't a proper ombudsman.

    I'd also agree with yorkie about getting TOCs to change their mind. Even when Transport Focus had agreed a settlement with East Coast for me it took another six months of complaining before the complimentary tickets finally arrived. Shameful.
     
  8. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    That's even assuming you can get someone at Transport Focus who understands what you are going on about. When I complained to Passenger Focus about an inappropriate response from a Toc, they just contacted the Toc who told Passenger Focus what they told me, and Passenger Focus replied apologising that they were unable to help as according to the Toc, I was in the wrong.

    I had a dedicated person at Passenger Focus dealing with my complaint and I told her exactly where to look in the NRCoC, but she could simply not comprehend what I was trying to say. I did eventually (after a month) manage to speak with a man who knew that I was correct and the Toc were telling porkies.
     
  9. Johngill100

    Johngill100 Member

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    My experience too.

    They had no idea of the rules and excused the TOC quoting total inaccuracies.
    I basically wasted four months.
     
  10. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Afternoon,

    Why can't you contact passenger focus directly and totally skip the TOC ? Most of the onboard and platform posters I see list their contact details and nothing about complaints procedure. Is there a case for TOC's to state explicitly that the complaints procedure should be followed before contacting passenger focus ?

    Cheers in advance.
     
  11. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    http://www.transportfocus.org.uk/help/rail-complaints

    Basically Transport Focus will not look at your case if you've not contacted the train company.

    As for why, I guess because many people (not savvy users of this forum) will bombard them with trivial complaints/queries that could be rectified by the Train Company.

    Unfortunately, as we know, there are certain complaints that the Train Company will not resolve satisfactorily willingly and it's a waste of time complaining to the Train Company and it would be nice if 'advanced' users could bypass that step. However that's not the way it is, so we do have to contact the TOC.

    It's a bit annoying, but I can understand why they make us do this.

    However as far as I am concerned, if a TOC has given a response and you're unhappy with it, there is no point going back to them, and I would go to Transport Focus at that point.

    Many people do not complain because the amount of time you end up wasting dealing with stubborn customer service departments is rarely worth it in monetary terms, so the only reason is to prove a point and help others in future.

    I could list dozens of complaints* I'd like to see resolved and I'd waste a lot of time if I tried to properly pursue them.

    I am glad some people are prepared to put the time and effort in, but I can also see why many people don't want to spend hours doing this.

    (* by that I don't necessarily mean incidents I have directly been involved in, but things other people have experienced, and will experience in future if they make certain purchases/journeys)
     
  12. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Ok, I understand both points but on the posters there is nothing to say that you cannot contact them directly. Should the TOCs post that information first to avoid confusion ?

    I get the impression that most ill feeling between passengers/railway/TOC is down to frustration. To ameliorate that, shouldn't the TOCs make the procedure much clearer than simply posting the contact details ?
     
    Last edited: 29 Apr 2015
  13. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    When you go to the Transport Focus website it is made clear on the screen before the feedback form that you must contact the Toc first. It is the same when you contact them by telephone.

    Similarly, once you have e-mailed them you get an auto-response which makes this clear:

     
  14. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    I understand.

    Still to reiterate the point. Doesn't the TOC have a responsibility to tell passengers to contact them first ?

    If I'm standing in a train angry and frustrated at something and there is this poster displaying the passenger focus contact details stating I can contact them direct. If I email them directly (not going through their website) and I get a generic auto-reply. How frustrated will that then make me ?

    Not all passengers are well versed in railway policy and procedure. I would have thought helping passengers was in the TOC's and passengers best interest.
     
  15. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I'm not sure if I've seen those posters (or if I have I've not paid attention) but I agree they should make the procedure clear to passengers.
     
  16. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I can't speak for the rest of the country but I know Northern posters definitely state that "if we have failed to resolve a complaint to your satisfaction... contact Passenger Focus, an independent watchdog set up by Parliament to protect the interests of rail users" and EMT have a similar poster on their Norwich - Liverpool 158s.

    I think that makes it clear that Transport Focus are for after you've given their CR a go
     
  17. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    Same as FGW and Cross Country
     
  18. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I am not sure how clear it needs to be. All watchdog-type organisations I am aware of make it clear that you should contact the organisation to resolve the matter in the first place. Transport Focus is no different.

    I don't see what else there is to advertise. I think you are clutching at straws.
     
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