Exchanges on Advances via Travel Agent

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edwin_m

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Having previously done my own booking of tickets for business travel, we are now required to use an external provider (that I won't be naming here). They in turn provide a portal to the Evolvi system for booking tickets, which generally works quite well.

However today I had to change my travel arrangements for which I had booked Advance tickets. In the past I have been able to exchange these before travel for £10 plus the fare difference, paying for a new ticket online and getting a refund when I post the old one. However the new provider is not able to offer this service as ATOC has refused to give them permission, and suggested I could only exchange the ticket as a station. As the next time I'm visiting a station is the start of the journey in question, and replacement tickets are pretty cheap anyway, I have just booked a new set for the amended leg of the journey.

This seems a fairly significant defect in the service, especially as we are constantly being exhorted to use the cheapest tickets a long way in advance, but from time to time it is necessary to make changes to arrangements already booked. I would like to mention it to the relevant company people so they take it into account when judging the performance of the new provider.

Have others heard of ATOC refusing some or all non-TOC ticket providers permission to use this or other ticketing features?

And if I did take my ticket to the station for exchange, wouldn't the station people just refer me back to the original provider?
 
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bb21

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Travel agents have never been allowed to issue excess fares AFAIK.

It sounds like they offered you a refund on the purchase of a new ticket previously. It may be that they previously underwrote the losses themselves and have decided that they no longer wished to do that.
 

Brucey

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And if I did take my ticket to the station for exchange, wouldn't the station people just refer me back to the original provider?

Changes to Advance tickets are normally done as an excess fare and marked 'Valid only with ticket #00000'. Any station with access to the reservation system can issue an excess fare for an advance ticket.

Unless things have changed recently, travel agents are not able to issue excess fares.

Some websites do the process differently where they take back the original ticket and refund it, on the condition you've already bought another ticket and paid the admin fee. I believe this is done just by one specific online retailer.
 

edwin_m

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Some websites do the process differently where they take back the original ticket and refund it, on the condition you've already bought another ticket and paid the admin fee. I believe this is done just by one specific online retailer.

That's what I've seen before, using the EMT website which uses the Trainline booking engine. Does this mean that Trainline themselves, or a travel agent using the Trainline engine, could do the same thing?

Any station with access to the reservation system can issue an excess fare for an advance ticket.

They can, but would they if someone else issued the original ticket? Certainly EMT at Nottingham have refused to refund a ticket issued by their own website, when severe disruption meant I had to abandon my journey before I started it.

It sounds like they offered you a refund on the purchase of a new ticket previously. It may be that they previously underwrote the losses themselves and have decided that they no longer wished to do that.

Sorry I wasn't clear. The previous tickets I got exchanged to change the journey details were bought and exchanged via the EMT website, not via this provider.
 
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bb21

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Sorry I wasn't clear. The previous tickets I got exchanged to change the journey details were bought and exchanged via the EMT website, not via this provider.

EMT seem to have this refund+repurchase process in place as a workaround as I have certainly seen that happen before, and not just with Advance tickets. As to why, I have no idea.
 

Brucey

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They can, but would they if someone else issued the original ticket? Certainly EMT at Nottingham have refused to refund a ticket issued by their own website, when severe disruption meant I had to abandon my journey before I started it.

Yes, they would do it. There is no refund involved in issuing an excess fare.

After the excess fare, you will need to retain the original ticket, orginal reservation, excess ticket and new reservation. All four portions are required to make the new ticket valid. The Train Line's system avoids this confusion by just issuing new tickets to replace the old ones.
 

Hadders

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Yes, they would do it. There is no refund involved in issuing an excess fare.

After the excess fare, you will need to retain the original ticket, orginal reservation, excess ticket and new reservation. All four portions are required to make the new ticket valid. The Train Line's system avoids this confusion by just issuing new tickets to replace the old ones.

But Trainline's way of doing it is a bit of a faff with you having to buy a new ticket and then post off the original for a refund.

At least with Webtis you can do it on-line, albeit it has to be done at least 7 days before travel as they have to post the Excess ticket to you - sadly ToD is not available for excesses.

Heaven knows how that awful new Govia booking engine does changes although knowing Govia they probably don't even know what an excess fare is ;)
 

Brucey

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Heaven knows how that awful new Govia booking engine does changes although knowing Govia they probably don't even know what an excess fare is ;)
I can't even login with my old account details. Which means my 'the key' is rendered useless as I can't buy tickets to put onto it. <(

Can't see any reason why I'd ever choose to use their booking system anyway. A map of where you're going taking up >50% of the screen ... hmm.
 

edwin_m

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But Trainline's way of doing it is a bit of a faff with you having to buy a new ticket and then post off the original for a refund.

At least with Webtis you can do it on-line, albeit it has to be done at least 7 days before travel as they have to post the Excess ticket to you - sadly ToD is not available for excesses.

Heaven knows how that awful new Govia booking engine does changes although knowing Govia they probably don't even know what an excess fare is ;)

The Trainline method may be a faff but it would seem to be the only way of doing this online at short notice. There doesn't appear to be any time limit by which they have to receive the old tickets, even if this is after the original time of travel. An online method that requried seven days notice would have been no use to me, so I would have had to make a special trip to the station to get the excess.

In this case the potential saving was around £20 minus the bus fare to the station and any increase in the Advance fare in the meantime, so it wasn't worth bothering with the refund. Thanks however to those responding here, as I will know what to do if it happens again and will pass the feedback onto our travel people as it may influence their procurement of travel agents in future.
 
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