Fading Ink on season tickets and Railcards

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Domeyhead

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My daughter has a student railcard. The ink has now faded to the point of being barely legible. Today I went with her to the station to pay for her ticket and the SWT ticket office staff refused to issue a railcard-priced ticket because he could not read the railcard. This is fair enough but he went on to say that while were entitled to complain SWT would NOT refund the ticket difference even if we produced later proof that the railcard was valid and current, nor would they refund any other differential costs while the card was renewed despite being notified of the problem.
If SWT issue a railcard using ink that fades and cannot be read by their own staff why is that the customer's fault? THis is a common fault - it has also happened to my car park season ticket. But while I can mount a robust defence of my position a shy teenager wearing glasses is easily convined that she is somehow at fault when she is not.
Has anyone else experienced this? I am certain that if challenged in law it is SWT's responsibility to produce legible tickets and cards that are fit for purpose for their duration. It is not down to the customer to carry around evidence of legitimacy all the time.
 
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barrykas

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It's a known issue with the thermal printers that modern PC-based Ticket Issuing Systems use. However, any ticket office should be able to issue a replacement free of charge.

Cheers,

Barry
 

RJ

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My daughter has a student railcard. The ink has now faded to the point of being barely legible. Today I went with her to the station to pay for her ticket and the SWT ticket office staff refused to issue a railcard-priced ticket because he could not read the railcard. This is fair enough but he went on to say that while were entitled to complain SWT would NOT refund the ticket difference even if we produced later proof that the railcard was valid and current, nor would they refund any other differential costs while the card was renewed despite being notified of the problem.
If SWT issue a railcard using ink that fades and cannot be read by their own staff why is that the customer's fault? THis is a common fault - it has also happened to my car park season ticket. But while I can mount a robust defence of my position a shy teenager wearing glasses is easily convined that she is somehow at fault when she is not.
Has anyone else experienced this? I am certain that if challenged in law it is SWT's responsibility to produce legible tickets and cards that are fit for purpose for their duration. It is not down to the customer to carry around evidence of legitimacy all the time.

Customers are entitled to a free replacement if a railcard is faded. All they need to do is take the original receipt to any UK ticket office and it can be done there and then, free of charge.

When it comes time to renew, I suggest buying the railcard online - that one comes in the form of hard plastic and is much more durable. I've had mine for 2 years and there's barely a sign of any wear :)
 

telstarbox

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My Railcard also faded within the first four months after it was issued. However Sheffield ticket office refused to replace the railcard and said "it isn't faded enough", despite the fact you could barely make out the date. I said that I didn't want to run into trouble during a ticket check but they weren't interested. Manchester Oxford Road replaced it for free with no questions asked :) so the OP may need to try different ticket offices!
 

hairyhandedfool

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My daughter has a student railcard. The ink has now faded to the point of being barely legible. Today I went with her to the station to pay for her ticket and the SWT ticket office staff refused to issue a railcard-priced ticket because he could not read the railcard. This is fair enough but he went on to say that while were entitled to complain SWT would NOT refund the ticket difference even if we produced later proof that the railcard was valid and current, nor would they refund any other differential costs while the card was renewed despite being notified of the problem.
If SWT issue a railcard using ink that fades and cannot be read by their own staff why is that the customer's fault? THis is a common fault - it has also happened to my car park season ticket. But while I can mount a robust defence of my position a shy teenager wearing glasses is easily convined that she is somehow at fault when she is not....

Might be worth contacting SWT customer services if the ticket office also refused to replace the railcard. If the railcard fades to the extent that it is not readable, the ticket office can replace it even without a receipt, they just have to follow the instructions in The Manual. In most cases, even if the print has faded, it is still possible to make out some if not all of the details.
 

Domeyhead

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Thanks to all responders. Had I not been there my daughter would have been intimidated into handing over the full fare which for students like her is a lot of money. Students now pay for their higher education unlike people of my age who received it for free, and it really angers me when companies like SWT are so quick to exploit customers for every possible penny. The fact that a lot of my daughter's meagre savings would end up in Brian Souter's billionaire bank account just makes it worse!
(Postscript - I took my daughters out of the ticket office and drove them to their destination rather than get ripped off by SWT)
 

island

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Yet again the Stagecoach TOCs lead the way in customer-unfriendly behaviour, it seems!
 

Brucey

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If the print is faded, exposure to some heat source (e.g. a cigarette lighter) will often reveal what was originally printed.
 

bb21

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If the print is faded, exposure to some heat source (e.g. a cigarette lighter) will often reveal what was originally printed.

The forum cannot recommend this as an appropriate course of action.

The ticket office should have the equipment to check whether the railcard is still in date.

I suggest you write to SWT regarding this incident. A number of us will be happy to proof-read your letter for you if needed.
 

34D

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If the print is faded, exposure to some heat source (e.g. a cigarette lighter) will often reveal what was originally printed.

Do not do this at home! For starters, doing this would ruin the magnetic strip (which should be encoded with the expiry date), and it can only be done once, so the place/person to do this is at the ticket counter, by a member of rail staff.

To the OP, I recommend your daughter going to the same/a different station and politely asking for her railcard to be reprinted.
 
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Slightly off topic; but I had an issue, with my Disabled Person's Railcard, earlier this year. The ink faded to the point where it was no longer legible. The central issuing office in Laurencekirk (near Aberdeen) replaced it by post, very promptly. They even sent me a cheque, for a £10 fee refund. I was travelling to/from Manchester Piccadilly regularly at the time. I didn't have any problem, with TPE guards (who recognised me as bona fide wheelchair user).
 

barrykas

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The ticket office should have the equipment to check whether the railcard is still in date.

Yes. It's called a lighter. :lol: Running a Railcard through the "Interpret Ticket" function on FasTIS gives no useful information...though that could just be one of FasTIS' shortcomings.

Cheers,

Barry
 

Solent&Wessex

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Yes. It's called a lighter. :lol: Running a Railcard through the "Interpret Ticket" function on FasTIS gives no useful information...though that could just be one of FasTIS' shortcomings.

Cheers,

Barry

Using a lighter often only highlights certain parts of the date, and not always all of it. It also damages the magnetic stripe, which CAN normally be read by Avantix Mobile machines - until it gets heated with a lighter then it cannot.

 
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reb0118

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I do not recommend the use of a lighter. Quite a common work around I see up here in Scotland is where the Booking Office have stamped the back of the railcard with the expiry date and initialed it - faded railcards & seasons are quite common unfortunately.

As a side issue - is it a fact that faded seasons can only be renewed at the original station of purchase (monthlies & longer)?
 
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dvboy

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My faded season ticket was issued by Centro. Birmingham Snow Hill ticket office were happy to replace it.
 

island

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As a side issue - is it a fact that faded seasons can only be renewed at the original station of purchase (monthlies & longer)?

No. They can certainly be renewed (by someone with the necessary competency) at any staffed station of the same TOC, and possibly at any staffed station at all. The procedure is a bit of a faff if it's not the station of issue.

For the sake of pedantry, a station which uses Avantix Mobile is not considered a staffed station for this purpose.
 

hairyhandedfool

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As a side issue - is it a fact that faded seasons can only be renewed at the original station of purchase (monthlies & longer)?

No. Seasons can be changed at any manned ticket office, however it is advisable to use the issuing office,or failing that, an office of the same company
 

infobleep

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No. They can certainly be renewed (by someone with the necessary competency) at any staffed station of the same TOC, and possibly at any staffed station at all. The procedure is a bit of a faff if it's not the station of issue.

For the sake of pedantry, a station which uses Avantix Mobile is not considered a staffed station for this purpose.

Interesting that you should say that. I don't think staff at stations are always interested in the faff and so just tell you you need to go back to the company of purchase. However if you lie and say you bought it on line from them, for which they would need to do extensive checking to disprove, then they will replace it. I told a lady at London Midland that it wouldn't be that easy for me to go the the London Midland head offices to get my online purchased season ticket replaced. At which point she replaced it. In that case I had actually purchased it from London Midland's Web Site.

Some companies such as South West Trains just enter the details into the system and replace the card. Others, such as London Midland, have to fill out paper forms every time!

Sadly TFL can't replace the cards and my regular twice monthly failings of my season tickets are usually down to their ticket barriers.

I do wonder how much money is spent on replacing tickets and whether this outweighs the savings in using terminal imaging printers.
 

hairyhandedfool

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....However if you lie and say you bought it on line from them, for which they would need to do extensive checking to disprove, then they will replace it....

Not necessarily, if it is actually a station issue it is relatively easy to disprove and all you will achieve is making the staff member less inclined to do it. I would imagine a simple explanation of why you cannot go back to the place of issue should be sufficient for most members of staff.
 

michael769

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Was it not someone on this very forum that decided to try the lighter trick and set their ticket on fire - destroying it completely?
 

bb21

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Was it not someone on this very forum that decided to try the lighter trick and set their ticket on fire - destroying it completely?

That was with an expired ticket.
 

michael769

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That was with an expired ticket.

That was fortunate! Still it serves as a very good "Don't try this at home" warning especially for anyone tempted to rejuvenate a still valid ticket or pass!
 

RJ

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Obviously you don't hold the lighter so close for so long that it sets the ticket on fire! You can try it at home if you're confident you have sufficient common sense, but I'd advise against the deliberate damage of a valid ticket/railcard.
 
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Peter Mugridge

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If I recall correctly, that one was done as a way of winding people up - and it worked!

What happened was there was a big thread on whether the heat method worked or not, then someone posted a picture of a totally charred railcard and pretended he'd just done it following the advice of the thread and asked if we thought the ticket ofice would exhange it.

There were several panicked posts before whoever it was admitted it was a wind up.:lol:
 

RPI

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The lighter trick is one i use as a member of staff but wouldnt recomend it to a passenger! to avoid nackering up the strip apply heat to the front of the ticket in short sharp bursts, class 150 heaters work just as well in winter!
 

Butts

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Mine has faded but I keep the receipt I was given on purchase.

This shows the number,railcard expiry date and name of the holder. It also has the dated stamped station of issue on.

I'm taking it this would suffice in any dispute.
 

hairyhandedfool

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The Railcard is the document you need to be legible, the receipt could be from any Railcard.
 

bb21

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There is nothing in The Manual requiring the faded Railcard to be legible, especially if a receipt can be produced.

Replacing faded Railcards

Customers whose Railcard has faded to the extent that the details on it cannot be read should not be charged a replacement fee.

A replacement Railcard should be issued using the procedure detailed above. Ask the customer to endorse the application form ‘Faded Railcard’ in the ‘Loss/Damage/Theft’ section and ensure the faded Railcard is attached to the application form for audit purposes.

To establish the expiry date of the replacement Railcard, please ask the customer to show either the receipt from their original application form or a card payment receipt voucher. However, if neither of these can be produced then the date of purchase provided by the customer should be accepted.
 

hairyhandedfool

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Oh sorry, I mis-read the post entirely, for getting a replacement it does not need to be legible.
 

Keith Jarrett

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I have just had a similar problem with a SWT issued annual ticket as recorded by previous posters.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a sarcastic comment from a FCC inspector that she needed her glasses to read the photocard number on my SWT issued annual ticket. She did not suggest that the ticket needed replacing. To me, the photocard number was faded but still legible but at least I was on notice that I needed to get a replacement ticket in nthe near future after less than three months use. Since then, constant use of ticket barriers meant that the photocard number was barely discernable so I went back to the issuing office to seek a replacement. The ticket clerk took one look at the ticket and asked why I needed a replacment - he said the date was clear so no need for replacement. I pointed out the barely legible photocard number to which his retort was "nobody checks those". After much persuasion, he begrugingly issued me a replacement. How long will this one last? Three months tops is what I will give it.

Are SWT printed tickets any worse that others or are SWT telling their staff not to replace unless the whole ticket is unreadable?
 
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