GTR Southern: Compensation When An Extra Ticket Must Be Purchased

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by superalbs, 9 Apr 2018.

  1. superalbs

    superalbs Established Member

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    Hello,

    On February 16th I was doing a Southern DaySave ticket, but unfortunately the 1903 service from Hove to Havant was cancelled. This was the last train to connect with my other (valid) connections to get home to Pinhoe/Exeter Central.

    Staff eventually advised me to go via London Victoria and London Paddington where I could catch a GWR service back to Exeter St Davids. On the journey there, I contacted Southern on twitter, to figure out whether I would have to pay for onward travel.

    They informed me that I would need to ask staff, and if they declined then I would "need to just pay and then claim it back". It turns out that I did need to purchase a ticket. Thankfully, I had a rover which covered me after Swindon, so I purchased two super off-peak day singles to Swindon (this fare).

    Upon returning home (arriving into Exeter at 0100~, scheduled around 2350~), I submitted a delay repay claim for the entire series of events, using the paltry 250 characters allowed to try and write a description of what happened.

    A few days later, I received an email stating that my request was declined for an invalid reason, with them claiming that the tickets did "not match the journey dates provided" (completely wrong). I chased this up on their twitter page, who essentially asked for more information (which makes you wonder why they declined instead of just asking for it), so I responded giving them a larger recap of events than the text-box on the form allowed.

    Following this, they requested that I send in the actual tickets by post (at my own expense?), so I did (in recorded delivery just in case they tried anything). Upon arrival, they sent me an email claiming that I had sent in "copies" of the tickets, and that they needed the actual tickets. So I told them that I had sent them the actual tickets, and that was that.

    I then received an email from someone else on the GTR team, who the case had been escalated to. He said that he didn't know what ticket I had intended to use between Hove and Fratton/Cosham, so I told him it was the Southern DaySave. We were then paid out the full cost of the Southern DaySave, but this didn't include the other tickets OR the additonal ticket we had to buy.

    After asking for this, I received yet another email, where they had finally agreed to pay for all tickets that we already had. However, in that message, it was also mentioned that "regardless of the cause of the cancellation or delay, we would not be liable to pay any losses incurred as a result of a disruption to our services including additional train tickets".

    Is this correct, or do Southern still owe me the London Paddington to Swindon ticket cost back?

    Thanks for any advice and help. :)
     
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  3. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It sounds like you need to escalate the matter to Transport Focus.

    If the last journey opportunity is cancelled then they should get you home (unless there is a very good reason not to, e.g. severe weather conditions).

    However, was it not possible to get the 1921 Havant to Southampton, changing also at Salisbury? Or the 2026 Havant to Southampton, also changing at Salisbury?

    Without knowing the exact services available and tickets held, and what conversations took place exactly, it is difficult to advise.

    Did GWR refuse to allow travel via Swindon, and did GTR refuse to provide an alternative?
     
  4. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    They are not correct about consequential losses.

    Regardless of that fact, they are required to organise any alternatives under the NRCoT themselves. Your situation, where the final connection of the day was missed, should have involved them transporting you to your destination at no extra cost. This would usually be by alternative trains, but if this is not possible then it may be some other means, such as a bus or taxi. It's wrong that you were asked to pay more. The company who caused the problem should therefore refund all of the cost of the extra tickets, but that's difficult because you should never have paid for them in the first place. You say staff advised travel via London Paddington and Swindon - did they not advise on ticket acceptence?
     
  5. superalbs

    superalbs Established Member

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    No, that would not be possible as I was at Hove at 1903, but the 1903 was cancelled.

    These were the tickets held:
    http://www.brfares.com/#!fares?orig=EXC&dest=AXM&rlc=2TR
    http://www.brfares.com/#!rovers?nlc=I863&rlc=2TR
    http://www.brfares.com/#roverdetail?nlc=I444&rvr=DA1

    GWR ticket office staff at London Paddington claimed that they had not received any notice on ticket acceptance. I had asked twice for the member of Southern staff to provide a written note or endorsement explaining what I needed, but he didn't seem to understand. He also claimed that the last valid intinerary was one an hour prior to when I was travelling, but all connections on my itinerary were valid.

    As noted above, I did ask for a note or endorsement on the ticket, but the Southern staff didn't seem to understand. At Paddington, ticket office staff did not know of any ticket acceptance.
     
  6. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Sorry I misunderstood your itinerary and it is hard to check so long after the fact.

    I recommend putting, in tabular format, the intended itinerary followed by the actual itinerary, whenever making a compensation or refund claim of this nature, to avoid possible confusion. This can be done as well as a textual description of what happened.

    e.g. I would say "My journey was from Hove to Pinhoe, as follows..."

    Hove 1904
    Havant 2006

    [etc]​

    You would then state something like "I was advised ....." and "My actual journey was as follows" (and again the times in tabular format)

    And I would also include something like "The tickets I was intending on using to make my jounrney were as follows" (and a bullet pointed list).

    Anyway do go back to GTR and let us know what they say.

    I would also contact GWR and ask them why they did not accept the tickets, given you were advised to travel that way. GWR staff at Paddington should have been able to check the cancellation on their systems.

    And finally, if a ticket office refused me, I would seek the Guard if possible to explain my plight, as it would normally be possible at a station like Paddington to ask the Guard in plenty of time before departure. That said, doing so may be problematical if the ticket barriers were in operation and the only available train(s) were from a barriered platform.
     
  7. superalbs

    superalbs Established Member

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    Is there any put of any contract you would recommend that I quote. The latest email from GTR states "that under the contractual terms [they] would not be liable to pay any losses incurred as a result of a disruption to our services including additional train tickets".

    Should I ask them to highlight which part of the contract states that?

    Unfortunately the train up to London Victoria was *also* delayed, so we didn't have the time to try and find the guard on an eight coach HST, explain our situation, and hope he lets us travel. If we weren't waved through the gate at both ends of the LU, it is likely we would have missed it and have to wait for the Night Riviera.
     
  8. superalbs

    superalbs Established Member

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    I have written them an email. Will report back in the standard 5-ish days it takes them to respond.
     
  9. superalbs

    superalbs Established Member

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    So I sent them an email explaining that they failed to fulfil their contract by not getting me home, and they responded with some (seemingly) irrelevant paragraph from the wrong copy of the NRCoT, so essentially ignoring what I said.

    I am currently in the process of escalating this to Transport Focus.
     
  10. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    It's astounding they responded so fast, but sadly entirely predictable that their reply would be utter rubbish. I've yet to encounter an organisation worse than GTR for pure incompetence.
     
  11. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    In my opinion you were given permission to travel by an authorised member of staff. If another TOC has an issue with them that should be for them to deal with it between them with no interaction with the customer.
     
  12. Silverdale

    Silverdale Member

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    In the OP, superalbs says s/he was "advised" to travel via Paddington. I wouldn't take that to be the same as being given permission.

    The fact that the member of staff refused to endorse the ticket or provide other authority for the customer to travel via Paddington suggests that this was simply "advice" rather than GTR providing the customer with an alternative means of completing their journey.

    Was the customer entitled to travel via Paddington when the Hove-Havant train was cancelled, or should they have taken the next connecting train(s) as far as Salisbury and expected an alternative means to be provided from there?
     
  13. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    Whilst I see what you’re saying here the customer is not expected to determine the difference between these things. It is very clear that many customers are not aware (through not fault of their own) how the railway is split up into different companies and how the interaction between them works (or doesn’t). We frequently see questions asked to the wrong TOC on social media, either because customers have no idea or because they might have booked a ticket on a website and as such they believe that to be the company responsible for all of their journey.
    To be ‘advised’ in this situation to my mind suggests it is an acceptable idea. One would hope that a member of staff would never ‘advise’ someone to do something that was not permitted.
     
  14. farleigh

    farleigh Member

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    I disagree - GTR are by far the best at pure incompetence.
     
  15. Silverdale

    Silverdale Member

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    Travelling by an alternative route is a perfectly acceptable idea, but it doesn't amount to an authority to travel. In this case, travelling via Paddington wasn't permitted with the ticket(s) the customer held.

    The TOC's customer services didn't believe that the "advice" amounted to an authority to travel as following the twitter enquiry they told the customer to purchase a ticket and claim back the fare. Luckily, the OP was aware enough to make that enquiry. The danger in suggesting that when a train is late or cancelled, that a customer takes "advice" to travel by an alternative route as an authority to travel with the tickets they hold is that they board a train without a valid ticket.
     
  16. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    To the regular user of the railway, not you or I who understand it a little better, if they are told by someone who works for 'the railway' to go a different way and are told that this should be ok, and if they are made to buy another ticket they can claim it back, then it is understandable why they might follow this advice.
     
  17. Silverdale

    Silverdale Member

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    As far as I understand the OP, the "advice" given was to travel via Paddington and that when pressed, the member of staff giving this advice declined to endorse the ticket or provide anything else in writing to the the effect that it was "ok" to travel the alternative route with the ticket(s) the customer held.

    On further enquiry to customer services the customer was subsequently told that they should enquire again at Paddington and if necessary buy an extra ticket and claim back the fare.

    I think that subsequent advice was correct, so all perfectly understandable, as you say.

    What I question is that in your post #10 you said that as a result of the original "advice" to travel via Paddington, the customer was "given permission to travel by an authorised member of staff" [using only the tickets they currently held]. As subsequent enquiries confirmed, that wasn't actually the case, but it suggests that had you been in that customer's position and believing you had already been given permission to travel, you would not have made further enquiries. Instead, absent any ticket barriers or gate line check barring your way, would have boarded a train at Paddington, intending to travel to Exeter, but without a valid ticket (at least as far as Swindon)

    Had you done that, you would have placed yourself in a position where, had you been asked to produce a ticket, you would at least have incurred a penalty fare or possibly been seen as someone trying to travel fraudulently.

    Perhaps I have completely misconstrued what you meant in your post #10, but that is what it suggested to me.
     
  18. superalbs

    superalbs Established Member

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    Have received an email from Southern, saying that they will now consider refunding the London Paddington to Swindon tickets as an "exceptional circumstance".

    However they have also stated that apparently I never submitted any such ticket to them (which is wrong). So now I have to provide images of the tickets or proof of purchase. Thankfully we have both a credit card statement and a scan of the tickets (that we did just before sending the tickets off to them, in case they tried anything like this), so I have sent that off.

    Hopefully this should be the end of it!
     
  19. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Good on you - and aren't they generous for grudgingly complying with their contractual obligations!
     
  20. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    I would always make my opinion clear on sending original tickets off to them. You can do this in a polite and professional manner.
    Explain to them that as you feel that they are currently denying you the compensation you are due without a sufficient explanation then you feel that you are unable trust them with the original copies of the tickets as if they were to be lost somehow then the case would be dismissed. It is for that reason that only copies of the tickets (and also suggest you send booking confirmations and receipts etc as a matter of course) will be sent to them.
    Put the ball back in their court. I did this with VTWC once on a delay between Glasgow and London but on an Edinburgh to London ticket. They denied the claim outright at first suggesting the train didn’t start at Edinburgh (clearly it didn’t) and wanted me to send the tickets in. I refused on the grounds that they’d handled the claim initially poorly and they ‘looked into it further’ and paid out on 1hr where the delay was only 50 minutes so 30mins due.
    If you absolutely must send the tickets then send them through a method that must be signed for. If they lose them but have clearly had them then setup a fight between the TOC and Royal Mail and see who wins.
     
  21. superalbs

    superalbs Established Member

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    That sounds like a good idea for the future @robbeech .

    They have now responded, accepting my proof and have sent the remaining £36.80 in RTVs.

    I am glad I have received the outcome I wished for, it's just a shame it took ten weeks to get there.
     
  22. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    We tend to only hear of these scenarios when they go wrong so there is a tendency to think the situation is worse than it is. I’m pleased to say that there is usually a positive outcome, though as we see here it sometimes takes a bit of additional input and time.
     

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