Help understanding TrainPal "flash sales: up to 80% off"?

gray1404

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I've received an email from TrainPal with the above heading. In the email it says "buy one get one free, £1 off £15 + extra bonus for £1 off £30". I assume they are selling vouchers. I am totally confused by this and it makes so sense to me how this can equal 80% off a ticket. Can someone please help me understand this?

I am trying to work out if this is a worth while promotion but am left totally confused.
 
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Mcr Warrior

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Are they comparing the cost of certain relatively cheap advance tickets with more expensive but more flexible walk up tickets, as the Trainline have often previously done?

Can't see how otherwise you'd get an "up to 80% saving"?! (The "up to" being the debatable part of such a promotion).
 

Journeyman

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Are they comparing the cost of certain relatively cheap advance tickets with more expensive but more flexible walk up tickets, as the Trainline have often previously done?
I sincerely hope not - it's a massively misleading thing to do, and leads people to think that where you buy your tickets from actually makes a difference to what you pay.
 

Merseysider

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What they will often do is have vouchers for use on their own website for sale; eg buy a voucher for 50p giving £1 off a £15 purchase.

Then they will discount these, eg 10p to buy the same voucher, and claim it’s 80% off tickets.
 

gray1404

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This has got to be the most confusing promotion I've ever seen. It's certainly not worth trying to take advantage of IMO to buy train tickets given its so complicated and misleading.
 

James H

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Trainpal desperately needs to hire a copywriter whose first language is English - all of their promotions and other app blurb is worded so badly it seems like it's been run through Google Translate.
 

TravelDream

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Trainpal desperately needs to hire a copywriter whose first language is English - all of their promotions and other app blurb is worded so badly it seems like it's been run through Google Translate.

As their privacy policy says....
''Our office is at office at Unit 3003, 30/F, Paul Y. Centre, 51 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong.''
:lol:

And whilst I am not a lawyer, I believe this is not legal in the UK for Business to Consumer sales.
''15.1. These Terms of use, their subject matter and their formation, are governed by Hong Kong law. You and we both agree that the courts of Hong Kong will have exclusive jurisdiction over any disputes in relation to these Terms.''

 

Ken_Ilworth

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There's an interesting worked example in their app showing how one of their claims is derived.
(I have used Trainpal - some of their vouchers easily beat cashback sites, etc. But I would never expect any retailer support!)

[Picture shows a screengrabbed "worked example" from the Trainpal app that claims to reduce a ticket for "James, 20" from £460.6 to £32.2]
IMG_20210828_212654.jpg
 

XAM2175

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There's an interesting worked example in their app showing how one of their claims is derived.
(I have used Trainpal - some of their vouchers easily beat cashback sites, etc. But I would never expect any retailer support!)

[Picture shows a screengrabbed "worked example" from the Trainpal app that claims to reduce a ticket for "James, 20" from £460.6 to £32.2]
If splitting has already saved £279.35 and thus brought the cost down to £181.25 then the Railcard discount would be £60.42 and thus the cost after deducting the voucher would be £120.83.

Either they're really quite thick or they're being deliberately deceptive and hoping people won't check the maths.
 

Mcr Warrior

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The headline £460.60 return fare quoted from Flint to/from London would seem to be an Anytime 1st Class return (FOR) (or maybe two FOS singles).

Wonder just how many "20 year olds" ever buy these?

Also, just what ticket(s) does "James" end up with in the supposed example in order to achieve the supposed savings? Anyone able to hazard a guess? :?:
 

skyhigh

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Either they're really quite thick or they're being deliberately deceptive and hoping people won't check the maths.
It's a bizarre claim. I've never used Trainpal before, and if I needed to buy tickets I'd now stay far away from them if I had a choice... I suspect customer service would be lacking if I ever had an issue.
 

py_megapixel

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Trainpal desperately needs to hire a copywriter whose first language is English - all of their promotions and other app blurb is worded so badly it seems like it's been run through Google Translate.
I agree entirely. You could delete every word after "TrainPal" in the thread title and it would still be a valid question to ask.

Seriously, their website is so incredibly badly written.

"you can collect tickets from ANY valid ticket machine in the UK". What exactly constitutes an invalid ticket machine?
"A refund for flexible tickets can be simply submitted and changed for Advance Tickets on your TrainPal app" - what is that supposed to mean?
"We work with more than 1000 trusted transport partners across Europe including Virgin Train" - yes, you work with a TOC that no longer exists and even when it did exist you wouldn't have worked individually with them anyway. And they did write "Virgin Train" singular - does that mean I have to take a punt on the single unit they have worked with turning up and if not my ticket is invalid?

Not a company I would be trusting to be honest if they can't even write their homepage and FAQ section competently.
 

Mcr Warrior

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So, anyhoo, just how do you get the headline first class £460.60 (FOR) fare down to £181.25 (this before any railcard discount)?
 

tspaul26

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So, anyhoo, just how do you get the headline first class £460.60 (FOR) fare down to £181.25 (this before any railcard discount)?
Indeed. I had understood that all public permanent fares were priced in multiples of ten pence which would render £x.25 an impossibility.
 

Paul Kelly

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I had understood that all public permanent fares were priced in multiples of ten pence which would render £x.25 an impossibility.
That was true with the old mainframe fares database but since the introduction of the new Production Management System (PMS) in 2017, 5p multiples are allowed.
 

tspaul26

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And whilst I am not a lawyer, I believe this is not legal in the UK for Business to Consumer sales.
''15.1. These Terms of use, their subject matter and their formation, are governed by Hong Kong law. You and we both agree that the courts of Hong Kong will have exclusive jurisdiction over any disputes in relation to these Terms.''
There is no absolute bar to such a term (Sch 4, paras. 7-9 of the 1982 Act on civil jurisdiction doesn’t apply to consumer transport contracts), but if (contrary to the requirement of good faith) the term is unfair then it will not be binding on the consumer.

For example, if Hong Kong law has equivalent consumer protection to the UK provisions then it might be that the choice of law part of the clause is valid, but the exclusive jurisdiction part is not.

However, even if the consumer can litigate in the UK, he must still then try to enforce any judgment overseas in Hong Kong so it makes little practical difference.

That was true with the old mainframe fares database but since the introduction of the new Production Management System (PMS) in 2017, 5p multiples are allowed.
Have any such fares actually been set since the change?

Permanent, undiscounted fares that is.
 

hkstudent

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As their privacy policy says....
''Our office is at office at Unit 3003, 30/F, Paul Y. Centre, 51 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong.''
:lol:

And whilst I am not a lawyer, I believe this is not legal in the UK for Business to Consumer sales.
''15.1. These Terms of use, their subject matter and their formation, are governed by Hong Kong law. You and we both agree that the courts of Hong Kong will have exclusive jurisdiction over any disputes in relation to these Terms.''

Yeah indeed, and mind you, the mother group of Trainpal is the notorious mainland Chinese company - trip.com
And, the office address of Trainpal seems to be in a kind of rundown industrial area, and that office unit seems not big at all (I think would be smaller than a 4-bedroom house size equilivelent)

I am not so confident about how they will treat personal data as well.

There is no absolute bar to such a term (Sch 4, paras. 7-9 of the 1982 Act on civil jurisdiction doesn’t apply to consumer transport contracts), but if (contrary to the requirement of good faith) the term is unfair then it will not be binding on the consumer.

For example, if Hong Kong law has equivalent consumer protection to the UK provisions then it might be that the choice of law part of the clause is valid, but the exclusive jurisdiction part is not.

However, even if the consumer can litigate in the UK, he must still then try to enforce any judgment overseas in Hong Kong so it makes little practical difference.


Have any such fares actually been set since the change?

Permanent, undiscounted fares that is.
Sadly I have to tell you that there's almost no customer protection law in Hong Kong.
Not alone delay protection on rail or air travel.
 

tspaul26

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Sadly I have to tell you that there's almost no customer protection law in Hong Kong.
Not alone delay protection on rail or air travel.
I was indeed aware of that, having edited a number of textbooks on Hong Kong law (including Hong Kong contract law).

The ability of the Hong Kong courts to grant discretionary relief under section 5 of the Unconscionable Contracts Ordinance (cap. 458) would also not be available because of the choice of law provision. Very much a double-whammy.

In this particular instance, if there is a consumer involved then I would expect a UK court to be willing to accept jurisdiction and to apply UK consumer law, but (as I said above) good luck enforcing any judgment!
 

TravelDream

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I was indeed aware of that, having edited a number of textbooks on Hong Kong law (including Hong Kong contract law).

The ability of the Hong Kong courts to grant discretionary relief under section 5 of the Unconscionable Contracts Ordinance (cap. 458) would also not be available because of the choice of law provision. Very much a double-whammy.

In this particular instance, if there is a consumer involved then I would expect a UK court to be willing to accept jurisdiction and to apply UK consumer law, but (as I said above) good luck enforcing any judgment!

Again, I am not a lawyer, but surely a judgement made in a British court could be enforced against assets held in the UK?

They have a registered office in the UK and surely would need to hold some sort of financial assets here.
 

tspaul26

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They have a registered office in the UK
Do they? The only registered office on their website is in Hong Kong.
and surely would need to hold some sort of financial assets here.
Why would they? They are for all intents and purposes an online business.

Although we are getting a tad off-topic. To return to the original thread, the ‘offer’ is confusing and there are sufficient red flags that I would not have anything to do with this outfit.
 

TravelDream

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Do they? The only registered office on their website is in Hong Kong.

Why would they? They are for all intents and purposes an online business.

Although we are getting a tad off-topic. To return to the original thread, the ‘offer’ is confusing and there are sufficient red flags that I would not have anything to do with this outfit.
Trip.com, First Floor, One Lochrin Square, 92 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, EH3 9QA.

I think their terms are very much relevant when talking about their confusing 'offers'. The two can't be separated.
 

tspaul26

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Trip.com, First Floor, One Lochrin Square, 92 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, EH3 9QA.
That is not a registered office and would not necessarily even be held in the name of the relevant company.

If the business is controlled from Hong Kong or mainland China then it would also be difficult to establish that it is domiciled in Edinburgh so as to found jurisdiction.

This is not a simple part of the law of civil procedure!
 

Merseysider

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There's an interesting worked example in their app showing how one of their claims is derived.
(I have used Trainpal - some of their vouchers easily beat cashback sites, etc. But I would never expect any retailer support!)

[Picture shows a screengrabbed "worked example" from the Trainpal app that claims to reduce a ticket for "James, 20" from £460.6 to £32.2]
View attachment 101880
They’ve applied a 16-25 railcard discount to the First Class Anytime return, which is forbidden.

Either that, or they’re being misleading and relying on Advance tickets which any retailer can sell.

Deception, incompetence, lack of knowledge of the UK ticketing system, or all 3.

I’ve used them on occasion but generally steer clear.
 

STINT47

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This advert is misleading/inaccurate. Leaving what split they used or the voucher they are basing the £460.60 on a first open return and adding a railcard discount. Problem is the 16-25 railcard discpunt doednt apply on a first class ticket.

If they are still actively promoting this they should be contacted to ask them to amend the advert and I'd they don't the ASA may be intrested in taking action
 

Paul Kelly

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Have any such fares actually been set since the change?
Oh yes, there are tens of thousands (otherwise I may not have noticed!). For example an Off-Peak Single from Gainsborough Stations to Dunoon at £136.15: https://www.brfares.com/!faredetail?orig=0415&dest=DUO&tkt=SVS, a Greater Anglia Duo from Stratford to Burnham-on-Crouch at £25.05: https://www.brfares.com/!faredetail?orig=SRA&dest=BUU&tkt=DUO or an LNER half-price Off-Peak Single from Gainsborough Stations to London Zone 1 at £46.55: https://www.brfares.com/!faredetail?orig=0415&dest=0785&tkt=SSU
 

kieron

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Have any such fares actually been set since the change?
Not between Flint and London, but a Rugby-London Waterloo "via Kensington Olympia" anytime return costs £101.45

They're more often used for things like tickets with non-traditional discount (like Newton on Ayr-Prestwick ATrain), tickets with supplements for buses, trams or ferries and single tickets which cost half as much as a return.

And Avanti have a dedicated Liverpool-Runcorn 1st class return which costs 5p less than the interavailable fare.
 
Last edited:

Mcr Warrior

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So, anyhoo, just how do you get the headline first class £460.60 (FOR) fare down to £181.25 (this before any railcard discount)?
Anyone able to clarify? Are we talking about advance tickets or maybe transferring on to the somewhat slower London NorthWestern services at somewhere like Crewe?
 

Alex365Dash

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Are we talking about advance tickets or maybe transferring on to the somewhat slower London NorthWestern services at somewhere like Crewe?
James wants an open return so Advances are out of the question. We'll assume James wants to stick to a First class ticket otherwise I'd have hoped they wouldn't have quoted it in the first place (although this thread shows you shouldn't hope for much from them).

Except that the final non-railcard discount fare is £181.25. There aren't that many fares that end in 5p rather than 10p...

I mean, I can beat the split of £181.25 by 85p, but I think you're going to struggle unless you happen to find a First Anytime Return ending in 5p somewhere vaguely along the line of route.

FromToTicket TypeRouteCost
FlintBirmingham New StreetFirst Anytime Returnvia Shrewsbury£71.60
Birmingham New StreetLondon TerminalsFirst Anytime ReturnWMR/LNR only£108.80
Total£180.40
 

Mcr Warrior

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Thanks @Ali365Dash. So, the reduction in the headline fare (by splitting) might just about be possible, albeit presumably resulting in a somewhat longer journey time, but there wouldn't ever be any 16-25 Railcard discount with walk up First Class Anytime tickets? :?:
 

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