I do have a railcard..but I forgot it. Refund?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by dstrat, 21 Jun 2011.

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  1. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I doubt this forum is going to help inform potential fraudsters of something they don't already know.

    However, fraudsters will always find ways to break the rules/law - meanwhile I end up forced to queue up at some very busy stations to get ticket extensions because I can't get them from a machine. And, in the case of boundary zone extensions, I can't even buy online to collect as online sites need a physical station name.

    It's unfair that honest people have to suffer for the sake of trying to prevent fraud, which doesn't even work anyway!
     
  2. blacknight

    blacknight Member

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    TOC's would rather loose the 34% on discounted ticket rather than pay wages of ticket office staff, how else can they explain the drive to push passengers to internet ticket sales offering a 10% discount sweetner whilst at same time closing ticket offices.
     
  3. hairyhandedfool

    hairyhandedfool Established Member

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    People shouldn't be shown discretion as a rule, it is a kindness, not a right, if you want all clerks and guards to be given a set amount of discretion by the TOCs or as an 'industry standard', that discretion will never be seen. I hope that clarifies your question.
     
  4. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    It's a real catch 22 situation isn't it. It means that people are damned if they do, damned if they don't.

    For certain things there should be no discretion, like someone travelling two hours early on an advanced ticket.. yet, I saw someone being let off for precisely that on a FGW service. How does another TM then enforce the rules without being accused of being a 'jobsworth' because it is known that discretion can be used?
     
  5. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    That it not what it says in the T&Cs I have seen. The only requirement (Condition 5) is for the railcard to be shown when purchasing a ticket. There is nothing in the T&Cs to prevent people buying tickets for friends/sons/daughters etc as long as they show the relevant railcards.

    However, as I reported at the time, this did not prevent Sheffield ticket office refusing to sell my partner a ticket for our son who was waiting on the platform with the luggage.

    As others have said, if ticket office staff want to do themselves out of jobs by making up their own rules and refusing to sell tickets then that is up to them. Just don't expect any sympathy when the jobs are cut.
     
  6. blacknight

    blacknight Member

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    Thats fine but don't complain about lack of help when your on line booking referance fails to produce tickets, who's going to help when there are no staff in ticket office to assist in recovering your tickets.:-xNo one intentionally tries to make them selves unemployed by enforcing T&C leave that to the TOC's.
     
  7. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    What help is that then ? On more than one occasion I have overheard staff at Sheffield refuse to help people who have been unable to retrieve their tickets.

    Regarding T&Cs, I have no issue with people enforcing them. My point was about some staff making up their own 'rules' and then refusing to issue tickets based on these made up rules.
     
  8. blacknight

    blacknight Member

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    One of the little known perfrmance figure is making sure as many passengers as possible with booking referances use TVM, the more passengers that are caperble of performing this self taught task=less need in future for ticket office staff which will reduce wage costs help boost profits for here today gone tomorrow TOC's
     
  9. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    Then buy a second railcard. Simples :D
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I've come up with a new reply to the "You're being a Jobsworth" accusation.
    "No, I prefer to call it efficient!"

    Discretion is a good thing. I do use it a lot. Every time I am charging anything short of the Open Single, I am using discretion. It's just that a lot of people think that discretion means "Let me off scott free".

    The definition of discretion (noun) applied by Lord Scarman was
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discretion

    Now, according to the NRCoC, we do not have the power to exercise any discretion:
    Therefore by exercising discretion, we may be leaving ourselves liable to disciplinary action - at the discretion of our employing TOC

    Now, if I am going to risk losing my job, I am going to make sure that I am not going to risk that for something minor.

    A complaint from a passenger that I applied the NRCoC to the situation is not going to impact on me, as it means I was doing my job as laid down by my employer.

    A complaint from a passenger that I applied "discretion" to a case, either involving that passenger or a situation where the correspondent witnessed something (and passengers do e-mail in about something that happened in the seat in front), has the potential to impact on me, as there is a revenue loss to the TOC and I will have to explain why I was not doing my job using the NRCoC that I am supposed to apply.

    Does anybody see where this discretion thing is going yet?

    From my point of view, I like my job. I like my paycheck even more, as does my family. I am not going to risk either of them because somebody is disorganised / dishonest enough to present me with a railcard-discounted ticket and no railcard. For all I know they may be a mystery shopper looking to see how I handle the situation.

    If that makes me a jobsworth, then so be it.
     
  10. First class

    First class Established Member

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    Sorry but that is a lot of bollocks.

    The 10% sweetner is hardly for the passenger benefit.

    Think of it this way:

    A) The 10% discount applies to EC Only tickets, therefore they are getting 100% revenue, (without having to pay anyone else commission as it is their own site).

    B) At the moment, the big thing is about data capture. Marketing departments want loads of data to broadcast their "great" offers. GoldSTAR data is good enough for some TOCs, but those who want to really make money use the internet promo sites with these incentives to sign up for their site. They can see how many times a user travels, where they travel to, male or female, age, nearest station etc etc.

    C) Stations will still have to be staffed for dispatch, ticket collection when the CTR reference won't work, cleaning, TRANSEC etc. The amount of people who will still buy walkup tickets far exceeds the capability of TVMs at big stations.

    I find your claim to be scaremongering. If a station is currently staffed it is either in the franchise agreement or there is a business case for it to be that way. As with any business, the business case can change, sometimes for the worst, sometimes for the better. As most station opening times and staffing levels are at franchise agreement level, very, very few booking offices will close even if the business case is weak. Schedule 17 details part of these agreements.
     
  11. WillPS

    WillPS Established Member

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    Sorry to drag up an old quote, but I've had problems at this at the perennial favourite of Sheffield Ticket Office.

    First example that comes to mind - I was catching the train to Alfreton (where the ticket office would be closed, and there was no TVM at this point) to meet my girlfriend, then accompany her back to Sheffield.

    I tried to buy a Y-P CDR SHF-ALF and a Y-P CDS ALF-SHF. I was asked to provide the railcard for my return journey (fair enough), but I wasn't allowed to buy Gem's single.

    I explained what I was doing, that there was no opportunity to buy a ticket and that I was happy to take the ticket stamped 'Restrictions Advised', but was treated as though I was intent on defrauding the system.

    I therefore cancelled the whole transaction, used Northern's TVM to buy my ticket to ALF, and felt absolutely no guilt whatsoever when there was no ticket check on the ALF-SHF journey, meaning Gem had no ticket.
     
  12. Jonfun

    Jonfun Established Member

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    Normally that's what I'd do chief, just unfortunately this time a combination of a very early morning train, bit of a complex ticket request (I know they should be able to do it, but past experiences of said station booking offices aren't all good) and a potentially tight connection between bus and train in the morning meant that we felt it safer to have the tickets in our hands, so to speak, than risk missing our train in the morning buying tickets, or having to buy full fare ones on board as we'd have walked (well, ran!) past an open booking office. Exception to the rule and all that. Bit more inconvient for me but will, as you say, just book online in the future.

    I accept those of you who've come back with "it's the rules" - I just think (as do others on here) that those rules are archaic and nonsensical given the alternative methods by which you can get around them and how much they inconvenience the customer compared to the benefit they give. I want to exchange my money for a perfectly valid ticket - it shouldn't be up to the booking office clerk to police IMHO. If I get on a train with an RC ticket without the RC, then it's my issue and the guard will act accordingly. As flamingo says - if I as a pax showed him a RC discounted ticket with no railcard, I'd be expecting to have to buy a new ticket. It's not his fault I'd be travelling without one, nor the booking clerk's, who sold me the ticket a few days before - it'd be mine.

    I also think it's a bit OTT to suggest me saying ways I can buy tickets without showing RC will encourage more people to abuse it and the facility to be withdrawn. Do we know figures on how much revenue is lost to the industry by RC abuse? You'd think the fact one has to shell out for a full fare ticket if caught sans-railcard would mean attempted RC abuse actually brings in money to the TOCs!

    Just personal opinions and all that,

    Cheers

    Jon
     
  13. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    The number of people (at weekends especially, when things can be a bit more lax) without railcards is relatively high. The chances of getting £100+ out of them is fairly small. Most of them expect to be excessed only, even when caught. Mostly, we will take the standard ticket / excess money rather than delay the train (and have the resulting hassle, especially the Daily Wail "My teenage daughter was kicked off in the middle of nowhere by jobsworth guard" headlines) by kicking them off.

    The myth that TOC's make money on these type of fare evaders is just that, a myth
     
  14. Jonfun

    Jonfun Established Member

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    Oh aye, I'm not for a minute suggesting TOCs are using lost/forgotten/abducted-by-aliens railcards as a specific excuse to make money - I just meant that the 34% of a fare lost to someone who travels on an RC ticket without RC if caught, would result in either the correct fare being paid in the end non-RC, or a new ticket being bought, which means the TOC is not out of pocket through this trying it on.
     
  15. Solent&Wessex

    Solent&Wessex Established Member

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    On one busy Sunday recently I was on a 3 coach train. On that train during the course of the 2.5 hours I was on it, I had 3 x people with 16-25 railcard discounted tickets all doing different journeys and travelling separately, all purchased on line, all without railcards claiming they had "left them in the other wallet". 2 x family groups (each one was 2 x adults and each group were independent of the other group) with Family Railcard discounted tickets but no child, each claiming the "child was sick and couldn't come". 2 x Squaddies with H M Forces Railcard discounted tickets without railcards, both telling me "that the bloke on the station said it would be alright as I have my forces ID card".

    Now OK, some may be telling the truth, but how many are telling porkies? The same excuses get heard time and time again that I find it impossible that there are so many sick children (but not sick enough to stop the parents going out for the day / away for the weekend) around the place, and so many people with two wallets who have everything except their railcard in the wallet they have with them now.

    On that basis I generally (99.9% of the time) adopt the full fare buy a new ticket policy. If they wish to complain they are more than welcome to contact customer relations. I always point out that (with the exception of Advance fares) they are able to apply for a refund of their original discounted fare. If they have made a genuine mistake, then sorry I've charged you a lot of money. If you are expecting to just pay the Excess so therefore pay no more than if you had purchased the correct ticket in the first place (or more likely, hopefully get away with it) then it serves you right for trying to take the piddle.

    As I have said before, some may see this as harsh, but I'm sorry, all these people that live in cloud cuckoo land and believe that everyone has made a genuine mistake and needs to be shown discretion and / or let off really ought to actually spend a few days doing 9 hour shifts listening to the same excuses being trotted out time and time again.
     
  16. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I think it partly depends on the fare. The reason I believe the EC guard was lenient, was that the excess to the full fare, or even a new ticket, would have been literally hundreds of pounds! This is unlikely to apply on TPE.

    If someone is on a Manchester-York ticket without their Railcard, the Anytime Day Single is only £23.40, for example. But for a journey like London to Swansea that becomes a whopping £114.50.

    I think this may be the reason for the guards of some longer-distance services excessing rather than charging for new tickets.

    The people described in the above post by kwvr45 don't sound plausible to me (at least most of them don't) so full-fare (which is likely to be no more than £25 on this route) seems appropriate to me.
     
  17. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

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    or if it is a return portion.

    As much as I hate to say it, I would rather the approach of charge 99.9% of the time than those who claim to 'know' who is trying it on (and I am sure are frequently wrong, and it would annoy me to be charged when I know there is someone else who gets away with it by turning on the water-works.....).

    We've covered it many times, but I still thin some sort of one-off mistake refund (as for season tickets) would be a customer-friendly thing to do.

    and, I agree with yorkie; I am sure that on long-distance services they are more likely to excess or charge off-peak; insisting that somebody has to pay a couple of hundred pounds is quite likely to end up in a serious confrontation.
     
  18. blacknight

    blacknight Member

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    That might be your opinion but heavy push at present to internet sales see EMT promotions hardly any ref to buying at station ticket offices, like wise with change over to automated ticket gates from manned ticket barriers means in theory everyone as a ticket just might not be correct one for journey being made ie discount railcards tickets 7 day seasons, so fare evader are nolonger stopped at point of departure.
    As for gateline staff, cleaners security & the like they work for sub contractors not employed by TOC directly.
     
  19. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Yes, and the last time we discussed this I think I commented as an aside that probably one day or other it will be me who makes the mistake of leaving a railcard at home or some other silly lapse; as I'm someone whose journey home is long-distance (walk-up fare home is about £100), then the cost of my forgetfullness wouldn't be trivial.

    Well, since then, I did make such a silly mistake, and had to pay for it dearly! (Not a Railcard error: I nearly ALWAYS take the 19:00 from Kings Cross and on this occassion had got there about 18:20 so had plenty time in hand. During that time I'd seen the 18:30 depart and then later checked my tickets only to see that I'd for some reason I'd bought an Advance for that 18:30 - now gone!). Booking office clerk was in no doubt that I'd need a new Off-Peak single. Ouch!
     
  20. Captain Speaking

    Captain Speaking Established Member

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    I find this thread amazing. Here we have a passenger who has a railcard, bought and paid for, but has forgotten to bring it with him. In any reasonable service industry the customer would be charged the difference between the railcard fare and the full fare as it might be a 'try-on' (which this guard did, but which the rules don't allow), which would be refunded on production of the railcard at a ticket office on a later date. The inconvenience of having to pay the excess, then reclaim it back, would discourage customers from not bothering to bring their railcard with them on a regular basis.

    Would that not be an entirely reasonable way to proceed?

    The rules of course say the customer should be charged for a complete new full fare ticket! With no refund! How can that be justified?

    The railway is treating this passengers as fare dodger even when he can prove he are not!
     
  21. island

    island Established Member

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    They can refund the discounted ticket with a £10 admin fee unless it's an advance.
     
  22. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    And how much do some airlines charge if a passenger wants to change their flight, or misses their flight through no fault of their own?
     
  23. island

    island Established Member

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    Depends, just like the railways, on the type of ticket held :)
     
  24. Captain Speaking

    Captain Speaking Established Member

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    That's not the same thing. If I have a ticket valid only for one train (and therefore cheaper than an 'open' ticket) and I try to use it on a different train because through no fault of my own I missed the correct train, or want to change it to a different train, I can't. And quite right too - if I want the convenience of a flexible ticket I am expected to pay the extra for it, same as the airlines.

    The situation the OP had in this thread is quite different. He had a legal ticket to travel on that train and he has purchased a railcard to entitle him to that ticket. He just doesn't have the railcard with him and therefore, rightly, the guard doesn't know if he really is legally entitled to travel on that ticket so charges the uplift to a non-railcard price.

    But because the ticket is in fact valid and legal (the OP has a railcard), the OP should be able to later reclaim that uplift back on production of said railcard, perhaps with payment of a reasonable admin fee for the extra work the railway has to do to issue the extra ticket and process the refund.
     
  25. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    The Terms and Conditions of the documents (railcard and airline ticket) make it clear what the penalties will be in each scenario.
    As the OP has agreed to the T&Cs when buying his railcard, as has the airline passenger when they've bought their ticket, why should they be treated differently?
     
  26. Captain Speaking

    Captain Speaking Established Member

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    Oh dear (sigh!). The situation with the airline ticket is NOT the same as the position the OP was in. See my previous post (please read it, as you clearly hadn't when you posted the above).

    Saying the OP cannot get a refund because 'the rules' say he can't is a circular argument. My point is precisely the rules SHOULD NOT say that, and it is unreasonable that they do!
     
  27. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    I have read your post, please do not try and tell me what I have and haven't done. But why should 'the rules' not say what they do? Because you say so?
    Both industries have 'rules' for various situations which suit themselves.
     
  28. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Before moaning about jobsworths and discretion, you have to look at how the industry can be defrauded by allowing the bending of the rules.

    Given the possibility of having to pay a fortune onboard for not having a ticket, why not take the chance on buying a vastly discounted ticket - with a YPRC or another card (e.g. Network Card) then if caught, you hope to pay just the excess - not a full price walk-on ticket. You're also unlikely to be potentially referred to court for fare evasion. On that basis, why wouldn't everyone do it. If you aren't met by a RPI/TM then you've saved some money.

    Now, if you DO have a card - how do the staff know? While I said a proper database would be a good idea, it doesn't exist and while the industry probably will catch up, it will be years away.

    So, my suggestion is that staff sell a full price ticket and say that 'if you're telling the truth, you can get a full refund for this ticket by presenting your original ticket and railcard at the station where you purchased it, and pay the £10 admin fee'.

    At the station, you apply and give your details which are noted against the railcard. You've now had your refund but are £10 out of pocket. Now, even with the £10 admin fee you might be better off - but how many different stations could you go to? They'll have made a note and will apply the rule like that of a season ticket holder. One or two claims per year.

    After that, tough luck - you've had more than enough leniency.

    The upside is railway staff no longer have to show discretion - they can just go by the book and put the responsibility onto the passenger who, after all, made the mistake in the first place. If they accept their mistake and claim, they're not punished beyond the admin fee. And if they're lying, they have no way to get their money back unless they can find a friend with a valid railcard to make the claim - and have THEIR details taken.

    As I said in the other thread/s, we don't have to do the above - but it would be a good PR exercise for the industry as it would stop the stories in the papers about being 'forced' to buy tickets and how staff are jumped up little Hitlers, jobsworths etc.
     
  29. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    ^^^^^
    Y'see *that* makes much more sense.
     
  30. Captain Speaking

    Captain Speaking Established Member

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    No, it's more basic than that. It's a question of what is reasonable and what is not. It is not reasonable to 'punish' a law-abiding but forgetful passenger as if they were trying to defraud the railway as a fare-dodger is. It IS reasonable to charge the forgetful customer the difference (to a non-railcard price plus admin of say a tenner), and refund it (less the tenner) when the passenger produces the card later.

    The argument that it might encourage fraudsters to 'try it on' doesn't hold water as you have to produce your railcard to purchase the ticket in the first place.
     
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