Megatrain cancellation...

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steadmane

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Hello all,

I've just received this email from megatrain :

"ear Sir/Madam

megabus.com regret to inform you that due to operational restraints your megatrain booking between London, Euston Train Station(EUS) and Liverpool, Lime St Train Station(LIV) on xx August 2012 is no longer valid. Please contact megabus.com to arrange a full refund or alternative travel arrangements on 0871 2663333 Sunday - Saturday 07:00 to 22:00 (Calls cost 10p per minute from a BT landline, calls from mobiles and some other networks may be higher) or by emailing [email protected].

Please accept our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience that this may cause."

They really did use "ear Sir/Madam"

I know this has been referred to before but I note this train is still running so I don't understand the operational restraint. Additionally to make me have to ring a number megatrain are charging me a premium for seems almost offensive.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has had issues with this company before.

Thanks
S.

**UPDATE**

I received an email today from Megatrain. Apparently the email was sent in error and my reservation is now valid. Perhaps a moderator could display this outcome somewhere easily seen. The only comment I have is that it was quite a specific email to be sent in error but whatever - Megatrain have seen sense here..[/QUOTE]
 
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bb21

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Why not email them in the first place, with still three weeks to go until your travel date?
 

steadmane

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I guess I am considering just turning up with the confirmation email and hope to travel. I don't really understand how a company can do this. This is the first time I have used them and I don't really get how they can sell tickets which may or may not be pulled later on down the line with no real reasoning.
 

34D

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I guess I am considering just turning up with the confirmation email and hope to travel. I don't really understand how a company can do this. This is the first time I have used them and I don't really get how they can sell tickets which may or may not be pulled later on down the line with no real reasoning.

If you can hold your nerve yet remain calm and polite, this seems a good idea. Do be aware that the guard may eject you or attempt to issue an UPFN.

There is a thread from about a month ago from another passenger whom this has happened to.
 

LexyBoy

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Essentially Megabus are selling futures but with the get-out that if they are unable to acquire the service they are selling at an advantageous price they can renege on the deal.
 

oversteer

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I would never use Megatrain after reading these threads. I'd just try an advance direct. Very poor show.
 

nedchester

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Is it anywhere in their T&Cs that they reserve the right to cancel the ticket?

I'd have thought that once the contract between customer and supplier has been made then the supplier is duty bound to offer the ticket?
 
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All Line Rover

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I would never use Megatrain after reading these threads. I'd just try an advance direct. Very poor show.

Nor will I. I doubt they're actions are legal, but in any case, I think I'm better off spending a few pounds more on an Advance ticket that fully complies with the NRCoC, will not be cancelled, and qualifies for compensation in the event of a delay.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
There is nothing in the Megatrain T&C's to say that Megabus is allowed to cancel bookings in this way.

I would advise the OP to contact Trading Standards about this, and to inform Megabus that he/she is doing so. I'm sure Trading Standards will be interested to hear about it, as Megabus' actions look questionable, to say the least.
 

michael769

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I agree with the Tradings Standards route, it may also be worth complaining to the Advertising Standards Agency, who take a dim view of this sort of thing.
 

BestWestern

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A very interesting one, I wasn't aware that this sort of thing happened with Megatrain. Out of curiosity, any suggestions as to why they may decline to offer the booked journeys in this way; do they simply hope there is sufficient un-booked capacity on the train or would there be another reason? Are they in the same position with the SWT-operated services or do they have more sway there?
 

SickyNicky

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Personally I would probably attempt to travel anyway on the ticket. Then if refused (or told to buy a new ticket) I would talk to trading standards.

I suspect that having actually had the contract refused would put you in a stronger position to take action against them. However, others will know better than I if this is really the case.
 

LexyBoy

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Out of curiosity, any suggestions as to why they may decline to offer the booked journeys in this way; do they simply hope there is sufficient un-booked capacity on the train or would there be another reason? Are they in the same position with the SWT-operated services or do they have more sway there?

Megatrain rely on being allocated a number of seats by their partner companies (SWT, EMT, Virgin). If those TOCs think that they will be able to sell those seats for a higher price (e.g. a large sporting event suddenly appears, which nobody could have predicted three months ago), then they appear to be free to remove those seats from Megatrain's allotment.

I would imagine the situation would be the same for each of the Megatrain TOCs - they will act in their own best interests - although Virgin with only a 49% Stagecoach ownership might be less inclined to offer Megatrain slots.

Not sure what I would do - turning up and denying knowledge of the email might be fun if in the mood for argument, but I strongly suspect that kicking up enough of a fuss with Megatrain's customer services (!) would get you a ticket to travel on the original train.
 

Ferret

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This is the second such case I've seen now. This does really need reporting to Trading Standards.
 

All Line Rover

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This has happened to numerous people
The majority are bookings during July and August 2012 only, their allocation of seats was not returned due to an oversight

megabus / megatrain have met their legal requirements as their T&Cs include details that they may cancel, contact you, and offer a full refund or alternative

Effectively the (megatrain) service is cancelled, even though the train itself is operating

A similar arrangement exists with Advance tickets

Where is this mentioned? The only notice I see regarding Megabus' right to cancel is this...

Megabus said:
megabus.com has the right to cancel reservations (whether or not confirmed) of any customer whenever such action is necessary to comply with any governmental regulation, upon any governmental request for emergency transportation in connection with the national defense, or whenever such action is necessary or advisable by reason of weather or other conditions beyond Megabus' control, including Force Majeure events.

...and the OP's incident does not fall under this bracket.
 

Ferret

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Where is this mentioned? The only notice I see regarding Megabus' right to cancel is this...



...and the OP's incident does not fall under this bracket.

I agree ALR - I can't find anything on their website which says they reserve the right to cancel the booking.
 

Solent&Wessex

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This has happened to numerous people
The majority are bookings during July and August 2012 only, their allocation of seats was not returned due to an oversight

megabus / megatrain have met their legal requirements as their T&Cs include details that they may cancel, contact you, and offer a full refund or alternative

Effectively the (megatrain) service is cancelled, even though the train itself is operating

A similar arrangement exists with Advance tickets

Where does it say they can do this? I have just read the Ts&Cs and cannot see that bit. The only bit I can see is:

"megabus.com has the right to cancel reservations (whether or not confirmed) of any customer whenever such action is necessary to comply with any governmental regulation, upon any governmental request for emergency transportation in connection with the national defense, or whenever such action is necessary or advisable by reason of weather or other conditions beyond Megabus' control, including Force Majeure events."
 

oversteer

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In a contract to travel like this, is there any obligation for the agency (presuming that is what Megatrain are, as they are not a TOC) to compensate you i.e. by providing an alternative ticket?

We don't have alternative travel arrangement rules for rail (like with package holidays) and the UK government helpfully opted out of EU Regulation 1371/2007 as soon as it was introduced.. (eg. article 16 gives the traveller the choice between reimbursement or rerouting, either immediately at a date of the passenger's convenience)

In their T&Cs they say:
"A valid booking reference acts as the ticket for your journey"
And they have no advised you that your booking reference is not valid, so no ticket; at least they have refunded your money immediately.

The NRCoC (a modified version of which is incorporated into the Megatrain T&Cs) seems silent on the issue of a ticket being cancelled by a TOC, it only mentions what happens if you decide not to travel, or the train service is cancelled.

So I don't think there is much to be done, aside from never buying cheap train tickets or cheap advance tickets with Megatrain, as they can cancel your ticket at any time.
 

button_boxer

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Where is this mentioned? The only notice I see regarding Megabus' right to cancel is this...

Megabus said:
megabus.com has the right to cancel reservations (whether or not confirmed) of any customer whenever such action is necessary to comply with any governmental regulation, upon any governmental request for emergency transportation in connection with the national defense, or whenever such action is necessary or advisable by reason of weather or other conditions beyond Megabus' control, including Force Majeure events.

...and the OP's incident does not fall under this bracket.

Presumably they'd argue that it falls under "conditions beyond Megabus' control" as it's the TOC that has pulled seats out from under Megabus, not anything Megabus have done themselves. Seems a little underhanded given Megabus and SWT/Virgin/EMT are all Stagecoach companies, but they are still legally separate entities.
 

All Line Rover

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Presumably they'd argue that it falls under "conditions beyond Megabus' control" as it's the TOC that has pulled seats out from under Megabus, not anything Megabus have done themselves. Seems a little underhanded given Megabus and SWT/Virgin/EMT are all Stagecoach companies, but they are still legally separate entities.

Yes, they'd say that. But would such an argument stand up in court? I doubt it.
 
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eastdyke

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I have seen this elsewhere in response to a similar situation:

'A contract was formed, but due to frustration it no longer exists. If Megabus were not aware that their allocation was to be pulled when they sold the ticket, they would not be at fault and hence the only remedy required would be to put the buyer back to their original position i.e. provide a refund.'

My view is that Megatrain should have been aware (demand in the olympic/summer period would not be a surprise to them).

And, especially as there is an obvious connection in the beneficial ownership of the entities, that the AS route could be the way to go. But that doesn't help the OP this time.
 

dave87016

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Everyone knew the Olympics were being held so if the TOC has removed the Megatrain allocation of seats then surely they had more than ample time to ensure that Megatrain were unable to offer tickets on the services.
 

Ferret

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But why is the contract 'frustrated' (for those unaware, 'frustration' is a legal term). As I recall, for a Contract to be frustrated, it had to be impossible for one party to perform their obligations. Given that the train will still be running, it is not impossible for the contractual obligations to be performed.
 

eastdyke

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Everyone knew the Olympics were being held so if the TOC has removed the Megatrain allocation of seats then surely they had more than ample time to ensure that Megatrain were unable to offer tickets on the services.

What they 'could have done' and what they 'did' were not the same :(

We can only speculate upon possible reasons.
 

Ferret

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What they 'could have done' and what they 'did' were not the same :(

We can only speculate upon possible reasons.

Yes - and the easiest conclusion to draw is that they are profiteering. Which is why I feel Trading Standards would be very interested to hear about it.
 

eastdyke

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But why is the contract 'frustrated' (for those unaware, 'frustration' is a legal term). As I recall, for a Contract to be frustrated, it had to be impossible for one party to perform their obligations. Given that the train will still be running, it is not impossible for the contractual obligations to be performed.

Magatrain does not run the train and if Virgin has withdrawn the allocation then the contract would be frustrated.

As the 2 parties are different legal entities but share, at least in part, beneficial ownership then I believe that any Advertising of Megatrain tickets should give much more prominence to possible cancellation.
 

jon0844

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If not trading standards, this is another thing for the Daily Mail - or more likely the Telegraph (which seems to be quite anti-rail going by all the anti-HS2 stuff) or BBC Watchdog.

Trading Standards may take ages to act, if it does at all, and you might find that it prompts a sudden goodwill gesture that helps you now but not in the future - or for all the others who suffered.

The media might just get a bit more publicity that helps others and actually resolves the issue for the future. In effect, you're expected to agree to a contract for a ticket that Megatrain hasn't even decided will definitely exist yet.

Ryanair has pulled the same trick and I'm sure others do it, so there's probably a bigger underlying story here.
 

Skymonster

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MegabusPlus/Megatrain shouldn't be allowed to sell tickets until they are sure of their allocation. Selling a "maybe" that the company cannot provide a reasonable guarantee it can fulfil (without them telling,prospective customers thats what they're buying into) is tantamount to fraud. This is the equivalent of all the issues there were over people buying properties / timeshares abroad from plans and then finding their properties weren't built.

At the very least they should be saying very clearly to customers before they buy "we are selling you a seat on this train but we cannot guarantee to provide that seat if our supplier (the train operating company) decides to withold an allocation of seats to us - please acknowledge that you accept this condition of booking". Trading Standards Should be onto them to tell them to only sell when they have the seats allocated / guaranteed by the TOC.
 

benk1342

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Magatrain does not run the train and if Virgin has withdrawn the allocation then the contract would be frustrated.

No, it's not impossible for them to perform. They can buy you a regular full-fare ticket on the same train.

For frustration to have occurred there would have to be a problem that, essentially, you can't fix by throwing money at it. Like if someone sold you Olympic tickets and then the Olympics were cancelled.
 
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