Overcharging when buying tickets on the train, does it still happen?

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thenorthern

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About 20 years ago about half the time I got on a train at my local unstaffed station and bought a ticket the SPORTIS machines seemed to overcharge for tickets and I used to have to then write to Central Trains to claim the money back. I wasn't the only person who had this problem as someone else in a different part of the region seemed to have the same problem with Central Trains overcharging.

Does anyone remember this and does it still happen?
 
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JonathanH

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The SPORTIS machines had a limited memory and couldn't hold all fares - conductors had to look up fares in the local fares manuals and enter them manually.

You could get some major errors. I recall someone on a North Downs train being issued a fare to Salford Central instead of Salfords one morning for about £4 (manually keyed) and wonder what happened when that one was noticed in the reconciliation.

Subsequent on board ticketing machines have had a complete set of fares so it shouldn't happen any more in quite the same way.
 
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Watershed

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About 20 years ago about half the time I got on a train at my local unstaffed station and bought a ticket the SPORTIS machines seemed to overcharge for tickets and I used to have to then write to Central Trains to claim the money back. I wasn't the only person who had this problem as someone else in a different part of the region seemed to have the same problem with Central Trains overcharging.

Does anyone remember this and does it still happen?
There are still a few circumstances where it can happen, e.g. if the guard sells the wrong ticket (Anytime when an Off-Peak would be appropriate) or is unable to sell the ticket the passenger wants (e.g. cross-London tickets if they only have a loo roll printer on them). Some TISs are still struggling to apply the new Railcard rounding rules correctly, but that's a matter of 5p (per ticket) at most.
 

thenorthern

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The SPORTIS machines had a limited memory and couldn't hold all fares - conductors had to look up fares in the local fares manuals and enter them manually.

You could get some major errors. I recall someone on a North Downs train being issued a fare to Salford Central instead of Salfords one morning for about £4 (manually keyed) and wonder what happened when that one was noticed in the reconciliation.

Subsequent on board ticketing machines have had a complete set of fares so it shouldn't happen any more in quite the same way.

The fares that I often came across missold were Uttoxeter to Derby and Bloxwich to Birmingham New Street which you would hope would be pre-programmed into the machine.
 

LowLevel

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The fares that I often came across missold were Uttoxeter to Derby and Bloxwich to Birmingham New Street which you would hope would be pre-programmed into the machine.

Depends on the machine I think - I seem to recall SPORTIS was programmed by route as the memory was limited so ticket issuing staff had to pick the best suited machine to match their working day.
 

yorkie

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About 20 years ago about half the time I got on a train at my local unstaffed station and bought a ticket the SPORTIS machines seemed to overcharge for tickets and I used to have to then write to Central Trains to claim the money back. I wasn't the only person who had this problem as someone else in a different part of the region seemed to have the same problem with Central Trains overcharging.

Does anyone remember this and does it still happen?
Overcharging absolutely does happen but not in this way.

It's more nuanced, such as being charged for the wrong fare type, route etc.

For example a customer might be sold an Anytime routed Any Permitted when an Off Peak routed via somewhere would be valid.

In some cases overcharging systematically occurs and we might see class action claims where such overcharging is endemic.

The rail industry needs to revise it's attitude to towards overcharging as in my opinion there are woefully insufficient safeguards in place to prevent or reduce it.
 

father_jack

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Commission grabbing is still alive and well. Sell the least restricted at the highest fare, somebody else will refund the difference.
 

CyrusWuff

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Commission grabbing is still alive and well. Sell the least restricted at the highest fare, somebody else will refund the difference.
Or, towards the end of Avantix days, sell a Travelcard that you knew wouldn't work in London Underground ticket gates, thereby requiring the passenger to visit the Ticket Office on arrival to get it replaced.
 

LowLevel

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Or, towards the end of Avantix days, sell a Travelcard that you knew wouldn't work in London Underground ticket gates, thereby requiring the passenger to visit the Ticket Office on arrival to get it replaced.

Why would you know it wouldn't work? I used plenty of Avantix tickets in Underground gates. I sold a passenger a ticket that didn't work the gates at a National Rail station earlier (a basic point to point CDR) - sometimes you just get duff stock.
 

CyrusWuff

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Why would you know it wouldn't work? I used plenty of Avantix tickets in Underground gates. I sold a passenger a ticket that didn't work the gates at a National Rail station earlier (a basic point to point CDR) - sometimes you just get duff stock.
Because experience told us that, for at least six months prior to their replacement, a Travelcard issued on any of our Avantix machines failed to work, even after changing the stock and running cleaning cards through them.

Yet people were still selling Travelcards on them on a daily basis so they got their commission...Bonus points if they were doing so on the gateline and immediately sending passengers to the Ticket Office to get them exchanged!
 

LowLevel

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Because experience told us that, for at least six months prior to their replacement, a Travelcard issued on any of our Avantix machines failed to work, even after changing the stock and running cleaning cards through them.

Yet people were still selling Travelcards on them on a daily basis so they got their commission...Bonus points if they were doing so on the gateline and immediately sending passengers to the Ticket Office to get them exchanged!

How interesting - I used to sell a few Travelcards on Avantix but not a huge number and they were only used on long distance connecting journeys so we never used to get any feedback from them. Now you mention it though a regular passenger who bought weekly travelcard seasons from the guard did say he had had a lot of duff ones around the same sort of time. I wonder if it was connected. We never received any official guidance though - I used to put fresh stock in for any very valuable period tickets in the hope it was a bit better for them.
 
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