Rights on this refund

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by gray1404, 16 May 2015.

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  1. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Hi guys,

    Could I have some serious advise on this one because I can see a possible dispute raising with Northern. I've hinted to this in my post abut the easements on the strike day, but now I'm at home with the tickets in front of me. I'll provide the full details.

    I have brought 2 sets of the following tickets from LIV Northern ticket office last week using RTVs (and topping the last few pense up with cash) and with railcards.

    Friday 22 May 2015 - Formby to Liverpool - Anytime Day Single - £3.15
    Friday 22 May 2015 - Liverpool to Hove - Advance - £7.25
    Tuesday 26 May 2015 - Hove to Liverpool - Advance - £7.25
    Tuesday 26 May 2015 - Liverpool to Formby - Anytime Day Single - £3.15

    In light of the strike I now require one set refunding (for the guy who doesn't want to travel) and the information posted on National Rail that refunds will be offered for customers already holding tickets on possible effected days, I am sure they will have to refund me for the above tickets on 26 May, however, are they likely to have an issue with refunding those on 22 May?

    Part of the reason he does not want to travel, now I've had chance to speak to him, is due to his disability and the impact of this at times of disruption and heavy usage which may happen after a strike. I totally understand where is he coming from. His tickets were brought a Disabled Persons Railcard and we paid for all of the tickets all together in one entire transaction.

    You can tell from the information above that clearly all these tickets relate to a long weekend away trip. I wondered that the best way for me to approach this would be? I would be happy to receive the refund through RTVs as this is how I paid for them. I think it is also worth pointing out that I had no option buy but to get single fares to get the best fare for this journey because:

    i. period returns are not offered between Formby & Liverpool due to the short distance; and

    ii. Advance tickets are only sold as singles.

    Could I therefore argue that it would be unreasonable for Northern not to refund all the above tickets because it is directly due to the strike that none of the tickets are needed.

    I'd be really grateful for your advise and thank you in advance! I guess the first step is for me to put pen to paper and get the tickets posted to Northern Customer Relations on Monday. The ticket office at LIV said I need to post the tickets in because I paid for them by RTV. I would like to aviod this one having to be esculated to a Manager and then possibly ending up with Passenger/Transport Focus.

    I am just concerned that Northern do not understand the refund regulations anyway. Only today when I got a response from a refund request as a train was canceled, they said there were sending a RTV refund as a goodwill gesture because otherwise they' have to charge a £10 admin fee. This is not apply of course if the train you plan to catch is cancelled and yu decide not to travel.

    Thanks guys!
     
    Last edited: 19 May 2015
  2. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    The starting point is simply to take he tickets you want refunding back to where you bought them from and say you want a refund on them as you won't be making the trip due to the strike.

    Don't over complicate things by saying you paid in RTV's, you bought another set of tickets at the same time which you want to keep etc. Keep it very simple.

    If they try to say the Advance ticket can't be refunded politely point out that refunds are allowed due to the strike. If they try and say there's a £10 admin fee, again politely point out that doesn't apply in this situation.

    Good luck and let us know how you get to. Again, keep it simple - don't over complicate it.
     
  3. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Thanks, have already been to booking office at Liverpool Lime Street, they said that because I paid for them using an RTV, I need to send them into Northern Customer Relations. :(
     
  4. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Ok, I'd send them to Northern customer relations with a brief covering letter.

    Keep a copy of the tickets in case you have to escalate.
     
  5. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That does not sound right to me.

    I don't think the passenger should be told to contact the company themselves at their own expense for a refund.

    (Yes, I know it is a Freepost address. However if the passenger wants to have proof then there will be additional expenses incurred.)
     
  6. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    As they are Advance tickets, you need to be clear on what Northern are offering in terms of refunds. Virgin, for example, are only offering refunds from May 27th in the event that the strike goes ahead. Northern may well take the same view. Therefore at this stage it may well be a customer service issue rather than a refund entitlement.
     
  7. CyrusWuff

    CyrusWuff Established Member

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    As I see it, there are two issues: Services aren't affected on 22nd May, so those tickets won't fall within the scope of a refund under Condition 26(a) or 26(b) of the NRCoC, thus normal refund rules apply (i.e. no refund on the Advance, and an admin fee of up to £10 for the Anytime Day Single); and there's no guarantee that the strike will go ahead, so you can't (yet) make a claim for a refund on the other tickets under Condition 26(a) or 26(b) because there's no cancellation or delay, so normal refund rules (currently) apply there as well.

    The issue of part payment by RTV is something of a red herring, but I would echo the suggestion of Lime Street that you may wish to approach Northern Customer Relations and see if they'd consider doing the refund as a goodwill gesture, though it'll likely take the form of more RTVs if they do.
     
  8. island

    island Established Member

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    The Friday tickets are not refundable as the SDS is under the admin fee and the Advance is, well, an Advance. The Tuesday tickets may be refunded if the strike goes ahead.

    The above is the current minimal entitlements; nothing prevents the TOCs doing more as a matter of goodwill.
     
  9. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I think COMMON SENSE is needed here. It stands to reason that there will be many people who have booked outward travel on the Friday and wish to return on either the Monday or Tueday (strike day). It is not fair that they should only receive a refund for one leg of the journey just because one of leg of their journey is on a strike day.

    I will make out in my letter to Northern that my entire journey is effected i.e. don't want to travel out and risk not being able to get back on the Tuesday. I shall also say I am happy to receive RTVs as it sound like this will make it easier for them.

    Yes, I agree I should not have to be the one sending the tickets in to Northern by post (moreover, given I've visited a ticket office already). However, for the sake of making it simple, I'll just go ahead and post them off on Monday.
     
  10. CyrusWuff

    CyrusWuff Established Member

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    Just checked KnowledgeBase and it would appear that I'm wrong.

    Refunds will be given on both legs of a return journey, provided either leg is affected by strike action and the journey cannot be undertaken. Customers holding only the return halves of tickets that they are unable to use should be refunded 50% of the ticket price.
     
  11. richw

    richw Established Member

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    I believe both legs are refundable if you choose not to travel due to advance warning of cancellation.
     
  12. CyrusWuff

    CyrusWuff Established Member

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    The situation as it currently stands is that the industrial action is still at the proposed stage, so TOCs will be planning emergency timetables, but requests for refunds will be handled as if the normal timetable applies...Hence the suggestion to the OP to ask Northern's Customer Relations team.
     
  13. greatkingrat

    greatkingrat Established Member

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    No it isn't, if you read the NRE disruption page it clearly states you can get a refund now, whether the strike ends up going ahead or not.
     
  14. CyrusWuff

    CyrusWuff Established Member

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    I would suggest that NRE are, not for the first time, in error. TOCs are, of course, free to offer additional rights beyond those stated in the NRCoC, but VTEC and London Midland (at least) are going by the book.
     
  15. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    The trains are not cancelled yet!

    If any are then common sense should apply.

    Obviously its too early to say and so too early to try to cancel these tickets.

    (Note that, where they do apply, admin fees apply per ticket unless you use trainsplit.com )
     
  16. greatkingrat

    greatkingrat Established Member

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    But the problem is his outward leg is on the Friday before the strike and it is likely at that point we won't know exactly what will or won't be running on the Tuesday.

    So it seems entirely reasonable to cancel the tickets now rather than run the risk of getting stranded in Hove on Tuesday.
     
  17. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    National Rail Enquiries is very clear in saying: -
    There is no mention here about the strike having to go ahead and only then will refunds be offered. It is stating that customers may NOW apply for refunds.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 18 May 2015
  18. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Does this also apply if the return journey is to be made on 2 singles, rather than a return ticket though?
     
  19. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    This is a very valid question. However, by nature of Advance tickets, they now force you to buy each leg as a single. There will be many other passengers with Advance tickets in my situation.
     
  20. CyrusWuff

    CyrusWuff Established Member

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    I would expect common sense to apply...Though if your planned journey was something like:
    • Fri 22nd : London - Birmingham
    • Sat 23rd : Birmingham - Manchester
    • Tue 26th : Manchester - Leeds
    • Fri 29th : Leeds - London

    All on Advance tickets, you'd potentially have an argument on your hands trying to get a refund on the Leeds - London one, even though (from your point of view), it's all part of the same journey. Again, this will likely depend on the TOC (and possibly even the individual station).

    Unfortunately I won't be around for the ensuing chaos, as it falls during a period when I'm on annual leave (purely coincidental!).
     
  21. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Thankfully, my case is much more simple then this as its
    An anytime day single and an advance on 22nd and exactly the same again on the 26th. :)

    Picked up a postage paid Northern comment form from that station today so shall be filling out and posting back Monday. Watch this space and hoping for a good outcome!
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2015
  22. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    Why is everyone assuming this strike is going ahead, they haven't even started the ACAS talks yet, they are rather good at getting the obnoxious prats to see sense and strike (sic) a deal.
     
  23. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Indeed, I've been wondering that. Fair enough to think about the worse case (it goes ahead) but people seem to be operating under the assumption that no agreement is going to be reached.
     
  24. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    UPDATE: form filled in, tickets enclosed and sent off at the Post Office this morning! Finger's crossed on this one! Hopefully they just pay out the lot in an RTV (don't want to have to ask for Manager or PF). Using freepost comments form. Post Office gave me a free Certificate of Posting, upon request, which I hope will allow me to claim against Royal Mail if it goes missing.

    (I know you can claim for upto £20 for a first class or second class letter (expect freepost will be classed as second class) so I assume a letter being sent on their freepost account to Northern with proof of posting will be covered for this too - although it is sent through their business account) The value of the tickets is £20.80 so I don't mind loosing out on 80p
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2015
  25. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    My understanding is that for Freepost, Royal Mail's customer is the recipient, not the sender, and only they would be able to make a claim. I might be wrong though!
     
  26. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I just phoned Royal Mail customer service to ask and they have confirmed that. What you say is correct. They said if the item went missing then I can provide the company I sent the item to (in this case Northern) with a copy of the proof of posting and then Northern will be able to have upto £20 credited back onto their business account. This would be subject to Northern making a claim and she confirmed that Royal Mail would also need to see copies of the tickets showing their value.

    However, given this was the form I was told to use by the booking office (who made a point of saying to me that its freepost), I need to use then I think I've covered myself in getting the proof of posting and keeping a copy of the filled out form and tickets. Not to worry, its in the post now so I'm best just waiting until I hear back from Northern. The reality is, the form and tickets will get there. :) In future though, I'd be better maybe just applying my own 2nd class stamp then and getting proof of posting, I can be the one to claim upto £20 directly from Royal Mail in the event of any loss. If you need up to £50 then you need to use Signed For, anything above that use Special Delivery by 1pm.
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2015
  27. First class

    First class Established Member

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    Northern don't have to do that though. If Royal Mail lose your letter and Northern don't want to chase the Royal Mail, it's your own loss.
     
  28. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I really am ANNOYED at Northern actually that the booking office at Liverpool Lime Street INSISTED that I need to post off these tickets on the basis I 'paid with vouchers.' I don't mind them having to send them off for another RTV to be issued but I think the booking office should have been able hand the paperwork back in at the booking office along with the tickets (maybe receive something of a receipt) and they send it off internally for my refund request to be considered. I certainly should not, having gone to the effort already to visit the booking office I brought them from, have to be sending these office of my own accord and risk. It even saying on the National Rail website for tickets to be returned to the retailer they were brought from.

    Oh believe you and me, if there are any issues with this I will make a fuss about it send the complaint to a Manager and PF. I was merely following the instructions of the ticket office staff and, as above, I should not have to be doing this. Let us hope though (i) the letter/tickets get there no problem (ii) If not, Northern are helpful and understanding about the matter.
     
  29. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    If it wasn't for the statement quoted in post #17 I would have approached it differently.

    I'd have informed Northern (via e-mail to Customer Services) that I did not wish to undertake the outward journey without a guarantee of being conveyed back to my destination on my return journey, and therefore ask if they can confirm that they would agree to a refund if the strike was still planned to go ahead on the date before my outward journey.

    If they confirmed this was a reasonable agreement, I would then request a refund at that stage if the strike isn't called off by then (which it probably will be).

    Or alternatively if they provided reassurances that I would be conveyed, then I'd accept that (and, obviously, claim delay compensation as appropriate if applicable).

    I can see why Northern Rail might not be happy issuing a refund at this stage, however I think they'll have to lump it, given the statement provided on the National Rail website (see #17), I believe Northern can't really refuse a refund request, as the passenger is complying with that wording, and NRE is the "definitive source of customer information for all passenger rail services on the National Rail network"

    However is "the retailer that sold you your ticket" Liverpool Lime Street ticket office specifically, or Northern Rail more generally?
     
  30. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I think that given ticket offices are run by a TOC then in this case there is no problem with sending the tickets back to Northern - as it is their office. Again, I am merely following the instructions given by the booking office.

    I agree, due to the wording on NRE:
    "If you already have a ticket valid for travel on any of the days potentially affected by the planned industrial action and no longer wish to travel, the retailer that sold you your ticket will provide you with a full refund. Alternatively you can exchange it for another ticket (once you’ve paid any difference in price). If you want to obtain a refund or exchange your ticket please ask the retailer from whom you purchased your ticket."

    Northern are going to have to lump it and issue the refund. The KEY WORD above is POTENTIALLY. i.e. doesnt matter if the service runs or not because at the time of refund application (i.e. today) the above advise still stands and the tickets relate to a potentially affected day/over all journey if we consider my outward is on Friday and returning Tuesday.

    Remember, in my case, I brought 2 sets of the same tickets. One set I shall be using as I shall still be traveling and be subject to whatever provisions are in place on the Tuesday - including coming back on the Wednesday. The other set was for a friend of mine who can no longer come. So, he might have got lucky here in that normally it would be no refunds on the basis of them being advances or walk ups under £10. However, on this occasion, due to the above advise he might be getting lucky!

    The other thing I should say is that when I've sent tickets back to Northern before for refund (last week as my train was cancelled & I decided not to travel) the person I spoke to on the phone said: "yes, because you paid for the tickets using a voucher we have to refund you by the same method. However, it is easier and quicker for us to issue a voucher as a refund."
    I do not know how much truth there is behind this? Is it easier for a TOC to issue a voucher...
    Therefore, hopefully it will be much easier for the person who gets this refund request at Customer Relations to simply issue another voucher to the value of the tickets and send it out.
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2015
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