SOUTH WEST TRAINS have cancelled my MEGATRAIN ticket to sell for higher price.

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Miss JJ33

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9/6/12 bought MEGATRAIN ticket to travel to LONDON 24/712 and on 15/612 get emailed that my journey has been CANCELLED!

Seems SWT have decided to stop any budget travel during the OLYMPICS as per below statement;

South West Trains are not offering any megatrain services from Monday 23 July - Saturday 8 September 2012. This period covers the Opening Ceremony (on Fri 27 July) to the end of the Paralympics. We are expecting a high demand for our trains over the summer period both to and from London. Megatrain was set up to offer low cost travel on services with available capacity and with the anticipated demand generated by the Olympics, Paralympics and various cultural events; we felt it inappropriate to offer megatrain services during this period.

This completely conradicts what the NATIONAL RAIL site states; as below;

"Train companies have been working together to offer great value fares and additional services for the 2012 Games"

How can it be fair that a seat is advertised, money paid for it and then being informed you cannot travel; even though SWT is selling the same seats on the same journey/date at this moment; only at 1600% more than I was charged.

Is there not some contract that can be enforced when buying a rail ticket as 'distance selling'. If I had obtained a normal ticket and not an emailed booking reference, to use as a 'ticket', then I would surely be boarding the train on 24/7/12 oblivious to knowing I had been bumped off the service to allow my seat to be sold at a higher price.

So can MEGATRAIN get away with this?

They are refusing to reply to any requests via email to get the action reversed.

Thanks in advance for any help/advice and hope this serves as a warning to others that if this action is allowed then surely MEGATRAIN can cancel ANY trip you have booked with them, for whatever reason they choose....and surely not all rail journey providers can behave in such a manner.
 
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bb21

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I do not think that they are allowed to back out of a contract unilaterally.

If they do not reply within 28 days, then send them a reminder and then escalate the matter to Passenger Focus.

They did this a few years ago, however in more recent times, they have allowed ticket holders to travel on alternative services should the service they are booked on be cancelled.

Disgraceful behaviour indeed.
 

34D

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If I had obtained a normal ticket and not an emailed booking reference, to use as a 'ticket', then I would surely be boarding the train on 24/7/12 oblivious to knowing I had been bumped off the service to allow my seat to be sold at a higher price.
Arguably if you had printed your 'ticket' when the confirmation email arrived, not read the cancellation email and not signed for any letters from SWT or megabus/megatrain you'd have a right to be carried.

Note - the IT-savvy members will confirm but I believe they may have a way (through cookies or unique urls or similar) to confirm that you have read the email.

Please take this as far as you can - London Travel Watch (I forget what the criteria is for when to use LTW and when to use PF), media, etc. This is on a par with evicting people who live in Stratford.
 

paddy1

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9/6/12 bought MEGATRAIN ticket to travel to LONDON 24/712 and on 15/612 get emailed that my journey has been CANCELLED!

Seems SWT have decided to stop any budget travel during the OLYMPICS as per below statement;

South West Trains are not offering any megatrain services from Monday 23 July - Saturday 8 September 2012. This period covers the Opening Ceremony (on Fri 27 July) to the end of the Paralympics. We are expecting a high demand for our trains over the summer period both to and from London. Megatrain was set up to offer low cost travel on services with available capacity and with the anticipated demand generated by the Olympics, Paralympics and various cultural events; we felt it inappropriate to offer megatrain services during this period.

This completely conradicts what the NATIONAL RAIL site states; as below;

"Train companies have been working together to offer great value fares and additional services for the 2012 Games"

How can it be fair that a seat is advertised, money paid for it and then being informed you cannot travel; even though SWT is selling the same seats on the same journey/date at this moment; only at 1600% more than I was charged.

Is there not some contract that can be enforced when buying a rail ticket as 'distance selling'. If I had obtained a normal ticket and not an emailed booking reference, to use as a 'ticket', then I would surely be boarding the train on 24/7/12 oblivious to knowing I had been bumped off the service to allow my seat to be sold at a higher price.

So can MEGATRAIN get away with this?

They are refusing to reply to any requests via email to get the action reversed.

Thanks in advance for any help/advice and hope this serves as a warning to others that if this action is allowed then surely MEGATRAIN can cancel ANY trip you have booked with them, for whatever reason they choose....and surely not all rail journey providers can behave in such a manner.
Your experience with Megatrain would appear to be their common business practice.

Megatrain did the same with me with a ticket I booked from London to Liverpool for travel on 4 June 2012. I booked the ticket as soon as they went on sale, some 45 days aheadof departure. Then, about 2 weeks before I was due to travel, I got an email telling me that my booking had been cancelled as they had been not been allocated any seats on that particular Virgin service and had therefore offered them for sale in error.

I was told to make alternative arrangements at my own expense and that my payment and booking fee would be refunded back onto my debit card. So far, I have only had the payment refunded and am still waiting for the booking fee.

Due to the very short time span involved, making alternative arrangements cost me far more than what it would have done had I never booked with Megatrain in the first place. It appear that they also have a deliberate policy of ignoring follow up email enquiries.
 

Ferret

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Please take this as far as you can - London Travel Watch (I forget what the criteria is for when to use LTW and when to use PF), media, etc. This is on a par with evicting people who live in Stratford.
Dare I mention the words 'Trading Standards'?!

I did just google the Megatrain T&Cs, and nowhere does it say as far as I can see that they have the right to unilaterally bail out of a contract!
 
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snail

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Megatrain did the same with me with a ticket I booked from London to Liverpool for travel on 4 June 2012. I booked the ticket as soon as they went on sale, some 45 days aheadof departure. Then, about 2 weeks before I was due to travel, I got an email telling me that my booking had been cancelled as they had been not been allocated any seats on that particular Virgin service and had therefore offered them for sale in error.
That sounds about as dodgy as the concert ticket sites that sell people tickets without any guarantees that they will actually buy them.

I see that the T&Cs contains a one-way protection for Megatrain:
3. [...]megatrain tickets are not refundable except under Condition 10h.

(It's not 10h btw, I think it's 10g)

I wonder if the first part of condition 10(g) be invoked by the traveller instead of the TOC relying on the second part?
g. If the rail part of the megatrain service you are booked on is cancelled, or delayed by 60 minutes or more, please seek advice from station staff as you may travel on the next available rail service towards your destination. If you then decide not to travel, you may have a full refund of the megatrain fare and booking fee.

I know the service is still running, but technically the "megatrain service" has been cancelled.

Certain press outlets would have a field day with these two stories...
 

Miss JJ33

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Thank you for your replies; I have just logged back and see some very interesting advice.

I have used MEGABUS/MEGATRAIN for years and this really is the first time they have cancelled any journey but as I have other trips booked then I am nervous that they could cancel those whenever they wish; which is surely not right.

I read their T&Cs and surely their referring to CANCELLATIONS is only if weather/faults etc prevent travel and they do state that their customers can then board alternative trains OR the customer can request a full refund.

But I have not found anything that covers their advance cancelling of the journey; as they have done.

If they did not liaise with their rail partners then that is surely not the paying customer's fault so they should be fair and honour that booking. Are SWT really pushing this do you think...or are MEGATRAIN just covering themselves. They are both owned by STAGECOACH are they not? So is it just to capitalise on OLYMPICS demands and charge as high prices as possible for the seats.

But that, as I stated, contradicts the NATIONAL RAIL statement about all rail companies combining to offer affordable rail links to the games.

Any idea how I can contact media outlets to get this given some higher publicity. I emailed BBC YOU AND YOURS but so far they have not moved beyond an auto response. I also contacted SIMON CALDER as he is the only travel journalist I read though he is more globally slanted than UK rail problems.

Once again, thanks for all responses.
 

bb21

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I don't think we are at the stage of contacting media yet, however this could well be an option if the situation is not resolved soon.

As I said, your next step is Passenger Focus if Stagecoach/Megatrain would not respond.
 

talltim

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It's annoying because if you hadn't read the mail you could have just turned up for your train and played hell when you found out. Now you have read it you can't put the cat back in the bag
 

ralphchadkirk

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Once payment has been taken, and you had received your ticket I do not believe that Megatrain would legally be able to back out of the agreed contract. From reading their terms and conditions the only way they would be able to back out once agreed is through Condition 12:
12. If we have reason to suspect fraudulent use of booking references, transfer to another person, or other abuse, we reserve the right to refuse you travel on our service(s). No refund will be given in relation to fraudulent use of booking references.
However, as you have not booked fraudulently (unless there's something you're not telling us - even a simple something that could possibly lead Megatrain to believe that all is not in order) then this condition is not applicable to you.

I can, therefore, only echo the advice given to you by others to try and engage positively with Megatrain and Passenger Focus with regards to resolving this issue before going to the media.
 

soil

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Arguably if you had printed your 'ticket' when the confirmation email arrived, not read the cancellation email and not signed for any letters from SWT or megabus/megatrain you'd have a right to be carried.

Note - the IT-savvy members will confirm but I believe they may have a way (through cookies or unique urls or similar) to confirm that you have read the email.
If you click a link in the email, then probably yes. If the info is just in the text of the email then generally speaking they won't know that you've read it, since most Email clients block any images (which can be used to track if you've read it). If you downloaded any images in the email, then obviously this doesn't apply.

Would be quite tempted just to turn up with the original confirmation (not sure if that is still possible, as I've not used megatrain, so.).
 

bb21

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My concerns about just turning up on the day is that the OP could be turned away. AFAIK all SWT stations that have Megatrain services to Waterloo are gated, barring Portsmouth Harbour (PMH), which means that the OP has an extra obstacle to overcome. Unless she is travelling from PMH, she might not get the option of boarding the train anyway and taking a UPFN.

Playing hell on the day also will not help, as staff could simply call for BTP help.

I strongly urge the OP to seek a resolution beforehand if possible.
 

jkdd77

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In extremis, as an absolute last resort, the OP could buy a new walk-up ticket "under protest", and then (if Passenger Focus/ media/ formal complaints do not work), sue Megatrain in the county court for breach of contract, and in particular claiming for the consequential loss incurred as a result, being the difference between the Megatrain fare (as presumably refunded) and the walk-up fare that he/she was forced to purchase as a result of their breach of contract.
 

LexyBoy

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I don't think Megatrain have a leg to stand on; however as most people won't kick up a fuss they will get away with continuing to provide the Ryanair service ethic.

Obligatory shopping analogy: I notice that Sainsbury's have a BOGOF on pork, so thinking I can make a quick buck sign a contract with Mrs Miggins pie shop to supply 20 pork chops for £5 next Saturday. Come next Saturday I go down Sainsburys intending to buy my chops for £3 but the offer has ended and they are now £6! Oh noes! So, do I (a) suck it up and buy them (b) buy chicken instead for £4 or (c) tell Mrs Miggins that because I can't make the profit I expected, that I'm not going to do anything for her. (Oh, and Mrs Miggins can't get around very well so would have to get a taxi for £20 to do her own shopping).*

South West Trains are not offering any megatrain services from Monday 23 July - Saturday 8 September 2012. This period covers the Opening Ceremony (on Fri 27 July) to the end of the Paralympics. We are expecting a high demand for our trains over the summer period both to and from London. Megatrain was set up to offer low cost travel on services with available capacity and with the anticipated demand generated by the Olympics, Paralympics and various cultural events; we felt it inappropriate to offer megatrain services during this period.
So why did Megatrain offer their services during this period then?

*In case you didn't guess, (a)=putting the passenger on the right train, (b)=putting them on a bus - annoying and not what was wanted but at least getting them there, (c)=two fingers option
 

34D

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Obligatory shopping analogy: I notice that Sainsbury's have a BOGOF on pork, so thinking I can make a quick buck sign a contract with Mrs Miggins pie shop to supply 20 pork chops for £5 next Saturday. Come next Saturday I go down Sainsburys intending to buy my chops for £3 but the offer has ended and they are now £6! Oh noes! So, do I (a) suck it up and buy them (b) buy chicken instead for £4 or (c) tell Mrs Miggins that because I can't make the profit I expected, that I'm not going to do anything for her. (Oh, and Mrs Miggins can't get around very well so would have to get a taxi for £20 to do her own shopping).*



So why did Megatrain offer their services during this period then?

*In case you didn't guess, (a)=putting the passenger on the right train, (b)=putting them on a bus - annoying and not what was wanted but at least getting them there, (c)=two fingers option
But under A megatrain/megabus is hardly separate to South West Trains.
 

OwlMan

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Dare I mention the words 'Trading Standards'?!

I did just google the Megatrain T&Cs, and nowhere does it say as far as I can see that they have the right to unilaterally bail out of a contract!
What about the following under General Notice (my highlight)
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.
Also the contract is subject to Scottish Law, not English (stated in T&C).

Also legally Megabus and SW Trains are separate companies (although both owned by the same holding company)
 

Chris999999

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Obligatory shopping analogy: I notice that Sainsbury's have a BOGOF on pork, so thinking I can make a quick buck ...
This is more like you buy your chops on a Monday, planning to eat them on Wednesday and then the supermarket puts the price up on Tuesday and demands you now pay the higher price because you haven't ate them yet.
 

telstarbox

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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.
They could argue that the Olympics are beyond their control but you would expect this condition to be used for short-notice events which would make it impossible to run a service (track flooding, fire on the train, earthquakes etc). The Olympics have been public knowledge since 2005! If they wanted to fill the trains with lucrative tourists on full fares (understandable) then why make Megatrain fares available at all for this period?
 

Wolfie

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In extremis, as an absolute last resort, the OP could buy a new walk-up ticket "under protest", and then (if Passenger Focus/ media/ formal complaints do not work), sue Megatrain in the county court for breach of contract, and in particular claiming for the consequential loss incurred as a result, being the difference between the Megatrain fare (as presumably refunded) and the walk-up fare that he/she was forced to purchase as a result of their breach of contract.
This is exactly what I would do.

Oh, and make sure the Daily Mail has the story of course.....
 

island

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What about the following under General Notice (my highlight)


Also the contract is subject to Scottish Law, not English (stated in T&C).

Also legally Megabus and SW Trains are separate companies (although both owned by the same holding company)
They are not cancelling them because of the Olympics, they are cancelling them because they want to resell the seats at a higher price, which is entirely within their control.
 

aformeruser

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Note - the IT-savvy members will confirm but I believe they may have a way (through cookies or unique urls or similar) to confirm that you have read the email.
There's usually a hidden image in an email and when this hidden image is downloaded, the email is reported as read. If you view the email without images downloaded or receive a text only version then usually nothing is reported back.

However, I very much doubt a list of people who opened the email would be made available to the conductor on the train.
 

route:oxford

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9/6/12 bought MEGATRAIN ticket to travel to LONDON 24/712 and on 15/612 get emailed that my journey has been CANCELLED!
Do you happen to have an annual travel insurance policy? Either individually or through a packaged product.

You may well be covered for the full price of the alternative if it was a planned break.
 

Ferret

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Part of me thinks 'well, at least they're honest about what they're doing', and then I come to my senses and become annoyed about their audacity!

Time for Ferret's educated guess time. SWT may well have briefed or be about to brief that Megatrain tickets will not be valid between dates XYZ. They will then also say that tickets have been withdrawn from sale.

The Guard on the train will have read this brief, and then will go and check tickets and find our OP. He then has a choice - he can go down the not valid route and try and tell the OP to buy a new full fare ticket. Well, good luck with that! Or he can go down the TIR route and tick the box that states issuing error. Alternatively, he could just think that if they're stupid enough to have sold the ticket in the first place, then it's not his problem, which is where my betting money is going! Put simply, it depends on the attitude of the Guard or RPI as to what happens. I'd like to think most would take the last option.

The OP's choice of course is whether to risk it or not. I've yet to see any legal grounds on which Megatrain/SWT can pull this stunt. I also think it's pretty obvious where Trading Standards would sit on a matter such as this. I can't wait to hear what the outcome of it all is...
 

swj99

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I don't see any point in pretending not to have read emails, the fact remains that they have decided not to honour their contractual obligations.

sue Megatrain .............
That's what I'd do. I think I might write to them first, giving them the opportunity to do the right thing and honour their side of the deal, but failing that, just pay whatever the fare is on the day, then sue them later, on the basis of their breach of contract.
 

aformeruser

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Aren't the T&Cs breaching NRCoC anyway due to condition 10h:

No compensation will be offered if your journey is cancelled or delayed.
 

Helvellyn

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Aren't the T&Cs breaching NRCoC anyway due to condition 10h:

No compensation will be offered if your journey is cancelled or delayed.
megatrain is sold directly by Stagecoach, who use spare capacity on trains operated by subsidiaries of Stagecoach Group. megatrain tickets are not part of the RSP (Rail Settlement Plan) nor subject to the NRCoC.
 

Deerfold

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megatrain is sold directly by Stagecoach, who use spare capacity on trains operated by subsidiaries of Stagecoach Group. megatrain tickets are not part of the RSP (Rail Settlement Plan) nor subject to the NRCoC.
I don't think that's true - it says at http://uk.megabus.com/terms.aspx#megatrain

10. Bookings for megatrain services are in accordance with the National Rail Conditions of Carriage. Some of these conditions are clarified or specifically amended below.
 

LondonJohn

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I only use Megatrain if I can get £1 tickets to/from Southampton and as I know when I am going to be travelling I book in advance and I normally book several trips at the same time.

On one occasion I had an email to say that there was going to be engineering works on a Saturday and my Megatrain journey would be cancelled and the monies refunded to my card. Fair enough I thought, I will go Greyhound that day BUT they cancelled all the journeys in my booking (and refunded them).

Some of the journeys had gone up in price to £8 so I called their customer service line and explained the situation. They emailed me complimentary tickets for my 5 other bookings and I used Greyhound for the one journey that was affected by engineering works.

I guess standard contract law would apply in this case and looking at 10h) no compensation is payable is your service is delayed or cancelled.

The way I see it is that they journey has been cancelled and a refund has been provided..pretty shoddy customer service but IMO don't think you have got any recourse.

If Stagecoach get bad publicity from it they might think, ok, not worth the hassle for the extra few £ they get so they wont have Megatrain fares anymore and just offer more advance fares on their trains.
 

ralphchadkirk

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There is a small, but rather significant difference! If I have understood you correctly LondonJohn.

In your case the service was cancelled because of engineering works. The physical train was not gong to run.

In this case it is merely the Megatrain tickets that have been cancelled. The train will still be running. The actual train service has not been delayed or cancelled.


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