TFL refusing to refund over-charge on London Underground journey

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MKB

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I do not trust TFL or the Oyster system. Therefore, every time I visit London -- at least once a month -- I go to a ticket machine and look at my journey history and check that there are no incomplete journeys.

Imagine my surprise then, when last Saturday, I saw I had an incomplete journey, but not a recent one, one from 19 August last year!

(Incidentally, I noticed that the presentation of details on the screen had changed, so a software upgrade may be implicated in why this incomplete journey was not appearing before but is appearing now.)

The incomplete journey was from Euston to Charing Cross. It seems the touch-in at Euston failed. I remember this incident. There was a faulty (open) barrier that was being manned. The staff member took my Oyster card and swiped it on adjacent barrier then told me to go through the open barrier that I was at.

I asked TFL:

- why this incomplete journey did not show on my journey history on any of several checks made at machines since last August;
- for a refund of the £2.50 over-charge.

They have answered saying they won't investigate any journeys over 28 days old. End of.

So, they can delay telling you about an incomplete journey for six months, and then tell you you're too late to do anything about it. This does not seem to be a legally tenable position to me. I don't care about the £2.50, but I do care about seeing large corporations ripping off people and getting away with it. Any advice on what to do?
 
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monty9120

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when i used to go from london to the midlands i used to always have uncompleted journeys

it was because at the mainline stations there are 2 baggage gates 1 in and 1 out

at my local station theres only 1 for both ways. the reader switches from forward to back faster then anything so if you touch your card on the reader while its set for the opposite direction it messes the system up

stupid idea really
 

Urban Gateline

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at my local station theres only 1 for both ways. the reader switches from forward to back faster then anything so if you touch your card on the reader while its set for the opposite direction it messes the system up

stupid idea really
This is called First-Come-First-Served, it does indeed switch the reader from one side to the other every 2 seconds, you must make sure that the light is orange when either tapping your card or putting the ticket in, if it is red then it will not read it.

This should not give you an incomplete journey though unless you tailgate out after someone has just come in, thereby not touching out. The Wide Aisle Gates are slower than standard gates so if you don't have patience then just use a normal gate!
 

monty9120

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after a 4 hour commute i wasnt normally in the mood to fight the barriers for my case back haha

i didnt realise it was the case at first. when they looked it up they said you went through the wrong barrier. i was like well theres only 1 so i must have been unlucky

luckilly i only go to london on the train visiting parents now as i live in the midlands now
 

Urban Gateline

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In my experience, having used Oyster Pay-as-you-Go for five or six years, Oyster is extremely reliable. I don't think I've ever been overcharged for a journey.
That's the first positive and non-sarcastic post you've ever made about the British Railways! I'm truly shocked! <D
 

MKB

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A post crept in! This was in response to Squaddie:

I visit London about 16 times a year and make about 6 journeys per visit where I use my Oyster. So probably quite a lot lower than the typical Oyster user.

Over the past few years, I average about one incomplete journey a year despite being very careful about touching in and out as required. I've had two cards that have stopped working for no obvious reason. And I've twice had my auto-top-up fail for no apparent reason.

Either I've been unlucky, or you're very lucky!
 

185

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Their refusal to refund, I feel would be straightforward legal issue; TfL could not use the 'reasonable time period' excuse for moneys taken without your knowledge - it would be the exception that you check your journey history, not the norm. If it went to a small claims court, I doubt anyone would lose on that one.
 

Poggs

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In my experience, having used Oyster Pay-as-you-Go for five or six years, Oyster is extremely reliable. I don't think I've ever been overcharged for a journey.
I've only had one problem with Oyster, and that was when travelling from Archway to Watford Junction when I had a Zone 1-2 Annual ticket loaded. It charged me the fare from Archway, not the fare from wherever Zone 2 is on the Overground.

Apart from that, absolutely no problems with it in four years.
 

MKB

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Their refusal to refund, I feel would be straightforward legal issue; TfL could not use the 'reasonable time period' excuse for moneys taken without your knowledge - it would be the exception that you check your journey history, not the norm. If it went to a small claims court, I doubt anyone would lose on that one.
Amounts this small aren't suitable for the small claims procedure in the County Court.

I suspect my credit card company would not be interested either because of the time delay.

Is there an ombudsman-type person who covers TFL matters? I've already asked TFL what their appeals procedure is, but if it's a waste of time, then I'm sure people on here will know and tell me not to bother.
 

MikeWh

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I do not trust TFL or the Oyster system. Therefore, every time I visit London -- at least once a month -- I go to a ticket machine and look at my journey history and check that there are no incomplete journeys.
Very wise. You can actually now view journey history online whether or not you have topped up online. This should make it a lot better.
Imagine my surprise then, when last Saturday, I saw I had an incomplete journey, but not a recent one, one from 19 August last year!

(Incidentally, I noticed that the presentation of details on the screen had changed, so a software upgrade may be implicated in why this incomplete journey was not appearing before but is appearing now.)

The incomplete journey was from Euston to Charing Cross. It seems the touch-in at Euston failed. I remember this incident. There was a faulty (open) barrier that was being manned. The staff member took my Oyster card and swiped it on adjacent barrier then told me to go through the open barrier that I was at.

I asked TFL:

- why this incomplete journey did not show on my journey history on any of several checks made at machines since last August;
- for a refund of the £2.50 over-charge.

They have answered saying they won't investigate any journeys over 28 days old. End of.
Not wishing to appear biased but they can't. After 56 days all relationship between usage and the card is wiped leaving only basic statistical data behind. They would want to examine other history from that day before agreeing a refund and that history just isn't there anymore. Only where a card is used infrequently such that the last 8 journeys cover more than 56 days will full details remain on the card itself, but I guess this isn't the case with you.
So, they can delay telling you about an incomplete journey for six months, and then tell you you're too late to do anything about it. This does not seem to be a legally tenable position to me. I don't care about the £2.50, but I do care about seeing large corporations ripping off people and getting away with it. Any advice on what to do?
Notes about the last incomplete journey are stored separately on the card and have always been viewable with a full printout of the card data. If you had asked for a statement within 56 days you would have seen the problem there as well [and now you can see it yourself on journey history]. I too noticed the new layout when I checked my card at a machine, though I'm sure it appeared towards the end of last year. It might depend on what sort of machine you use.

If you really don't care about the £2.50 then to be honest I'd forget about it. I don't think you'll get anywhere and they've already made it much easier to check in future.
In my experience, having used Oyster Pay-as-you-Go for five or six years, Oyster is extremely reliable. I don't think I've ever been overcharged for a journey.
You're lucky!
I visit London about 16 times a year and make about 6 journeys per visit where I use my Oyster. So probably quite a lot lower than the typical Oyster user.

Over the past few years, I average about one incomplete journey a year despite being very careful about touching in and out as required. I've had two cards that have stopped working for no obvious reason. And I've twice had my auto-top-up fail for no apparent reason.

Either I've been unlucky, or you're very lucky!
You've probably been unlucky. I've once had auto top-up fail but it activated the top up next time even though the balance was negative. I've also had cards that failed, though only once was this due to wear and tear and I try not to keep the card in my back trouser pocket now. The other ones were where my wife put the card though the wash and/or tumble dryer.
I've only had one problem with Oyster, and that was when travelling from Archway to Watford Junction when I had a Zone 1-2 Annual ticket loaded. It charged me the fare from Archway, not the fare from wherever Zone 2 is on the Overground.

Apart from that, absolutely no problems with it in four years.
I'd be interested to know more details about this. Archway is dual zoned which could potentially cause a problem. Which route did you take, via zone 1 or changing at Kentish Town/Camden Town?
 

ert47

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I've only had one problem with Oyster, and that was when travelling from Archway to Watford Junction when I had a Zone 1-2 Annual ticket loaded. It charged me the fare from Archway, not the fare from wherever Zone 2 is on the Overground.

Apart from that, absolutely no problems with it in four years.
Did you pass an Oyster validator at the interchange?
 

MKB

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Not wishing to appear biased but they can't. After 56 days all relationship between usage and the card is wiped leaving only basic statistical data behind. They would want to examine other history from that day before agreeing a refund and that history just isn't there anymore. Only where a card is used infrequently such that the last 8 journeys cover more than 56 days will full details remain on the card itself, but I guess this isn't the case with you.
Thanks for the all the info. Very useful.

However, I don't see how their own system restrictions are an excuse for not fulfilling legal obligations. It's hardly my fault they've had some sort of software bug that has hidden this incomplete journey whenever I've checked my journey history before now. It's not my fault they've designed a system that throws away data after 56 days.

The real issue here is that there was clearly some sort of system bug that meant that some passengers were not being informed in their journey history that an incomplete journey had been made. One wonders how many people this affected besides me and how much money TFL has effectively stolen from passengers by lying to them about the amounts charged.

As I said before, this is about principle, not £2.50, so I don't want to let this one go.
 

benk1342

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As I said before, this is about principle, not £2.50, so I don't want to let this one go.
Sometimes, there are things that you would fight to the end with a private company but you have to let go with the government and public entities like TfL.

In other words, you can't fight city hall.

Your £2.50 is not lining some fat cat's pockets. It is supporting an already under-funded transit system. That's not such a bad thing.
 

monty9120

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Sometimes, there are things that you would fight to the end with a private company but you have to let go with the government and public entities like TfL.

In other words, you can't fight city hall.

Your £2.50 is not lining some fat cat's pockets. It is supporting an already under-funded transit system. That's not such a bad thing.
but its ok that were paying for it as the underground needs updating. but it was ok for people to hardly spend anything for years and reeping the rewards
 

jon0844

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I often wonder why transport companies never seem to put money aside for future upgrade work, as if they hope it won't actually need to be done!

Why should passengers suddenly get hit with huge price rises, when a train might have an expected life of 30-40 years, the rails last for xx years and stations need upgrading every xx years etc.

Now we're getting a lot of new rolling stock, I do hope someone is aware that they won't last forever either?
 
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