'Upgrading' an Advance

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LE Greys

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I went back to Aberdeen a while ago during the floods disruption. Since I was on an Advance, this resulted in me having to change the dates/times of travel and having to pay more money, to the equivalent of slightly more than a SSR. With it being possible that dates and times might change again, I tried to 'upgrade' the tickets to an SSR to give me more flexibility, but was told I had to pay the full fare and couldn't cancel, even though it was two days before travel. The staff in the Stevenage travel centre are usually very good, but were they right in this case? If it happens again, what can I do?

Luckily, the journey went fine.
 
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RJ

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I went back to Aberdeen a while ago during the floods disruption. Since I was on an Advance, this resulted in me having to change the dates/times of travel and having to pay more money, to the equivalent of slightly more than a SSR. With it being possible that dates and times might change again, I tried to 'upgrade' the tickets to an SSR to give me more flexibility, but was told I had to pay the full fare and couldn't cancel, even though it was two days before travel. The staff in the Stevenage travel centre are usually very good, but were they right in this case? If it happens again, what can I do?

Luckily, the journey went fine.

Hi,

The Advance ticket is not supposed to be "changed" to the SSR as the route fields would be completely different, which is not a permissible excess. However, there was nothing to stop them from refunding the Advance ticket for a £10 admin fee, then offering the SSR.
 

John @ home

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The Advance ticket is not supposed to be "changed" to the SSR as the route fields would be completely different, which is not a permissible excess.
This is incorrect advice.

An advance ticket may be changed to become a SSR by paying the difference in price plus a £10 change fee, but the ticket does not gain validity by other operators because it is valid "only with ticket nnnnn" and the Advance ticket's restriction in the "Route" field continues to apply. See Advance Fares FAQs 15 and 23.

there was nothing to stop them from refunding the Advance ticket for a £10 admin fee, then offering the SSR.
This is incorrect advice.

If the ticket is not used due to disruption, it may be refunded and no change fee applies. If there is no disruption, it is not refundable. See Advance Fares terms & conditions.
 

RJ

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This is incorrect advice.

An advance ticket may be changed to become a SSR by paying the difference in price plus a £10 change fee, but the ticket does not gain validity by other operators because it is valid "only with ticket nnnnn" and the Advance ticket's restriction in the "Route" field continues to apply. See Advance Fares FAQs 15 and 23.

This is incorrect advice.

If the ticket is not used due to disruption, it may be refunded and no change fee applies. If there is no disruption, it is not refundable. See Advance Fares terms & conditions.

As I've alluded to time and time again, The Manual is not a a publicly available resource and certainly not a definitive set of instructions to members of retail staff. Local instructions take precedence. In the absence of available local instructions, The Manual can be fallen back on. But then, it's entirely possible to work in retail without ever looking at The Manual. I've certainly followed the procedure I've mentioned in the past, because it favourable to the consumer and also sanctioned.

Being a member of retail staff, you will be well aware of the status of The Manual so not sure what point you're making!

The best advice to the OP would be to seek advice from their local ticket office and see what they're willing to do.
 
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RJ

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Both the links in my post of 17:56 are to publicly available resources.

The information contained under the first link clearly alludes to the fact that the information has been extracted from The Manual.

The best advice to the OP would be to seek advice from their local ticket office and see what they're willing to do :)
 
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hairyhandedfool

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Could you possibly show how a local instruction is any more publically available than The Manual?

Could you possibly explain how, as the official source of information for ticket offices, The Manual is a 'fall back' option?

Can you explain where local instructions have been provided in this instance to 'over-rule' The Manual?

Can you explain how one ticket office can issue tickets under one set of conditions and instructions and another ticket office can issue the very same ticket with the very same conditions by another set of conditions due to 'local instructions'?

Can you provide any links to these 'local instructions'?
 

RJ

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Could you possibly show how a local instruction is any more publically available than The Manual?

Could you possibly explain how, as the official source of information for ticket offices, The Manual is a 'fall back' option?

Can you explain where local instructions have been provided in this instance to 'over-rule' The Manual?

Can you explain how one ticket office can issue tickets under one set of conditions and instructions and another ticket office can issue the very same ticket with the very same conditions by another set of conditions due to 'local instructions'?

Can you provide any links to these 'local instructions'?

1. Neither are available for the general public to consume - although some people still see fit to use The Manual for non-work purposes or accessing it using logins they shouldn't be using, without even attempting to be covert about it.

2. It says so in The Manual itself, specifically in the Excess Fares Procedures section. The EC Revenue Manual which is popularly quoted on this forum often differs from what The Manual says.

3. Like I said, I have refunded Advance tickets in the past, under local instructions. There is no guarantee that staff at ticket offices will stick to information made available through a non-public resource, where they may have been briefed to do otherwise.

4. See The Manual, where is says that local procedures may take precedence.

5. Try emailing each individual TOC - I don't have access to that information, which is why I advised contacting the local ticket office to see what they're willing to do :). The only correct information that John @ Home posted that a passenger could rely upon, was that Advance Fares are not refundable except in the event of disruption. Even so, a clerk can provide a refund at their discretion if they wish. For example, I was permitted to (but not obliged to) refund Advance tickets that were bought from where I worked up to the day before they came into effect. Plus, I never, ever had to charge a £10 admin fee for anything, but could do if I felt like it where the official rules permitted.
 

clagmonster

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Hi,

The Advance ticket is not supposed to be "changed" to the SSR as the route fields would be completely different, which is not a permissible excess. However, there was nothing to stop them from refunding the Advance ticket for a £10 admin fee, then offering the SSR.
The Advance ticket terms and conditions state:
"Changes to time or date of travel must be arranged before departure of the first reserved train printed on the ticket, after which the ticket has no value and a new one must be purchased. You will need to present the ticket(s) and reservation(s) when you request a change.
The difference between the price paid and cost of the next suitable fare for your journey is payable, plus a £10 administration fee per person, per single ticket for each change to a journey. If you change to a train on which a cheaper fare is available, the difference will not be refunded."
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/advance_conditions.html

What happens if a passenger wishes to change their time of travel immediately before travelling, ie when there are no advance tickets available. The suitable fare is the cheapest valid walk up, which in most cases will not be operator specific, despite the advance being operator specific. I was under the impression the advance would be excessed to the suitable walk up, with a £10.00 admin fee charged, but any operator restrictions on the original ticket remain. Is this the case? If so, why can't the ticket be upgraded to a walk up return in the same manner?
 

bb21

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If so, why can't the ticket be upgraded to a walk up return in the same manner?

An Advance ticket can be excessed to a walk-on return ticket. There is no reason why not, provided that this is done before the departure of the first train booked on. This is subject to an administration fee.

Two Advance tickets forming a return journey can also be excessed to a walk-on return ticket, after paying two lots of administration fees.
 

clagmonster

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An Advance ticket can be excessed to a walk-on return ticket. There is no reason why not, provided that this is done before the departure of the first train booked on. This is subject to an administration fee.

Two Advance tickets forming a return journey can also be excessed to a walk-on return ticket, after paying two lots of administration fees.
This is what I thought prior to reading RJ's post. I am interested to see his take on the matter in the circumstances that I describe.
 

RJ

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This is what I thought prior to reading RJ's post. I am interested to see his take on the matter in the circumstances that I describe.

Do whatever the publicly available T&Cs say if there is no guidance available from your TOC.

Personally, I used to interpret the resources available to me in whichever way was most favourable to the customer without getting myself into trouble. As I said, I was known to refund Advance Fares (with no admin fee) in the past if the person had bought the ticket from where I worked and was buying a new walk up ticket there and then.

However, numerous members on here who have never worked in railway retail have obtained access to the contents of The Manual and are adamant that The Manual is the ultimate authority. It isn't, especially where it comes to Excess Fares procedures and I recall it says as much. It isn't intended for consumption by non railway employees who don't understand its status or role in retailing, which I think is a fair comment to make.
 
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clagmonster

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Thanks, so at the very least excess to a walk up single (but only valid by the original booked TOC, where there is a TOC restriction), would appear to be the jist from the ticket conditions.
 

RJ

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Thanks, so at the very least excess to a walk up single (but only valid by the original booked TOC, where there is a TOC restriction), would appear to be the jist from the ticket conditions.

I used to work on the basis that any excess I issued was explicitly permitted by any veritable source, should I be required to explain after an audit. To me, that would be the National Rail website or the NRCoC. The Manual didn't count because it conflicted with local procedures at times, much like it does with NRE.

So long as you are satisfied that you can do the same, go for it!
 

clagmonster

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Just as a matter of interest, was there a local procedure that precented you from excessing an advance in this way, to either a walk up single or return? A single I feel is explicitly allowed, a return I can see through common sense, so long as the origin and destination remain the same.
 

snail

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Do whatever the publicly available T&Cs say if there is no guidance available from your TOC.

Personally, I used to interpret the resources available to me in whichever way was most favourable to the customer without getting myself into trouble. As I said, I was known to refund Advance Fares (with no admin fee) in the past if the person had bought the ticket from where I worked and was buying a new walk up ticket there and then.
It's actions like that which confuse me totally. You're effectively saying that if I went to your booking office I wouldn't pay an admin fee yet at most other stations I would. You may think you are acting in the most favourable way to the customer but it is more likely to mislead them about how refunds and admin fee should work according to T&Cs and internal guidance (that you choose to ignore).
 

RJ

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It's actions like that which confuse me totally. You're effectively saying that if I went to your booking office I wouldn't pay an admin fee yet at most other stations I would. You may think you are acting in the most favourable way to the customer but it is more likely to mislead them about how refunds and admin fee should work according to T&Cs and internal guidance (that you choose to ignore).

I always made it very clear that normally an admin fee would be charged. However, if it would have made you happier to pay the admin fee, then I wouldn't have objected :).

 

Solent&Wessex

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I always made it very clear that normally an admin fee would be charged. However, if it would have made you happier to pay the admin fee, then I wouldn't have objected :).


And those of us also in on train situations where we are not always in the same office will also be aware that telling somebody that an additional charge / fee / penalty or whatever will normally apply, but is being waived on this occasion, (i.e. charging an XS rather than a new ticket if a railcard is missing) means that they will completely ignore you, expect that charge / fee / penalty to be waived on every subsequent occasion, and will throw a strop and threaten to complain if you do not then waive that charge / fee / penalty.

It is much easier for all concerned - including the passenger - if everyone did the same thing unless there were some very compelling reasons to do something different.
 

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And those of us also in on train situations where we are not always in the same office will also be aware that telling somebody that an additional charge / fee / penalty or whatever will normally apply, but is being waived on this occasion, (i.e. charging an XS rather than a new ticket if a railcard is missing) means that they will completely ignore you, expect that charge / fee / penalty to be waived on every subsequent occasion, and will throw a strop and threaten to complain if you do not then waive that charge / fee / penalty.

It is much easier for all concerned - including the passenger - if everyone did the same thing unless there were some very compelling reasons to do something different.

I'm sure the concept of discretion predated me by many years. Where I could help people out without getting myself into trouble, I would.
 

Solent&Wessex

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I'm sure the concept of discretion predated me by many years. Where I could help people out without getting myself into trouble, I would.

I am sure it did, and perhaps the general travelling public understood it more, but sadly people now seem to expect to be shown discretion at all times, even when there is no valid reason for it. Give a bit of leeway once, and people seem to expect it all the time "because that other chap did / no one else ever says anything / no one else is bothered".

Only yesterday I had a person with a SNR discounted ticket, on the return leg of the journey, but no SNR railcard. Apparently the bloke on the outward journey train 1 never asked to see it at all, and on train 2 asked to see it, but when it wasn't available merely said "I should charge you some extra, but I'll let you off this time, don't forget to bring the card next time". So when I come along on the return journey and suggest that an XS fare is payable I am landed with a torrent of abuse and problems for not letting the bloke off as, in his opinion, it was never a problem for anybody else so why did it bother me, I was just a jobsworth etc etc etc. The ticket had been purchased online via the internet, by another family member, and sent out via the post, so at no time during the purchasing process or journey so far had a railcard been seen. IF either of the previous 2 Guards had followed procedures (even just by charging an XS and not a new ticket) then the whole situation would have been far easier for all concerned.
 

hairyhandedfool

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1. Neither are available for the general public to consume - although some people still see fit to use The Manual for non-work purposes or accessing it using logins they shouldn't be using, without even attempting to be covert about it....

Can I ask why you saw fit to bring up the fact that the Manual is not then? It seems to serve no purpose in the discussion.

....2. It says so in The Manual itself, specifically in the Excess Fares Procedures section. The EC Revenue Manual which is popularly quoted on this forum often differs from what The Manual says....

More specifically, the excess fares sections only mentions local instructions once, in the section marked "Exceptions to Excess Fares rules", where it states that local instructions take precedent "in regards to excess fares rules". This is not an indication that any local instructions take precedent over anything in the manual, nor that the Manual is not official, nor that the Manual is a fall back option.

....3. Like I said, I have refunded Advance tickets in the past, under local instructions. There is no guarantee that staff at ticket offices will stick to information made available through a non-public resource, where they may have been briefed to do otherwise....

The rules for refunds do not allow for refunds on Advance tickets except under NRCoC Condition 26(a). There are no allowances for local instructions in regard to entitlement to refunds.

....4. See The Manual, where is says that local procedures may take precedence....

The local instructions (for excess fares) do not take precedence over ticket conditions.

....Even so, a clerk can provide a refund at their discretion if they wish. For example, I was permitted to (but not obliged to) refund Advance tickets that were bought from where I worked up to the day before they came into effect. Plus, I never, ever had to charge a £10 admin fee for anything, but could do if I felt like it where the official rules permitted.

A clerk can only work within the rules given to them. A clerk has no discretion to provide a refund to a non-refundable ticket except as noted in NRCoC Condition 26(a).

People do not need one ticket office at a given station giving different advice to another and neither knowing why the other is saying what they are.
 

snail

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I always made it very clear that normally an admin fee would be charged. However, if it would have made you happier to pay the admin fee, then I wouldn't have objected :).

Well done. You have missed my point entirely.

What kwvr45 said.
 

RJ

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You will never get rid of discretion entirely. If there is a concern as to what effect discretion has on consistency, I'm certainly not the person to lambast. Some ticket offices will be more lenient than others and do things differently. Fact.

Don't shoot the messenger.
 

Solent&Wessex

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And of course, as all tickets and their conditions (including the refund rules regarding Advance tickets) are part of NRCoC, I assume this bit is quite important:

NRCoC said:
58. Limitation of authority of a Train Company’s staff or agents
A Train Company’s staff or agents have no authority to waive or change these Conditions.
 

RJ

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And of course, as all tickets and their conditions (including the refund rules regarding Advance tickets) are part of NRCoC, I assume this bit is quite important:

The whole point of discretion is that it involves departing from the rules to some extent. You may choose to obide by the rules religiously and nobody is going to take the right away from you to do that. However, elsewhere people take a less harsh stanch and that's their perogative. Part of doing the job is having a thick skin and dealing with people who appear to hold an incorrect belief for whatever reason. This was something I never had a problem with when on retail/revenue protection duties!


 
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