Passenger Voice September 2016: Case study

26 August 2016

Mr B booked a ticket to travel from Lockerbie to Edinburgh on a TransPennine Express service on 10 June, but on arrival at Lockerbie he discovered that the departure was delayed. As he had to be in Edinburgh for a meeting he worked out that he would not get to his destination in time, so abandoned the journey and drove instead.

Mr B had contacted TransPennine for a refund, but was advised by the customer service helpline that he would be charged a £10 administration fee. As Mr B had abandoned his journey due to TransPennine’s delay, he felt unhappy at being charged a fee for a refund, and so he came to Transport Focus.

Transport Focus agreed Mr B was legally due a full refund on his ticket, and was advised incorrectly over the phone, and contacted TransPennine on Mr B’s behalf. When discussing the case it became clear that TransPennine was unsure if it was the ticket retailer. Without confirmation of where Mr B purchased his ticket, it could not issue a refund. TransPennine advised that if Mr B could provide a booking confirmation, it would process a full refund for him without delay. TransPennine also agreed that Mr B had been incorrectly advised on the phone and that no administration fee would be deducted.

Fortunately, Mr B had already sent Transport Focus a booking confirmation in his original email, which was from the ScotRail website. This meant that ScotRail would be responsible for paying the refund. ScotRail informed us a cheque for the full cost of the ticket would be sent to Mr B. TransPennine also agreed to send a cheque to cover Mr B’s petrol costs from Lockerbie to Edinburgh as a goodwill gesture.

We were pleased that both train companies had revised Mr B’s case, and not only offered the refund that was due but went above and beyond their obligations in paying his petrol costs. To avoid such situations from occurring in future, we felt that both ScotRail and TransPennine could have maintained better contact with Mr B throughout the process. We also felt TransPennine could have established earlier on that ScotRail was the retailer of the ticket.

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