Working in partnership with London TravelWatch

Transport User Voice – Case study September 2017

31 August 2017

Mrs J was travelling from Feniton to London Waterloo station in order to go to an appointment. There was a fire on a goods service and therefore no trains were able to get in and out of Waterloo.

Mrs J would have missed her appointment so she decided not to continue travelling. She applied for a refund from the rain operator she was traveling with, South West Trains (SWT), however they were unable to process the refund.

As the tickets were not purchased through SWT and as she abandoned her journey SWT said the refund must be processed by the retailer. SWT directed her to Great Western Railway (GWR) as the tickets were purchased at Exeter Central, a GWR managed station.

GWR however declined Mrs J’s refund because her ticket had already been used. GWR directed Mrs J back to SWT as the delays were on SWT’s services. This left Mrs J very unhappy as neither train operating company seemed to be taking responsibility. This is when she contacted Transport Focus for assistance.

After reviewing her case we could see that the responsibility lay with GWR to process her refund. The National Rail Conditions of Travel says that if a passenger decides not to travel due to disruption and they are unable to complete their journey, they will receive a full refund upon the return of their unused ticket. It also states that this condition applies if you began your journey but are unable to complete it due to delay or cancellations and return to your point of origin.

Even though Mrs J had started her journey she was still due a full refund as she was unable to complete it due to the disruption on the network. We contacted GWR on her behalf and it immediately apologised for initially giving the passenger incorrect information. They sent her a full refund and a First Class complimentary ticket to apologise.

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