Transport User Voice – February 2018 – Case Study

31 January 2018

Miss E bought an annual season ticket, costing £4900, for her daily commute with Southeastern. Although her ticket was valid for 12 months, Miss E moved house 10 months after purchasing it. Her nearest station was a few stops further out than where she originally travelled from. As a result her current season ticket would not be valid.

Miss E went to the station to ask for help and was advised to buy a brand new season ticket for £6228 and claim a refund of the old one. There would, however, have been no refund value of her current season ticket as the last two months are essentially free, a benefit of the season ticket.

After purchasing the new season ticket, Miss E discovered that it is possible to exchange your season ticket for another, also known as a changeover ticket, but Southeastern staff had not offered this as an option.

Miss E was, understandably, unhappy with this as she had effectively lost out on 40 days’ worth of travel. When she complained, Southeastern advised that she had actually got a cheaper deal as the changeover ticket would have cost her an additional £200. Miss E remained unhappy and this is when she sought advice from Transport Focus.

We contacted Southeastern on Miss E’s behalf. The operator was reluctant to agree, and still believed the option offered by its staff was the cheapest. Transport Focus felt that Southeastern should have charged Miss E the difference in cost of the new season ticket calculated pro rata for the remaining time left on her original season ticket. Miss E had 40 days remaining so should have been allowed to pay an additional £145.60 (difference in cost of 40 days between old and new) to change over her season ticket.

After numerous conversations Southeastern continued to claim that the option given to Miss E was the cheapest and that it could not substantiate what the staff member had said. If Miss E had been allowed to buy a changeover ticket she would indeed have paid more, however she would have a season ticket which was valid for an additional 40 days which is equivalent to £778.50. Miss E effectively was losing out on £632.90 (£778.50 – £145.60).

Transport Focus approached Southeastern yet again as we felt the outcome to be very unfair. Having demonstrated that Miss E had technically paid less Southeastern eventually agreed to refund the £632.90. Miss E was extremely happy with the result and thanked us for our intervention in her case.

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