Transport User Voice – October 2018 – Case study

28 September 2018

The case of the missing shopping bag

Mrs D was due to travel from Oxford Road in Manchester to Chester. As this passenger boarded the train, she realised she had left her shopping on a seat at Oxford Road station.

When she reached Chester, Mrs D called the train company Northern, which manages Oxford Road station. She was advised that her shopping had been handed in at Oxford Road Station and that Northern would hold onto it for 90 days, so Mrs D could collect it within that timeframe. She was then provided with a Northern reference number.

Mrs D travelled to Oxford Road station to collect her property. However, upon her arrival, she was informed her shopping was not there and that it could possibly be at Manchester Piccadilly station. She provided station staff with the reference number she had been given by Northern but was told by station staff that they “don’t deal with references”.

Mrs D then travelled to Manchester Piccadilly. Here she was informed by station staff that her shopping wasn’t here either, but that it could possibly be at Oxford Road station. They likewise advised that at Manchester Piccadilly staff also don’t deal with reference numbers!

Mrs D complained to Northern (aware she had been assured that her items would be kept for 90 days, but that this clearly was not the case). As she did not receive a response from Northern’s complaints team, she sent a chaser. However, Northern did not respond to that either.

Following our escalation on her behalf, Northern confirmed that Mrs D’s items were no longer at Oxford Road station because they had been disposed of already.

We questioned why Mrs D’s shopping had been disposed of sooner than the 90 days. Northern stated the station has a limited amount of space to keep lost property, and that due to an influx of items handed in they felt they had to dispose of items before the 90-day deadline. Northern also confirmed that it is currently in a backlog with (all) customer enquiries and complaints – hence why the passenger was not responded to.

We pushed for Northern to compensate Mrs D for her items and for the cost of her travel in pursuit of her lost property. Northern agreed to send her a cheque for her train tickets and for the cost of the items (using her bank statement as proof of purchase).

Mrs D thanked us for our intervention.

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