Transport User Voice – October 2016 – Case study

26 September 2016

In our regular feature, we highlight a recent rail appeal complaint that we have handled. Click here to find out more about our work in this area.

The mystery of the missing ticket

Miss C bought tickets on the Virgin Trains website to travel between Stoke on Trent and London Euston. She didn’t get the usual confirmation email for the booking, as she would normally expect, so she contacted Virgin to ask when she should be getting this.

The company said that it would be with her as soon as possible; however on the date of travel the email had still not appeared in her inbox. She tried using her credit card to collect the ticket from the ticket machine, but she was still unable to print the ticket as she had no collection reference.

Stoke on Trent ticket office advised her to buy a second set of tickets, and claim a refund for the original set. When she contacted Virgin, however, she was told that the reason she hadn’t received a confirmation email was because she had entered an incorrect email address. As this was not effectively Virgin’s error, her request for a refund was declined and she was told she should have contacted Customer Services earlier regarding the lack of email.

Miss C was understandably frustrated, as she had contacted Virgin ahead of travel and it had never indicated there was anything wrong with her email address.

We agreed that the outcome reached was an unfair reflection of the circumstances, and we asked Virgin if it would reconsider offering a refund. We explained that Miss C was unaware there was anything wrong with the email address she had provided, and if she had been informed she would have been able to rectify this with Virgin before she travelled. Given that her original tickets had not been printed or used, Virgin agreed to issue a full refund of these and hoped this would be acceptable.

Miss C was pleased with this outcome, and felt that without the intervention of Transport Focus she would still be out of pocket. While we were happy that Virgin Trains offered a refund, we believe it could have offered this to Miss C at an earlier stage, particularly as she did not print or use her ticket.

It should also have resolved the email address error at the first point of contact, as she could have been re-sent the email and avoided the extra ticket cost.


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