I wrote about train delays, cancellations and how to seek compensation where I was promised a full refund, and this is part 2 of the saga I had with Trainline
I should know by now at my age that I was being somewhat naïve and optimistic to expect such efficiency in resolving any dispute, which is evidenced in my book and blogs on this website.
So, without boring you with endless emails, I emailed this individual who promised me with a refund;
I posted the tickets by recorded delivery on 4 January, which I believe you have received now.
I would therefore be grateful if you could kindly confirm that a refund has been applied to my card.
I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you in advance for your assistance.
Steven promptly replied the following day;
That’s great, if you could forward the recorded delivery tracking number I’ll get our refunds team to locate the tickets and get the refund processed.
Customer Service Representative
A few emails were exchanged and Steven concluded by saying;
I’ve passed the details of the recorded delivery on to our refunds team and they will locate this and process the refund.
I’ll let you know once this has been processed.
Customer Service Representative
ESCALATING THE COMPLAINT
I sent a few chaser emails over the following two weeks which were ignored, so I chose to visit their HQ which is less than 4 miles from my home and spoke to Laura.
Laura tried to redirect my claim to Virgin Trains despite the fact that my contract was made with Trainline, who sent me texts and emails days earlier saying that my travel arrangements were fine although the train was cancelled days earlier.
Subsequent confusion arose as I had used the tickets on trains I had been bumped on to, which led Trainline to believe that my trains were delayed. I thought that I had clarified the position at that time in person, although I didn’t expect another clown to jump in with his inflammatory input at the same time.
Madhavi wrote as I left the HQ to say;
I have received some mail from you relating to booking reference xx (collection reference xx).
There’s a copy of everything that was in the envelope attached to this email. The envelope includes used outward portion and the return portion ticket. In order to process the refund amount requested we require the complete set of unused tickets (outward and return). As the outward ticket is used we will not be able to process the refund amount requested.
If you have any queries, please feel free to contact us.
I thought that my response below would have cleared it up, although I had to lower my expectations even further and simplify my explanations to try and make myself understood.
I have just returned from your office after speaking to Laura direct, so please take a look at the notes on my account.
I shall make this easy for you to follow by providing my explanation in bullet points;
- My train was cancelled due to train strikes
- I was advised by texts and emails days beforehand that my travel arrangements were fine
- My train was cancelled days earlier and I was not advised so I could make alternative arrangements
- Although the tickets have been used, the subsequent delays with my travel meant that my weekend was ruined
- Steven promised me a refund if I simply sent the tickets in by recorded delivery
- You have received the tickets
- I have not received a refund
- Laura today has promised that a refund shall be made in due course and I expect this to be actioned
Please confirm that a refund is being processed so I do not have to visit your offices again.
I hope that makes sense and I expect this to be dealt within 7 days, otherwise I shall escalate this further.
Madhavi replied to me and incredibly responded with this;
Thank you for your recent email.
I am sorry to know that you were delayed. I apologise for the inconvenience faced.
From our end we can only process a refund on unused tickets. As the tickets were used to complete the journey we will not be able to process a refund on it. As a part of the Sales Support Team, we help our customers find the best priced tickets to make a journey but we do not actually manage the trains. Compensation pertaining to delay is handled by the Customer Relations team of the relevant train operating company managing the route.
In order for me to forward your request to the right team, may I request you to please help me with the exact details of the service that was delayed/disrupted. I will then find out the relevant details and forward your claim.
Awaiting your response,
Madhavi didn’t have to wait long for my response, and I wrote by return with this email;
Warm words doth butter no parsnips.
I thought I had explained myself clearly; evidently not so I shall try again.
- My train was cancelled. CANCELLED – NOT DELAYED
- My contract is with Trainline
- Trainline confirmed that my train arrangements were fine by texts and emails
- Trainline did not give me the opportunity to make alternative arrangements
- I was given alternative trains to use on the day (hence the tickets being used – well spotted)
- Subsequent delays ruined my weekend
- Steven promised me a refund immediately and said that he had raised this on receipt of the tickets
- I have not been given a refund
- I visited your offices on Thursday 25th January and spoke to Laura
- I reiterated that my train was CANCELLED, not delayed, as Laura tried to get me to direct my query elsewhere
- As my train was CANCELLED, Laura said that I should get a refund soon
Which part of this do you not understand? Do I need to visit your offices to speak to you direct to clarify this? My train was not delayed and as a result, Trainline have promised me a refund which I expect to be honoured.
I am happy to visit your offices once again if necessary and rest assured that if I do, I shall not be leaving until this is resolved.
Light partially dawned on Madhavi’s marble head, he understood that my train had been cancelled and I received the following reply;
Thank you for your recent email. I understand the service booked was cancelled.
As mentioned in the previous email, from our end we can only request for a refund on unused tickets. As the tickets were used to travel on an alternative service to complete the journey, we will not be able to process a refund on it. All issues pertaining to cancellation, delay and onboard experience are handled by the Customer Relations team of the relevant train operating company managing the route. Hence, I requested you to confirm the exact details of the affected service in order to forward your claim.
If you have any queries, please feel free to contact us.
Anyway, I escalated this and various emails were swapped with a promise that a Manager would respond within 5 – 7 working days and call me. Suffice to say, this was another empty promise and I visited their HQ yet again once the 7th day elapsed and picked out Laura to speak to.
SMALL CLAIMS COURT
I laid it on the line that I was willing to take this to Court if I had to, although I had to be seen (by the Courts) to have explored all avenues and that I would be billing Trainline for my time.
The Courts see £10 a hour as a reasonable administrative cost and I put that to Laura, saying that the Courts would rule in my favour anyway with all costs being paid by Trainline for the sake of a £79 refund that I had been promised and was still outstanding two months later.
I summed it up by saying that although it’s clear that there has been a mix-up, the fact remains that Trainline sent me texts and emails saying that my travel arrangements were fine for a train that was cancelled days earlier. I was never given the opportunity to make other arrangements and I wouldn’t try to travel on a cancelled train.
I asked to see the elusive Manager (not possible), and my final question was, “What’s going to happen now?” Laura said, “I’ll get my Manager to ring you as soon as possible” and I said that I was promised that 7 working days ago and here I am sat at your office.
True to her word, her Manager called me within 10 minutes as I was sat in their car park with a promise that a full refund was being processed right now.
PERSEVERANCE BREAKS RESISTANCE
The crux of succeeding with any complaints is to be polite, succinct, summarise the issues you wish to address and the outcome you seek either as compensation or to restore you to the position you were in before you entered into the contract.
I will swallow up as much time, money and resources as it takes until I get the result I want. Nobody really believes it when I say so until I start warming to my theme.
I believe that it’s only a matter of time before someone actually takes a train company to Court for delays, cancellations, overcrowding and various ongoing problems that are a clear breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
What are your experiences with train cancellations, delays and seeking compensation?