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Southern Trains - Letter of Complaint

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Ahoy there, hoping you guys can have a quick nose at a letter for me, and let me know what you think.

 

Dear Sir/Madam

I wish to file a formal complaint regarding your London Victoria Ticket office, specifically the person who served me, who informed me that his name was *INSERT NAME HERE*.

My partner and I were travelling on Sunday the 26th of September from Redhill to London Victoria, we had been told previously in the week that we could get the train just after 12:30 to Victoria, which would get us into Victoria in just under 40 minutes. This was important as we had a connecting bus to catch from Victoria coach station to Norwich at 14:00.

Upon arriving at the station just after 12:20, we were informed that there was a connecting bus, which we had not been told about earlier in the week. I specifically asked the gentleman at the desk what time we would get in, as we had a connecting bus to catch at 14:00, and here said we would easily be there by 13:30.

Due to the bus and the connecting train being late, we eventually arrived at Victoria just before 13:55. Nearly 25 minutes later that the station staff informed us, and due in part to a 15 minute unexplained delay on the train. We proceeded to move as fast as possible to Victoria in the hopes of the Norwich bus being delayed. We arrived to find it had left, and upon trying to transfer the ticket to a later coach, were told that we would have to pay.

We left the coach station and attempted to find someone from your company to help resolve the situation. After being passed around Victoria, and explaining myself 3 times, we finally had the misfortune to speak to *INSERT NAME HERE*.

It is used a lot, but without a doubt my dealings with *INSERT NAME HERE* was the worst experience I have ever had with a reputable company.

From the offset his manner was disgusting. While I tried to explain what had gone wrong, he seemed extremely uninterested. I merely wanted to go home, and laid the missed connection at your company’s feet, which he refused to accept. He denied the train had been late. He denied any possibility that the Station staff at Redhill had misinformed me. He called me a liar, both to my face and over the phone thinking I could not hear him through the glass. He kept telling me I was changing my story, which I was not, he was just not listening to what I was saying. He refused to provide travel as in his words “any reasonable person would leave more than 30 minutes to make a connection”. Considering I only have to walk across the road, 30 minutes should be fine.

He pointed at that my bus ticket states I have to be ready to board 40 minutes beforehand. I pointed out to him on my ticket where it states 10 minutes. He refused to let me speak to his manager or anyone higher. At one, point he just up and left, until I had to call him back through the glass, as I was not going to just walk away.

Eventually he agreed that his company was at fault(which I attribute to the woman who was standing behind him watching most of the conversation) and provided myself with £35.80 for bus tickets to Norwich and told me there were 2 seats waiting on the 16:00 bus.

We hurried to the station, only to be told that there were no seats waiting and the next bus with seats available was at 21:30, nearly 6 hours away. Back I went to your ticket office.

I went to the booth and requested to speak to *INSERT NAME HERE* who initially refused, but was told by a colleague to go and deal with it.

I informed him of the situation, to be greeted by a very rude “tough”. I informed him that I could not wait in London for a further 6 hours with my partner, who I am a full time carer for, as she has disabilities, and was already stressed out enough and had been in tears just at the prospect of having to speak to *INSERT NAME HERE* again, he had upset her so much.

He then informed me that I should “go to Stansted”. No explanation of why, just that I should go there. I finally got out of him that there were connections there to Norwich, and I informed him again that National Express had already told me there were no seats on any bus until 21:30. I asked him if he was going to pay for us to get across London to Stanstead if there were seats, to which he refused. He stated that I would get nothing from him and if I did not leave, security would make me.

At this point I could see my Partner in tears again, so I left and told him I would be filing a formal complaint against him, that he had turned what should have been a simple solution into a very distressing and aggrevating time. He had made me very angry at his attitude and behaviour.

The reason there has to be Glass plate between customers and staff is because of people like him. His complete disregard for the problems and distress of anyone else, as well as his obviously poor Customer Service training reflect very badly on your company. I have worked in customer service for years, and would never dare treat a customer even a tenth as badly as he did.

We eventually had to take a train from London Liverpool station home. On that train I was then assaulted by a passenger who had been drinking too much.

I have been to and through London many times, and have never had so many problems. It took nearly a week for my partner to get over the stress from that day, and does not want to go anywhere near London again.

As such I require re-payment of the following sums from yourselves:

2 Train tickets –

Travel across London –

Taxi fare from the station –

Extra money spent on dinner –

Total –

I look forward to your swift response.

 

 

Theres probably spelling/grammar mistakes, but I am not using my home PC and my finger hurt :) I will reslove them when I get home.

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Good letter.

 

What I would warn you about, not to annoy you, but as a 'friend', is that most complaints now are investigated using the technology available. The actual train running logs, CCTV when available and so on.

 

Companies do whatever they can to escape 'blame'.

 

So take a deep breath, then 'go for it'!

 

And let us know how you get on.

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I do stand out, so they should be able to pick me out on cctv.

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Am I reading this right that the man from Southern just gave you £35.80 for a coach ticket?


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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Yes, which would have been fine if there had been a ticket available.

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maybe i'm being stupid here and am staring the obvious in the face, but I fail to see why a railway booking office would just hand over money?


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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As they have an obligation to ensure you get to your destination if you miss a connection and its their fault. It would have been easier all round for him just to do a comp ticket to norwich on the trains, but he wanted to be difficult.

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As they have an obligation to ensure you get to your destination if you miss a connection and its their fault. It would have been easier all round for him just to do a comp ticket to norwich on the trains, but he wanted to be difficult.

Did he not deny it was the company's fault? Or maybe I misread!

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He initially denied it, but after nearly an hour of arguing he admitted that they were to blame.

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but a connection from a train to a bus isn't a "connection" unless it's an advertised rail-bus link so in this case the TOC wouldn't be liable, I've been on the railway over 10 years

and never once heard of a booking office giving out money to people other than for refunds!


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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Exactly!

 

The Railway has a nasty habit of refunding for the Railway... not Coach Companies; especially as those Coach comanies are probably owned by a rival TOC's holding group!

 

...Not that there's many of those of course :lol:

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The lateness of the train made us miss a connection. It does not matter what type of connection it is, if we miss it the railway company are laible to see thta we get home.

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The lateness of the train made us miss a connection. It does not matter what type of connection it is, if we miss it the railway company are laible to see thta we get home.

 

Forgive me, I have no idea about 'connections'. Can you show me where the liability is, is it in a contract?

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I think there is a part in the NRCoC that states that rail companies aren't liable for matters outside the railway, thats just like blaming a queue in Tesco for missing a flight, Tesco would tell you where to go! this story is as daft as it looks! you'll get nowhere sonny jim!


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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Not sure I agree. It seems that there are several issues, if I have followed the story. Firstly, there seems to have been some poor advice which failed to properly explain how long the journey was going to take, then a delay with a train. It happens, and 'connections' are not garanteed.

 

However, some train companies are very 'pro-active' with providing compensation, or some form of passenger support. Then there seems to have been some very poor 'customer relations' at Victoria. Must confess, I have not heard of ticket offices giving out 'money' there and then, but I don't think 'money' is the problem here. I think it is the quality of service that the OP is unhappy with.

 

I do not know whether the complaint is justified or not, but I do know that compared with our continental neighbours, we are 'p*** poor' on customer service, and genuine cases should be chased all the way through. And it should not be chased for 'the money', but just for the sake of decency.

 

Surely, that is what the CAG is all about.

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My first experience of customer service on railways is from my distant youth. About 45 years ago, there was a landslip which caused trains to stop at Althorne. At Wickford, we were told to get on the train, and that there would be a coach waiting at Althorne. At Althorne, what happened was that the guard had to go and get the railman out of the nearest pub. About half a dozen passengers stood around and heard the following row. The train crew were 'good', the railman who seemsed responsible for us after we got off the train was awful. After some considerable time, two taxis arrived and took us away.

 

I must confess, it is my only personal experience of service 'that bad', but it sticks in the mind, and every time I hear a 'whinge' about 'railway staff', my thoughts are prejudiced by that one incident from the days of steam and diesel.

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I am old enough now to know that many 'customers' get the service that they deserve, but part of the pay that any customer facing staff gets (be they on a railway, or a shop) is for 'service'.

 

Equally, I am old enough to know that many companies don't give a rats backside, and leave poorly paid staff in the lurch with no help when things 'go wrong'.

 

If I go in my local butchers, and the meat is chewy, I moan at the butcher, he says sorry (or not), he takes responsibility. Railway staff end up saying 'there is nothing I can do, here is a form, write to our customer services'.

 

Try finding a sensible 'manager' who is prepared to take responsibility! I have asked to see 'managers' before, and got those 'I don't know if he/she is in today answers.

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It is the passengers responisbilty to check times etc, if you have a flight at xx time you need to look up trains to get you there by xx time, if you ask a ticket office for times then ask for a print out, this story just doesn't stack up.


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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My view is that there are 2 seperate issues here. One is that I believe that had the OP been making the entire journey by train; i.e. Redhill to Norwich, then the 'missed connections' issue would apply. However, the OP was only making the shortest part of the journey by train and the majority by National Express coach which I think are covered by different T & C's than that of the railway. It is worth mentioning that Southern Trains are part of the Go-Ahead group which is a rival company to Nat Express. The point being that It is highly likely the OP was making the journey on 2 seperate tickets and 2 seperate modes of transport thus seperating responsibility from one to the other. As I think was pointed out earlier in the thread, the train company's responsibiilty is limited to the 'A to B' points on the tickets which would appear to be Redhill to London Victoria.

 

The second issue is the poor customer service which, according to the OPs account, is a justified complaint. It would appear that during the experience of dealling with the person described as 'INSERT NAME HERE', someone senior to him/her had become aware of the situation and instructed 'INSERT NAME HERE' to obtain replacement coach tickets for the remainder of the journey. I would assume this was done on a 'good will' basis but I would of thought it would of made more sence to offer the OP the equivalent train tickets for the journey as a 'good will gesture' if they were prepared to pay for coach tickets.

 

In conclusion, while I sympothize with the OP, I doubt whether you have any legal claim for compensation from the rail company here although I certainly think you have grounds for making a complaint regarding the way you were treated.

 

Please Note

 

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

 

I would always urge to seek professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

 

Please click my reputation button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.


Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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I think they gave you something to get rid of you because you were making a nuisance of yourself.

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I too think that you may struggle to get what you are claiming.

There is no doubt that if you were disatisfied by what you believe to be poor treatment by any member of rail staff, you should take certaqinly that up wth the TOC concerned

 

However, as for the failings of other operators, the NRCoC is clear, the rail companies will only accept liability for matters that are wholly within their control. As someone else pointed out, the TOC cannot be responsible for a bus company failings unless it is an advertised Rail / Bus Link service.

 

The relevant extracts from NRCoC are these:

 

7. Train Company’s responsibilities

The Train Company whose trains you have the right to use, or who has agreed to provide you with any other goods or services, is responsible for providing the goods or services it has agreed to provide. However, the Train Company or its agent(s) are not responsible for:

(a) another Train Company not running any trains;

(b) another person not providing goods or services;

© any losses that occur while you are travelling on any other Train

Company’s trains;

(d) any losses that occur while you are using those other goods or services.

However, each Train Company or its agent(s) will help you if you have a claim (see Condition 63) or a complaint about your journey, either by dealing with the matter itself or by passing it on

 

42. Compensation for delays

(a) Where delays, cancellations or poor service arise for reasons within the control of a Train Company or Rail Service Company, you are entitled to compensation in accordance with the arrangements set out in that Train Company’s Passenger’s Charter. This can be obtained from the relevant Train Company’s ticket offices, customer relations office or internet site.

 

© This Condition 42 sets out the entire liability of the relevant Train Companies in relation to delays, cancellations and poor service. Except as shown in this Condition 42, the Train Companies do not accept liability for any loss (including consequential loss) caused by the delay and or cancellation of any train. However, they will consider additional claims in exceptional circumstances.

 

Good Luck with your claim.

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