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Bahn.de / Loco2 Advertising a Train that doesn't exist

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I'm going to see a friend in Germany and started booking it up and had a problem booking my ticket home.

 

I'm flying out and got the hotel booked but after trying to book a train ticket on Loco2 and Bahn.de for the homeward journey I deserved a problem with the whole plan.

 

The reason I tried to book the train was because flights were extortionate, around £300 minimum (around this time of year I expected that). The train I found leaves Hamburg at 00:34 on 29/12/2018 arriving into London at 12:57 and the fare offered for this train was £66 Standard Class or £123 First Class. I decided to go with the latter but Loco2 refused to book the train for me. I wanted to book there to get a 'through ticket' so if Eurostar or DB ran late I'd not face problems using an Advance ticket on the UK Railway.

 

As it wouldn't give it to me I decided to book the international part on bahn.de This website gave reservations but when it came to entering card details to make payment, Their website would not reserve a seat on the 11:56 Eurostar service. There is a button which says "Force Reservation" which I pressed and it kicked a message back saying the train was fully booked.

 

I thought this was odd so decided to try and book with Eurostar directly and noticed that their website was showing some fully booked trains but wasn't showing a 11:56 departure from Brussels. After investigation I found out both Bahn.de and Loco2 (Which presumably API's to the Bahn system) was trying to make a reservation for Eurostar Train #9129 ... That train runs only on Sundays... the 29/12/2018 is a Saturday, so it shouldn't be coming up as a possible journey at all...

 

I've spent a few hours trying to figure out how to get around this problem. It seems that the 12:52 departure is fully booked for Both Standard Class, Standard Premier Class but Business Premier does have seats available bringing the total price to £505.15 if I delay departure in Brussels I can use Standard Premier on the 14:56 for £317.00 (Standard Class is sold out)

 

Either way I'm left with a touch choice of abandon the trip and lose out on the Hotel and Flight I've booked, pay the extra £200 (Which isn't really doable) or take the ferry from Hoek van Holland which will bring the price down to around £138.50 (This is doable) or use the coach from Brussels bringing the total to £159.45 both of these options take significantly longer but offer a considerable saving over the Eurostars.

 

Having looked at this, what are my options here? I reported the issue to Loco2 straight away who blamed the Bahn system being slow to update. Having checked today the ticket for the train that doesn't exist is still being advertised.

 

I believe this is mis-selling as the companies concerned are advertising a service which doesn't exist. I had no idea that service didn't exist until I tried to book said service. Had I have known this I wouldn't have booked the outward journey and hotel. A friend of mine commented that I should've booked everything in reverse. I disagree with that because the same could happen for the Hotel or for the outbound journey.

 

I will probably book the ferry and just accept I won't get home until 2AM... But do I have any comeback here for the extra costs?

 

Thanks,

 

Shark :)


This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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What you have described is not mis-selling because nothing has been sold.

However it seems to me that it is a very good example of unfair trading. This used to be a matter solely for Trading Standards - I have a feeling that some amendment was made to allow a consumer to bring a county court claim in certain circumstances.

 

Now we have to check and see if I am right


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Yes, I am right - https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-protection-from-unfair-trading-regulations-2008

 

I can't seem to find a copy of the amended regs.


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If you wanted to take this forward, we would be happy to help.

 

Have you screenshots etc. You would need to collect good evidence


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Hi Bankfodder,

 

Yes I'd like to take this forward as I do want to continue the trip. I just didn't want the extra unexpected expense.

 

I haven't booked the return trip as of the moment. Do you think I should book one of the cheaper options such as the ferry or keep everything like for like and book one of the later day Eurostars? Having skim read the links you sent me I presume I could also claim physical discomfort as I would be awake for 24 hours by the time I got home and it would be a very inconvenient route home. Again I don't want this to be a profiteering exercise, I would just like to cover the amount I'm going to lose as a result of this error. I can certainly demonstrate that the decision to form contract was influenced by this train as I booked a flight and hotel.

 

I do have screenshots of this and the other options. I am happy to link them in PDF into the thread. Even after reporting the issue to Loco2 they are still advertising this train... Bahn.de also still advertising it...


This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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So this is actually worse than I thought... It seems the 12:52 Bahn.de and Loco2 are offering doesn't exist either. That or every seat in Standard, Standard Premier and Business Premier are taken, which I find a little hard to believe.

 

I had to book my return trip and managed to book a train on the 29th - 30th with an overnight stop in Brussels. This is still cheaper than paying for Business Premier on the 14:56 departure on 29/12/2018 I feel better about doing it this way as I can argue a more like for like service was used and it shows I was going to book the journey in any event.

 

So I should have paid £155 for First Class from Hamburg Hbf - Somewhere on the GWR network. As I said in my previous post, I had every intention to make this journey and thought the price was reasonable because it was travelling in the very early hours of the morning. Which didn't worry me much.

 

I have now booked a ticket for £218.25 for travel from Hamburg Hbf - Somewhere on the GWR network. I have also now got to stay an extra night in Hamburg and Brussels. In addition, I now have to contend with the engineering works in Slough on the 30th December 2018... Something I was trying extremely hard to avoid. Rail replacement buses are not kind to those who have medical needs for regular comfort breaks.

 

In summary my total loses are as follows:

 

Hamburg - Cologne Ticket £72.00

Cologne - London St Pancras £104.00

London Paddington - Somewhere in GWR land £42.25

 

Hotel in Hamburg £92.39

Hotel in Brussels £58.18

 

Total Expenses: £368.82

Minus Fare that I should have paid £155.00

 

Total losses: £213.82

 

I've attached some of the evidence in a PDF of the issue I faced.

 

The more concerning thing however is that the price has increased for the train that doesn't exist, despite it being reported as a rogue journey that shouldn't be there. So the companies concerned have had plenty of opportunity to remove it and yet it is still for sale...

 

So how do we proceed from here? I'm guessing an LBA / LBC to Loco2 requesting refund of £213.82 and see what happens?

 

I won't send an LBA till I am home as I really don't want them to cancel the tickets out of spite lol...

CAG Complete.pdf


This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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If you wanted to take this forward, we would be happy to help.

 

I've drafted this LBA.. Is it ok or should I trim it down and be more blunt?

 

Dear Sirs,

 

Letter Before Action

 

On 24/12/2018 I attempted to use your website (Loco2.com) to view available trains for travel from Hamburg Hbf – I was given an option for a 00:34 departure from Hamburg Hbf to on 29/12/2018 for £155.00

 

I accepted this and made arrangements to travel to Hamburg by way of booking a Flight, Hotel and Railway Tickets to reach the airport in the UK.

 

On attempting to book the 00:34 departure from Hamburg I found I was unable to do so and was presented with an error advising that a reservation on the Eurostar from Brussels – London St Pancras was not possible. Your website displayed a message saying there was possibly an issue booking the ticket due to the connection to the Deutsche Bahn reservation system, This implied the problem was only temporary one. After several further attempts I tried booking with Deutsche Bahn directly on bahn.de and this also failed. I then looked on Eurostar.com and discovered that the train your website was advertising was Eurostar Train #9129 which runs on Sundays only. The 29th December 2018 was a Saturday.

 

Your website (and bahn.de) was therefore advertising a service that didn’t exist.

 

I believe this constitutes as an Unfair Trading Practice, contrary to the Consumer Protection (Amended) Regulations 2014. Specifically Schedule 1, Point 5, 6a and 9.

As such I am seeking redress for damages incurred as a result of your companies actions under the “The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (Amended 2014)” Under Section 4A a consumer has the right to redress if he can demonstrate:

27A. 1.(a) the conditions in this regulation are met,

1.(b) the conditions (if any) in the following provisions of this Part for the availability of that right are met.

2. The first condition is that—

2.(a) the consumer enters into a contract with a trader for the sale or supply of a product by the trader (a “business to consumer contract”)

4. The second condition is that—

4.(a) the trader engages in a prohibited practice in relation to the product

6. The third condition is that—

the prohibited practice is a significant factor in the consumer’s decision to enter into the contract or make the payment.

27J. 1. Subject as follows, a consumer has the right to damages if the consumer—

1.(a) has incurred financial loss which the consumer would not have incurred if the prohibited practice in question had not taken place, or

1.(b) has suffered alarm, distress or physical inconvenience or discomfort which the consumer would not have suffered if the prohibited practice in question had not taken place.

 

Because your website was offering a method of travel that did not exist, I was significantly influenced to book my weekend break in Germany. Had I been aware of the substantial extra costs I would not have proceeded with the trip and postponed travel till January.

 

I reasonably believed the journey was available and the price advertised was because the methods of travel were overnight, during the early hours of the morning and because the trains used were “stopping commuter services”

 

It was extremely disappointing and unsatisfactory to note that this train continued to be advertised for several days after reporting the issue to your Head of Customer Service. I also noticed the price increased closer to the date of travel so it is clear this practice was allowed to continue and mislead potential passengers.

 

I further discovered I was not able to book any trains for 29th December as nearly all Eurostar services from Brussels were fully booked with most trains having seats in Business Premier Class only. I was left with the difficult decision of the following:

 

1. Train to Schiedam Central, Ferry to Harwich International and a Train home. This would have taken over 20 hours and meant I would not have been able to sleep for at least 36 hours.

2. Pay for a Business Premier ticket which was at the time an additional £400

3. Stay an extra day in Hamburg and take a train home on 30/12/2018 and accept I would have to contend with the Great Western Railway closures at both Slough and Westbury.

4. Ask a friend to collect me at the end of the trip by Car.

5. Abandon the trip completely and accept a financial loss of already booked Hotel, Flight and Train tickets.

 

I settled with option 3 but this was only possible due to temporary financial assistance from my parents and had this not been available then the trip would have been postponed.

 

My losses are detailed as follows:

 

Expense Description: Cost incurred:

Additional night stay in Hamburg Crowne Plaza Hotel £95.62

Train Ticket Hamburg Hbf – Cologne Hbf £72.00

Train Ticket Cologne Hbf – London St Pancras International £104.00

Train Ticket London St Pancras International – £50.90

Hotel in Brussels for 1 night £53.64

Train Ticket Brussels-Midi – Brussels Airport £16.76

Sub Total:

- Minus Ticket that I was intending to purchase - £155.00

- Minus Food and Drink Expenses as Gesture of Good Will - £16.76

Sub Total: - £171.76

GRAND TOTAL: £221.16

 

As I only wish to cover my reasonable losses because of this action, I have waived some food and drinks costs incurred as a gesture of goodwill. This means I have deducted 18 Euros for Breakfast on 29/12/2018.

 

I have also included invoices from the respective hotels and travel documents as evidence of the costs incurred.

 

Under the same regulations, I am also entitled to extended damages for physical inconvenience and/or discomfort. I wanted my journey specifically to begin and end on 29/12/2018 because I was aware of the closure of the railway line between Reading and London Paddington on 30/12/2018, which was part of the intended route to my destination. These engineering works would be in addition to the already closed Station, which is an interchange I would have used for this journey. As such my journey in the UK became the subject of 2 major railway line closures which has caused considerable inconvenience.

 

Further to the above, my travel options are further limited due to several lifetime medical conditions. This means that some forms of replacement railway transport are unsuitable for my use. I am therefore satisfied I can demonstrate considerable inconvenience and discomfort in a Court of Law. However if we can conclude this matter without initiating legal proceedings, as a further gesture of goodwill, I will not be seeking such damages in addition to my losses.

 

As the amount of time since the payment has been made is very small, I will not be requesting the statutory 8% interest a Court can award on this occasion.

 

I have also attached evidence showing the additional costs for the differing options, to demonstrate I have made considerable effort to keep my further losses as low as possible.

 

I therefore formally and politely request that you provide reimbursement of £221.16 within the next 14 days of the date of this letter. If you cannot provide this settlement then please provide me with a full and final response detailing why you disagree with this claim within 14 days.

 

If payment is not received within the stipulated timeframe, then I will begin legal proceedings by way of a County Court Claim in the Small Claims Court without further notice to you.

 

I look forward to hearing from you and receiving payment.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

NS


This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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hold off for the mo. I'm away at present and using a phone.

There is no hurry on this.


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Sorry to butt in but when I looked at this it says the "service not runs every day" & lists both 22 December & 29 December. It may be a problem every weekend as going forward it lists each 3 Saturdays in January & 3 in May as not available either.


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I can confirm this was also a problem for 22nd December 2018 :sad:

 

22122018.pdf

 

Good news is I can't get the booking engine for give me Train 9129 on the days Ploddertom has mentioned, even if I try and force it to by adding a stopover in Brussels of a minimum 1 hour.


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I would hazard a guess as the weekends being used for essential maintenance. Also take note of the following on the Eurostar timetable:

 

VARIATIONS

Amended Eurostar services may

run on and around public holidays

and for engineering works.

It's a good idea to check when

you book and before travelling.


Please consider making a small donation to help keep this site running

 

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hold off for the mo. I'm away at present and using a phone.

There is no hurry on this.

 

Hi BankFodder,

 

I'd like to take this up in the near future and just wondered what the next steps should be.


This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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I'm sorry but it's been so long that I really have lost the plot.

I think it might be best if you started a new thread and laid it out in a chronological bullet pointed fashion – keep it as factual as possible – minimal narrative.

Thanks


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Done - It's over here:

 


This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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