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nuclearshark

Loco2 Selling Tickets for a Train that doesn't exist **WON***

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At the request of BankFodder I have created a new thread on this issue. Site team if you feel it's best to merge the threads please do so.

 

I will try to be as brief and factual as possible. The core issues were as follows:

 

  • I was travelling to Hamburg over the Christmas Period to see a friend, Found a Flight Outbound, Hotel and Eurostar home.
  • After booking the Flight and Hotel, I discovered I could not book the Eurostar ticket on either Loco2 or Bahn.de
  • I discovered the booking engine at Loco2 and Bahn.de was advertising Eurostar Train #9129 (which only runs on Sunday) as running on a Saturday.
  • After contacting Loco2 I was told to wait a while and attempt to rebook it, If I could not I was told to book a different train.
  • All other trains on that day were for exorbitant amounts in the region of £400
  • I had to travel home the following day and compete with 2 sets of major Engineering Works on Great Western Railway, causing delay and inconvenience. This ticket was also considerably more expensive and I had an extra hotel bill in Brussels.

 

It was suggested this was a good example of Unfair Trading -  https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-protection-from-unfair-trading-regulations-2008 - as the companies concerned were advertising Train services they knew were never going to run. The trains remained advertised after reporting the discrepancy and eventually the price increased the closer the time got to departure, even after it was reported as a non usable train. It was also discovered the same problem with train #9129 happened on more than 1 occasion.

 

I believe I could satisfy the condition that the unfair practice influenced my decision to make the booking, as I had already by that point spent £200 on a Flight and Hotel for the weekend. Had I known I could not book that train, I would have made other arrangements with the trip or postponed it until January.

 

I contacted Loco2 and their response was in a nutshell "It's not our fault, there is nothing we can do, we can only report the discrepancies"

 

I had drafted an LBC to send to Loco2 citing CPUTR 2008 and my intention to sue. But was advised to hold off, it's in my previous thread here:

 

Thoughts anyone? Thanks : )


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

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Please can you post up your letter of claim here.

Also please can you itemise your losses


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Posted (edited)

Hi BankFodder. Please see below:

 

Quote

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: £392.92
- 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.

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


Expenses:

 

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

 

I did have an explanation of why I wanted to travel back specifically on the day this ticket was available, but I've removed it as I don't think it's necessary any further.

Edited by nuclearshark

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

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It looks okay. Don't forget that this proposed action of yours – which I think is completely justified – is also pretty experimental and you need to be prepared to sacrifice your various fees. It certainly would be very nice to be able to bring a successful action in unfair trading. I can pretty well imagine that it has never happened before. These rights keep on being conferred by consumer legislation – but at the end of the day people get a bit too nervous to try them out.

Good luck


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Ok sent the LBC. It seems I'm the proverbial guinea  pig on this one in this case. Fortunately I am entitled to HWF so my expended costs on this are nil minus time (which I probably have too much of right now) and any potential counter claim. I'll take that chance too. It also saves them being exposed to the same fees I guess too.

 

The bit that annoys me most on this one, is the price for the same train went UP after it was reported. So it seems to me there was a factor here that allowed it to continue. From the other thread, we also know it happened more than once so it plausible it affected someone else.


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

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guinea pig GIF
 

 


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Had this response just now:



Thanks for getting in touch and I'm sorry for all the troubles you went through.

Loco2 is a booking platform, and when you search for a ticket on Loco2, our software queries the rail operator's booking system for prices. Tickets are subject to availability which can change at any time.

As <redacted> explained in her previous email, the issue is that the rail operator's system is showing a train that isn't running. They're responsible for providing the correct timetable, and Loco2 only holds responsibility for placing an order on your behalf.

In this case, I suggest that you file a complaint with Deutsche Bahn directly.

I'm really sorry I couldn't be of more assistance here. If there's something else I can do to help, please let me know.

 

So time to file the claim form? Or should I approach Deutsche Bahn?


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

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Who is the contract with? Personally I think it is up to the booking platform to sort themselves out. They can't you shift the blame onto somebody else.


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Posted (edited)

Loco2 was who I attempted to book the ticket with for travel on . They were also who I booked my actual ticket with for travel on the following day.

 

Their terms and conditions say this - https://loco2.com/en/booking-terms-and-conditions#contract :

Quote

 


5.1 When you purchase a ticket using the service, the contract is for Loco2 to supply a valid ticket from a relevant carrier(s). This responsibility is discharged once the booking confirmation email has been sent, or in the case of postal tickets, the tickets posted by Loco2.

5.2 After purchasing tickets you will have a separate contract with the relevant carrier(s). The terms and conditions of the carrier(s) will apply to your contract with them.
 

 

 

So I'm inclined to reject that response as they should have sorted themselves out as you rightly say.

Edited by nuclearshark
added link

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

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Presumably you pay them and they keep a car in hand the rest to the train company.

I would say that they are in the frame. The claim fees aren't very much so I think it's worth a punt – but it's up to you.


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your contract is with them.

No they dotn run the railway but they made you an offer for a journey and seat that you accepted so they have to show due diligence on their part. if there was no such train they shopuld have known sooner and doen something about it like not accept yur money

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Posted (edited)

So an update on this, seems the CCMCC did issue the claim form but didn't serve it because the address was missing on the form. After reviewing my N1 I didn't understand and it seems that the copy / paste from Companies House made the address a c/o address and CCMCC don't like serving to those. So I wrote an email to them which stated the following:

Quote

 


Dear Sirs,

 

Further to your letter dated <redacted> regarding case <redacted> please serve the claim form on the following address:

 

Brachers, Somerfield House, London Road, Maidstone, Kent, England, ME16 8JH

 

This is the address of the defendants principle place of business as defined by Companies House. A copy of the Companies House record of address is included in this email.

 

I trust this satisfies CPR 16 PD 2.5 and the claim can now be served on the defendants.

 

Please contact me if you need any further information.
 

 

 

This was presented to a Judge who granted the request and the forms were served.

 

I then had correspondence from Loco2 Ltd

Quote

 


We've received your court summons, and will of course comply. Can you please confirm whether or not you pursued a claim with Deutsche Bahn as Daria recommended? As they publish the timetable and collected your payment, you would have needed to submit a claim directly to them. I'm not clear on whether or not you did so.

Many thanks,

 

 

I did not initially respond to this as I was away with my partner at the time and as I don't get to see her often I keep all admin / gaming community matters to emergencies only. This possibly turned out to my advantage as I received this further response the following day:

 

Quote

 


Hi again,

I've just heard back from our head of finance, and we're happy to provide you with the refund you request, £221.16. We would prefer to settle outside of court, in large part because we only received a scan of the court assignment yesterday (it was sent to our corporate office, and they passed the scan on to us only yesterday. We won't receive a hard copy we can fill out until at least tomorrow, when the paperwork is due).

Please let me know if this is acceptable to you, and that you'll withdraw the case. Once I have your confirmation I'll process the refund.

As an aside, I'm still curious if you applied to and heard back from DB. They don't accept claims from us, but I'd like to know on what grounds they would reject this.

I await your reply.
 

 

 

I responded agreeing to settle out of court.

Edited by nuclearshark

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

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Posted (edited)

Wow... made a complete hash of trying to reformat this after accidentally hitting post before I'd finished. Post above can be deleted if needed.

 

Quote


Thank you for your email. I am sorry it has taken me some time to get back to you, I was away for the bank holiday weekend. I am more than happy to settle this matter out of court and once payment is received I will, of course, discontinue the claim.

I did not pursue DB on this as the tickets were booked via yourselves and my understanding of the terms and conditions (mainly clause 5.1) where the contract was with yourselves for the supply of tickets, with DB providing the actual train service. I did consider naming both yourselves and DB as co defendants but on seeking legal advice I was advised that as the tickets were booked via yourselves I should pursue the claim against Loco2 Ltd. The basis for this being you are responsible for your booking engine and should therefore have the capability to exclude trains that don't exist when they are pointed out. I'm sorry if that sounds blunt and rude, it's really not meant to come across this way. But as someone who worked as an IT Manager for several years, I believe it highly unlikely you do not have such a capability in your backend systems.

I also see no reason why DB would not accept a claim from yourselves for inaccurate data, particularly when it causes financial loss. Have you ever tried a test case with them? Any person or business can bring a claim if one wishes to do so. Any condition in a contract that prohibits bringing Court Action would be both unfair and unenforceable in any event. At least this is my understanding.

In regards to payment. If you could make a payment by BACS to the following:

<redacted>
Once payment is received I will notify the courts of settlement of the claim and discontinue the case.

Thank you again for taking the time to investigate this. I hope not to have soured relations but this was a significant amount of money I felt I should not have had to spend. This could have been far worse, imagine if the ticket had been issued and I arrived on the day expecting Eurostar 9129 to be running and found the ticket was defective.

Yours Sincerely,

 

Then things started to become difficult

 


Thanks for getting back to me. Our head office overnighted the papers to us and I was able to submit them on time. We agreed to pay the full amount, so whether we do it here or through the court is up to you.

Deutsche Bahn doesn't accept claims from us; instead, we work to correct the issues they cause. When customers are affected they are required (by DB) to go through DB directly. Your contract is also with them; please see our booking terms and conditions:

Your contract

    When you purchase a ticket using the service, the contract is for Loco2 to supply a valid ticket from a relevant carrier(s). This responsibility is discharged once the booking confirmation email has been sent, or in the case of postal tickets, the tickets posted by Loco2.
    After purchasing tickets you will have a separate contract with the relevant carrier(s). The terms and conditions of the carrier(s) will apply to your contract with them.
    For all matters associated with the actual travel and use of the tickets, your contract is directly with the relevant carrier. Loco2 acts only as an agent or sub-agent and will not be liable for any matters arising from, or connected with, the actual travel or use of the tickets, which do not form part of the contract with Loco2.
    The contract with the relevant carrier(s) includes the following, to which the use of the tickets is expressly subject:
        The relevant carrier's conditions of carriage and any byelaws of the carrier;
        Where travel is with two or more carriers in different countries, the International Convention for the Transportation of Passengers:
            Uniform Rules concerning the Contract of International Carriage of Passengers;
            the Uniform Additional Regulations to the CIV relating to the liability of the railway for death of and personal injury to passengers;
            the conditions of the Standard International Tariffs for the Transport of Passengers and their Luggage.
    All carriers within the EU are subject to EC Regulation No 1371/2007 on Rail Passenger Rights.

 

All that being said, while we would have preferred you'd gone through DB, this gives us an opportunity to push them to resolve these issues. We obviously don't want to be issuing tickets for trains that don't exist! And of course I'm very sorry for your inconvenience; you shouldn't have had this experience at all.

Let me know how you'd like to proceed. If you wish to go outside the courts we'd need proof that the case is withdrawn. However you wish to proceed, we are good for the refund. Let this email suffice as written confirmation. :-)

Kind regards,

 

Obviously I'm not going to withdraw until I receive payment, so I completed N205A requesting Judgment on Admission and including their admission forms they sent to me. I was also mailed a copy of the companies accounts. I'm happy to upload these but I believe they are what is freely available over at Companies House.

 


Thanks for getting back to me and for such a detailed explanation.

I agree this should never have happened and I honestly believe it was an unintentional mistake.

I am not entirely comfortable discontinuing the case before payment is received. So if payment cannot be made before a discontinuance then I think we should continue the court process. The bundle should have included a Form F9A which can be used. If you could complete this and send the Court and Myself a copy I can then submit Form N205A which a District Judge then uses to finalise the order for payment.

HMCTS guide EX309 explains the process

 

Sent off the docs to CCMCC and expect to have the Judgment in the next few days. I'm not sure I fully accept they panicked and considered themselves out of time, because they replied to the claim a day before the forms were considered as Served by CCMCC. I think though, that rather than a discontinuance from my side on payment, to get a judgment may be beneficial to others in the future.

 

I'll update this as soon as I have payment or an update from the courts. I'd call this a win!

Edited by nuclearshark

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

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If you don’t want to discontinue before they pay, and they won’t pay before you discontinue: Just let the claim continue for now.

You can suggest a Tomlin order (“Consent Order”), drafted at their cost, as a later way to resolve that impasse - that may make them see sense.

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After the company received the Judgment they contacted me for Bank Details and made a prompt payment. So the matter is resolved and the case is WON!!

 

I also discovered the Judgment is listed over on the Trust Online website. I think that's slightly better than if I simply discontinued as it may help others facing any future similar issues with such booking websites they can refer to my case.

 

Thanks again all for your help!


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

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Excellent. Well done.

Congratulations on being tenacious with this and getting the right result

 


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