Edi­tor’s com­ment

Devon Life - - Editor's Comment -

Ihave been us­ing the trains a lot of late and, sadly, on one oc­ca­sion one had no seat reser­va­tions, de­spite me hav­ing booked them, and an­other was can­celled al­to­gether.

Now, this isn’t the some­what fa­mil­iar rant about the fact I paid north of £150 for my tick­ets and the train didn’t show up and “What is hap­pen­ing to our rail­ways?” etc etc. I am go­ing to be kind and say mis­takes hap­pen in big com­pa­nies and there will al­ways be the odd tech­ni­cal glitch which causes such oc­cur­rences.

‘A cheque! Re­mem­ber them? In an era of elec­tronic bank­ing I thought they had been phased out’

No, my big is­sue is with the process for claim­ing com­pen­sa­tion from the rail com­pa­nies who did not pro­vide me with the ser­vice I paid for and thus, un­der their own terms of ref­er­ence, owe me some com­pen­sa­tion.

But do they make it easy to claim the com­pen­sa­tion? No, they don’t. Forms, postage, copies of re­ceipts, vague Freepost ad­dresses some­where near Swin­don which you don’t en­tirely trust…there seem to be a panoply of hur­dles to over­come be­fore you can lodge your claim.

You then wait weeks for a re­sponse and when it does come they ask for fur­ther de­tails – some of which you have al­ready sent – and give you a unique ref­er­ence num­ber which must al­ways be used along­side the claim.

Some weeks later, when you have pro­vided all the nec­es­sary de­tails plus your in­side leg mea­sure­ment, the name of the cap­tain of Raith Rovers in their 1994 cup-win­ning side and which side of the ar­gu­ment you are on vis à vis Mar­mite (I may have made some of this up) a nice, shiny cheque for around twothirds of the amount you were ex­pect­ing ar­rives in the post.

A cheque! Re­mem­ber them? In an era of elec­tronic bank­ing I thought they had been phased out. But no, they now seem the money trans­fer so­lu­tion of choice for aunts who can no longer send you a postal or­der for your birth­day and the train com­pa­nies.

It’s just not good enough, I am afraid. I just bought and paid for an­other rail ticket on my phone (glut­ton for pun­ish­ment that I am) and it took me three min­utes in to­tal. So if the tech­nol­ogy ex­ists for me to send my money to the rail com­pa­nies in this way then we can be darn sure the self-same tech­nol­ogy ex­ists in re­verse. They just don’t want to use it. And that’s not good enough and it’s about time they stopped treat­ing us poor cus­tomers as saps and sorted it out. But I’m not hold­ing my breath!

Un­til next time…and en­joy the mag­a­zine.


Nigel Bishop:

From cas­tles to cot­tages

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