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.
From castles to cottages