Questions Of Cash: On track for a refund at First Great Western


Q. I bought eight rail tickets from the First Great Western ticket office at Stroud station in March to be used for a holiday with friends a month later. I didn't notice at the time that the clerk only gave me six tickets – I was on my way to a funeral and was upset. I contacted First Great Western about this when I realised and it told me to buy the extra two tickets and it would make a refund. But when I made the claim it would not refund these extra two tickets, because these had been used and it says it can only refund unused tickets. The cost of the two replacement tickets was £106.60, because it was now too late to purchase advance tickets. Instead, First Great Western has sent me £43 of vouchers for the unused tickets. PK, Gloucestershire.



First Great Western says it was unaware previously of your state of distress when you originally purchased your tickets. It has therefore sent you a cheque for the full £106.60, while also allowing you to keep and use the £43 of vouchers. However, it stresses that it is the responsibility of customers to check that they have the correct tickets at time of purchase.



Q. In May, I attempted to book rail tickets on thetrainline.com. The website malfunctioned and I had to retry. I received a confirmation e-mail the second time. A few days later two sets of tickets arrived and my credit card records showed that I had been charged twice, causing me to overpay by £53.50. When I phoned up I was promised a refund for the duplicate tickets within three weeks. In June I received a refund of £12.00 leaving £41.50 outstanding. I have e-mailed and phoned thetrainline.com on several occasions since, but I have been unable to obtain the balance. JH, by email.



Thetrainline.com apologises and accepts that it failed to send you the balance of the promised refund. It has now paid the balance of £41.50 into your credit card account and is sending you a further £20 as a gesture of goodwill.



Q. My Co-operative Bank Visa card was stolen recently. I told the bank, which cancelled the card and issued a replacement. But I did not receive a closing statement. A month later I received the first statement for the new card, but the transferred balanced was not itemised. This caused me to unintentionally run-up a bank overdraft and I have been unable to reconcile my finances. The person I spoke to at the bank said I was not the first to complain about this. PG, Woking.



A spokesman for Co-operative Financial Services says the cause is what he describes as "a system constraint". Where a card is cancelled and replaced just before a statement is due to be sent to a customer, the CFS's systems do not enable it to transfer detailed transaction information on to the new statement. Instead, just the outstanding balance from the old account is shown. The full transaction information can be accessed on the Co-operative Bank's website and CFS says that its staff will usually discuss with a customer which recent legitimate transactions were conducted before a theft or loss. CFS plans to upgrade its IT systems and this should enable fully itemised accounts to be sent out.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. Please do not send original documents. Write to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; cash@independent.co.uk.

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