Millennial railcard: Customers charged more than price of discount pass while on hold to National Rail

Calls cost more than the price of a 26-30 railcard

The new 26-30 year old railcards to be available next week

Young people eager to get their hands on the 26-30 railcard were shocked to discover they’d been charged up to £70 while on hold to National Rail.

The millennial railcard launched nationwide on 13 March, but with only 10,000 available, competition was fierce. Huge demand saw the 26-30railcard.co.uk website crash throughout the day and made buying the railcard almost impossible.

Many frustrated customers turned to the phone instead, the only other medium through which to purchase the £30 railcard, which offers a third off off-peak train travel.

Demand was high here too, and waits of over an hour to get through to an operator not uncommon.

However, having been put on hold for more than 60 minutes and in many cases failing to get to speak to a member of the National Rail team, more than one person was outraged to find they’d been charged a substantial amount for the privilege – in some cases more than the cost of the railcard itself.

Sarah's charges came to nearly £40

One such customer was junior doctor Sarah Clifford, who was charged £39.67 for her call.

“I was on hold for one hour and three minutes before I gave up,” she told The Independent. “I managed to get one online later thankfully, but the £30 cost of the card plus £40 for a call makes it far too expensive!

“Shocked – National Railcards is supposed to help us financially, not unknowingly rinse us!”

Gina Richards from Bath was particularly unlucky, failing to get her hands on a railcard despite racking up £68.95 in phone charges trying to get through.

She told The Independent: “Gutted as I didn’t get one and it could have saved me over £80 a month to get to work.” Richards tweeted National Railcards: “Please can you reimburse £70 as I wasn’t able to get a railcard?” At the time of writing she had yet to receive a response.

Meanwhile photographer Sam Gillespie got in touch with The Independent to share his railcard woes.

“I've been charged £31.34 just for being on hold for more than 60 minutes, only to be told in 30 seconds that they couldn't sell any railcards and to try online. I was very lucky to get one online later but still think it’s cheeky to charge more than the price of the railcard just to be on hold.”

Sam eventually got through only to be told to go to the website

He added: “How many millennials have essentially paid the price of a railcard (or more) without getting one?”

The number given to reach the 26-30 railcard team on Tuesday started with 0844 – this means calls can cost up to 55p a minute from a mobile.

The Independent’s own quest to buy a railcard on 13 March was eventually fruitful, but involved continuously refreshing the website over a period of nearly 12 hours. A phone call did result in speaking to a member of the National Rail team after an hour and 13 minutes on hold, but the employee was unable to put the order through and advised going back to the website.

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, apologised for the difficulty customers experienced when trying to buy a 26-30 railcard, putting it down to “the exceptionally high volume of traffic on the 26-30 Railcard website.”

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