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Trainline.com - Incorrect Train Information Complaint

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Public Transport & Cycling
22 replies 1.6K views
hardleyouthhardleyouth Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Public Transport & Cycling
Hi,

I had two tickets booked via TheTrainline.com travelling from Sheffield to London on LNER (Northern rail to Doncaster and LNER from there) on 1st January on an Advance Single tickets. I then received the following e-mail from TheTrainline on the 24th December:
London North Eastern Railway have notified us of a change to the train you're booked on between Sheffield and London Kings Cross on Wednesday 1st January.

Originally, LNER planned to run one of their 9-coach Azuma trains however, due to operational changes, they'll now be running a 5-coach Azuma.

As a result, they've had to cancel your seat reservation(s) however you'll still be able to travel as planned and sit in any unreserved seat. LNER have also advised that you'll be entitled to compensation under their seat guarantee.

It's also worth mentioning that as services will be very busy, LNER have easements in place and your tickets will be valid to travel on any other LNER service for the same journey.

As it said my ticket was valid on ANY later LNER services for the same route on LNER I made plans for the afternoon with my family to allow me to take a later train back to London to avoid the expected congestion caused from cramming 9 carriages of passengers into 5 carriages.

I had a last minute doubt on the 31st December as to whether this easement extended to the first leg of my journey on Northern rail from Sheffield to Doncaster. So I contacted LNER's Twitter team and to my surprise they have stated the information in The Trainline e-mail to be entirely incorrect and \"badly worded\" - they said my ticket would only be valid on the 14:19 service out of Doncaster and no other train. They had reduced the service to 5 carriages but my seat reservation was maintained and no easements were in place.

Having already made plans to go out for a roast dinner with my family due to the information provided in their e-mail, I was then left in a pickle. I contacted a customer support rep via Online Chat but she was unhelpful, stating that the information in the e-mail was just that supplied by LNER to Trainline. However, Surely TheTrainline.com has a responsibility to ensure the accuracy of information provided to its customers, and in this case the information supplied was incorrect and has now left to either cancel my plans with family or booking a last minute and very expensive later train.

Ultimately I cancelled my plans with family and got the train home, but I'm not particularly happy about how they treated the whole situation. My partner lives in New York and it was the one time of year she gets to spend time with my family in Sheffield, initially the alleged easements were a blessing but having made plans we were shot down.

TheTrainline customer service seems pretty appalling, do I stand a chance of anything here? Surely they are responsible for providing accurate information about my journey? If I had trusted their e-mail and not checked for myself, I could have faced a penalty fare or had to buy a new ticket on the train at very high cost.
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  • daveyjpdaveyjp Forumite
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    It has been stated time and time again. Do not use Trainline for buying tickets. Planning yes, buying no.

    It may be convenient when all is well, but when its not they are a nightmare to deal with. They are merely a reseller and bend rules to fit their need to make profit.

    Use train operating company websites, the price will be the same and when things go wrong they do at least operate in a well regulated framework.
  • hardleyouthhardleyouth Forumite
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    daveyjp wrote: »
    It has been stated time and time again. Do not use Trainline for buying tickets. Planning yes, buying no.

    It may be convenient when all is well, but when its not they are a nightmare to deal with. They are merely a reseller and bend rules to fit their need to make profit.

    Use train operating company websites, the price will be the same and when things go wrong they do at least operate in a well regulated framework.

    Ok noted, but do I have any recourse here?
  • daveyjpdaveyjp Forumite
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    No recourse as from what you have said you have suffered no loss. You took the train you were booked on.

    Warn others about Trainline and don't use them again.
  • Voyager2002Voyager2002 Forumite
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    In some ways it is a pity that you had last-minute doubts and contacted LNER. Your email from Trainline was very clear, and had you been caught making use of the "easement" you would have had a very strong defence, with Trainline ultimately being liable for any additional costs.
  • yorkie2yorkie2 Forumite
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    ....
    I had a last minute doubt on the 31st December as to whether this easement extended to the first leg of my journey on Northern rail from Sheffield to Doncaster....
    To be clear, an LNER & Connections ticket from Sheffield to London is valid on any "appropriate" Northern connecting train; as you had written authority to travel on an alternative LNER service, Northern are clearly not in a position to deny you the right to use a different service to the one originally booked.


    The chances of a Northern Guard denying you this right is pretty close to zero; if this happens in future, just show the ticket. The Guard is unlikely to say anything, but if they do, show your authority to travel, and all will be fine in 99.9% of cases as the vast majority of Northern Guards are extremely easy-going about this sort of thing.

    So I contacted LNER's Twitter team and to my surprise they have stated the information in The Trainline e-mail to be entirely incorrect and \"badly worded\" - they said my ticket would only be valid on the 14:19 service out of Doncaster and no other train. They had reduced the service to 5 carriages but my seat reservation was maintained and no easements were in place.
    Ah the LNER twitter team; the fountains of all knowledge... not!

    They are incorrect; and regularly incorrect. I have an account which I use to correct them, which resulted in them blocking me (though I can still correct them; they just can't see the corrections! As long as customers see the corrections, that's what matters).
    Having already made plans to go out for a roast dinner with my family due to the information provided in their e-mail, I was then left in a pickle. I contacted a customer support rep via Online Chat but she was unhelpful, stating that the information in the e-mail was just that supplied by LNER to Trainline. However, Surely TheTrainline.com has a responsibility to ensure the accuracy of information provided to its customers, and in this case the information supplied was incorrect and has now left to either cancel my plans with family or booking a last minute and very expensive later train.

    Ultimately I cancelled my plans with family and got the train home, but I'm not particularly happy about how they treated the whole situation. My partner lives in New York and it was the one time of year she gets to spend time with my family in Sheffield, initially the alleged easements were a blessing but having made plans we were shot down.

    TheTrainline customer service seems pretty appalling, do I stand a chance of anything here? Surely they are responsible for providing accurate information about my journey? If I had trusted their e-mail and not checked for myself, I could have faced a penalty fare or had to buy a new ticket on the train at very high cost.
    As you had received authority to travel, you were entitled to travel in accordance with that authority.


    LNER do not charge Penalty Fares and it would be wrong of LNER to charge any passenger who is complying with written authority to travel.


    If LNER and Trainline are in dispute over this wording, that is an internal railway dispute and is of no concern (other than as perhaps a point of interest) to the customer; it is not the customers' problem.


    If you did not make the journey, you are entitled to a 100% refund without any admin fee being charged - this would be obtained from Trainline, as the retailer.


    If you did make the journey but had to stand because your seat reservation was not honoured, you are entitled to 100% compensation from LNER, as the service provider.


    In future I wouldn't book with either company, as both provide poor customer service. I'd use another provider (ideally one with a seat selector as I like to be able to select my own seat, but that's my personal choice)
  • edited 13 January 2020 at 10:17PM
    ChinoChino Forumite
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    edited 13 January 2020 at 10:17PM
    yorkie2 wrote: »
    as you had written authority to travel on an alternative LNER service, Northern are clearly not in a position to deny you the right to use a different service to the one originally booked.
    The only "authority" that the OP had was from Trainline, not from the train operator. Presumably Trainline, as a mere ticket retailer, is not empowered to unilaterally provide such authorisation to travel on alternative services.

    The moral is to never use a ticket retailer; always purchase tickets directly from the operator.
  • Kiko4564Kiko4564 Forumite
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    You're actually wrong in law if the itinerary gave them an authority to travel on an alternative train, then the passenger has a contractual right to do so. If the conductor kicks them off, or tries to charge them again, etc, then the offending TOC are in the wrong, not the Trainline.
  • NBLondonNBLondon Forumite
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    The "itinerary" gives them an authority to travel? Nope. Trainline relayed information from LNER - who can give the authority to travel on their service. If Trainline got it wrong - the OP has a case against Trainline. If LNER supplied wrong information to Trainline or the LNER twitter team supplied wrong information to the OP's follow-up query = the OP has a case against LNER.

    I don't see anyway that an LNER easement is binding on Northern Rail. If, as yorkie2 says, the ticket is valid on any appropriate Northern service that would mean any service likely to connect within a reasonable time of the planned service at Doncaster. Not necessarily one 2 hours earlier so the OP can break the journey to do some shopping or one 2 hours later. I agree that in most cases it wouldn't be checked or challenged. The easement should have been to give the OP the choice of the 1419 and take the risk of standing or the next train.

    If, as it seems, there was no easement in place and the OP's reserved seat was available so they used it, then the question goes back to whether the Trainline gave wrong information or LNER supplied Trainline with wrong information. Or indeed - whether the easement was cancelled between the information being passed to Trainline.
    Wash your Knobs and Knockers... Keep the Postie safe!
  • Kiko4564Kiko4564 Forumite
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    In which case I'd suggest a complaint to both companies and let them figure it out.
  • yorkie2yorkie2 Forumite
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    Chino wrote: »
    The only "authority" that the OP had was from Trainline, not from the train operator. Presumably Trainline, as a mere ticket retailer, is not empowered to unilaterally provide such authorisation to travel on alternative services.

    The moral is to never use a ticket retailer; always purchase tickets directly from the operator.
    Are you suggesting that a passenger travelling from Sheffield to London via Doncaster should purchase a Sheffield to Doncaster ticket from Northern, and a Doncaster to London ticket from LNER?



    This is nonsense.
    NBLondon wrote: »
    The "itinerary" gives them an authority to travel? Nope. Trainline relayed information from LNER - who can give the authority to travel on their service. If Trainline got it wrong - the OP has a case against Trainline. If LNER supplied wrong information to Trainline or the LNER twitter team supplied wrong information to the OP's follow-up query = the OP has a case against LNER.

    I don't see anyway that an LNER easement is binding on Northern Rail. If, as yorkie2 says, the ticket is valid on any appropriate Northern service that would mean any service likely to connect within a reasonable time of the planned service at Doncaster. Not necessarily one 2 hours earlier so the OP can break the journey to do some shopping or one 2 hours later. I agree that in most cases it wouldn't be checked or challenged. The easement should have been to give the OP the choice of the 1419 and take the risk of standing or the next train.

    If, as it seems, there was no easement in place and the OP's reserved seat was available so they used it, then the question goes back to whether the Trainline gave wrong information or LNER supplied Trainline with wrong information. Or indeed - whether the easement was cancelled between the information being passed to Trainline.
    An itinerary and any further instructions issued in conjunction with the ticket, are all evidence of the contractual terms applicable to the fare held.


    I have no idea why you are bringing a suggestion of a break of journey to go shopping into this discussion; it's irrelevant and unwarranted.



    My recommendation, to avoid erroneous 'advice' posted on this forum, is to ask for advice on a dedicated rail fare advice & policy forum, where there are knowledgeable experts on hand to give correct and informed answers.
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