South Western Railway Season Ticket Refund - Advice Please

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Apols if this is not the right place, I'm looking for the hive minds solid advice. I've been trying to search on this but can't find anything. 
Currently I have begun a dispute via the Railway Ombudsman with SWR about a refund on my annual season ticket (Woking-London Waterloo, cost £3348). At no point have SWR emailed customers about the refund process from the start of lockdown. Naively, I thought it was to be the same as for the strike compensation and we would be asked to click to apply, especially as the government was advising lockdown 2 weeks at a time. It was only when I became aware that it wasn't to be automatic in July I contacted them for a refund. Initially they said that they couldn't refund my ticket at all as I had travelled two days (again, stupidly not aware of the refund process). I asked if they could refund me minus the two days. They said no. I then took this onto the Railway Ombudsman.

SWR have said to the ombudsman that they will refund May to now minus the two days as follows: "To clarify we can backdate the refund 56 days from when it was requested which takes us to 18/05/20. However, to account for the 2 days, I'm going to take it back to 20/05/20. So the refund would be calculated as follows:
£3348.00 (cost of tickets) - £1510.80 (cost of travel) - £10.00 = refund value of £1827.20.
I'll be happy to waive the admin fee as really this could have been dealt with in-house as a gesture of goodwill. Therefore final figure would be £1837.20". 

National Rail's season ticket calculator works it out as follows. 
Ticket start: Dec 2019. Return of ticket 17 March: 
Estimated refund amount: £2501.00
Admin fee: £10.00
Total: £2491.00

I'm a bit mystified as I'm losing money for months I was legally advised not to travel and my card journeys show I didn't travel either so I'm losing a fair chunk of money.
My questions are:
1. Why aren't customers automatically being refunded from March? Why are we having to apply for a refund when we haven't been informed of the process? SWR apparently only updated their website and Twitter... was I supposed to be checking this daily? Is that a reasonable expectation for customers?
2. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the National Rail Charter don't customers have a right to be informed under exceptional circumstances of what the expected service can be? If so, what can I quote to make SWR move to refund the amount from March onwards? 

Thanks in advance if you're able to offer any advice or assistance! 

Comments

  • spenderdave
    spenderdave Posts: 673 Forumite
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    I assume you have read the information at https://www.southwesternrailway.com/contact-and-help/refunds-and-compensation/coronavirus-refund-update
    There are a couple of items in there which may have affected their decision:
    Tickets received for refund from 11 May can be backdated no more than 56 days as long as they have not been used in the 56 day period.
    Refund requests can no longer be backed dated and will apply from the date of application except in cases of certified sickness.
    Obviously I don't know your particular circumstances but it may be a case of that is indeed the best they are prepared to offer. Whether it is worth contesting it is up to you.


  • SadQ
    SadQ Posts: 6 Forumite
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    Thank you, Spenderdave. Appreciate your response. I did read through that and I understand that 56 days is over and above what they would normally offer.

    I guess my issue is that none of this was communicated with customers, and there was an expectation for customers to be checking SWR's website for updates and I wonder if that is a reasonable expectation of communication between the customer and supplier and if anything is laid out as such in the Consumer Rights Act. I feel if they could email about updates on their services and strike compensation, then it was more than possible to email customers about the process for season ticket refunds. If I'd missed it then, it'd be on me for not paying attention.

    Thank you though. I'll keep slogging away. 
  • agerm
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    Hi SadQ, I also have the same issue, I was unaware and surprised that South Western didn't contact me. Did you have any luck with this?
  • SadQ
    SadQ Posts: 6 Forumite
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    Hi Agerm, 
    I replied to your private message. Come back to me if you have any other questions. Hopefully you'll have better luck than I did. 

    SWR (and it seems everyone) thinks it's reasonable to post on their website how you go about getting a refund during exceptional circumstances... But they can send out info about everything else. Interesting. I smell a larger situation brewing once people realise.
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