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Buying a railcard online - have you been caught by £10 admin fee?

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My wife and I needed to renew our Two Together Railcard last month (the old one expired on 23 July).

We prefer the plastic railcard issued online and delivered by post to both the digital railcard and paper railcard options.

I renewed in late June (when I received the one month reminder) as I knew I'd be busy with other things in late July. 

Knowing how slow the post can be at the best of times I didn't rush to complain when it didn't show up. 

However, the railcard never arrived. I went away for a week on 23 July hoping the card would be on the doormat when I got back.

It wasn't, so last week I chased it up. But was told because more than 30 days had elapsed since the card was dispatched, there would be a £10 admin fee (a third of the price of the railcard) for reissuing.

As it was only about 10 days from the expiry of the old railcard I thought this was a bit unfair.

I can see the need for a deterrent for people falsely claiming non-delivery and receiving a stream of duplicates, but I wondered if others had run in to the same issue.
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  • MilesT6060842
    MilesT6060842 Posts: 216 Forumite
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    edited 10 August 2023 at 1:13PM
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    Worth noting that there are deep discounts on railcards available (from time to time) if you take a digital one via trainline.  Keep eyes open, especially for the 3-year family railcard. 

    Tesco clubcard also allows purchase of railcards using clubcard points (a sort of discount)

    Also, there seems to be a way to "import" a railcard purchased elsewhere into a railcard account.  Haven't tried it yet, I think it is intended for railcards bought at stations but may work for digital ones bought on trainline.  After which maybe you could pay £10 to get a plastic card issued for a card that was originally digital (and that's reasonable value for the 3 year family card)
  • frugalmacdugal
    frugalmacdugal Posts: 10,077 Forumite
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    Hi,
    if you get Tesco vouchers you can use them for railcard purchase. CLICK.
  • MSE_James
    MSE_James Posts: 1,272 Community Admin
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    edited 10 August 2023 at 12:52PM
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    Yes, I used Clubcard vouchers to cover most of the cost of my renewal, having carefully maximised my points over many months... after all, I work at MSE... 

    And no, railcards bought on Trainline, Trip.com etc can't be used in the official Railcard app.

    My query is specifically as to whether other people who have ordered plastic railcards online and not had them arrive have been stung for the £10 admin fee because they haven't complained quickly enough
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  • MilesT6060842
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    MSE_James said:
    ...

    And no, railcards bought on Trainline, Trip.com etc can't be used in the official Railcard app.

    ...
    Even if you go through the "import" process on the website? (where you type in the serial number of the card, I presume).

    I can understand that you couldn't use Trainline etc. issued cards on Railcard app etc. "out of the gate" as the Railcard backend presumably doesn't know about them (also the case for railcards bought over the counter at a staffed ticket office). 
  • katejo
    katejo Posts: 3,952 Forumite
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    Worth noting that there are deep discounts on railcards available (from time to time) if you take a digital one via trainline.  Keep eyes open, especially for the 3-year family railcard. 

    Tesco clubcard also allows purchase of railcards using clubcard points (a sort of discount)

    Also, there seems to be a way to "import" a railcard purchased elsewhere into a railcard account.  Haven't tried it yet, I think it is intended for railcards bought at stations but may work for digital ones bought on trainline.  After which maybe you could pay £10 to get a plastic card issued for a card that was originally digital (and that's reasonable value for the 3 year family card)
    I have a physical senior citizen railcard. I don't want a digital one at all because of the risk of being unable to prove my card if the battery on my phone went flat or the phone got stolen at the last minute. Just the other day I was leaving my local station when someone approached the ticket barrier and said that they had tickets but their battery was flat. I didn't hear the reply they got. 
  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,236 Forumite
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    So have they said they sent out the card in the first place?  If so, where's it got to? I get it could have been delivered to an incorrect address who have binned it or kept it (though doesn't it have your photos on so unlikely to be of use?) If they say they sent it out and you just haven't received it, I can see why they're taking the stance that this is a £10 replacement cost.
  • MSE_James
    MSE_James Posts: 1,272 Community Admin
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    Spendless - yes they said it was dispatched, but it never reached me.

    I guess it's a safeguard against someone receiving a card, losing it then claiming it was never delivered.

    Still not very customer-friendly
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  • katejo
    katejo Posts: 3,952 Forumite
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    Spendless said:
    So have they said they sent out the card in the first place?  If so, where's it got to? I get it could have been delivered to an incorrect address who have binned it or kept it (though doesn't it have your photos on so unlikely to be of use?) If they say they sent it out and you just haven't received it, I can see why they're taking the stance that this is a £10 replacement cost.
    My physical senior citizen card doesn't have a photo on it, only my name. Someone told me that only the online version has a photo. 
  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,236 Forumite
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    MSE_James said:
    Spendless - yes they said it was dispatched, but it never reached me.

    I guess it's a safeguard against someone receiving a card, losing it then claiming it was never delivered.

    Still not very customer-friendly
    I *think* just from my days on a forum about LA letters that you can request a SAR for evidence that  a letter was sent, don't know if that applies to private companies though or just public sectors. You'd also need to decide whether it was worth the energy and cost of asking - might be worth an email.   
  • KeithP
    KeithP Posts: 38,611 Forumite
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    Spendless said:
    MSE_James said:
    Spendless - yes they said it was dispatched, but it never reached me.

    I guess it's a safeguard against someone receiving a card, losing it then claiming it was never delivered.

    Still not very customer-friendly
    I *think* just from my days on a forum about LA letters that you can request a SAR for evidence that  a letter was sent, don't know if that applies to private companies though or just public sectors. You'd also need to decide whether it was worth the energy and cost of asking - might be worth an email.   
    A SAR - Subject Access Request - can be sent to any business. 
    In this particular circumstance expect a response of "we don't keep that information".
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