Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 11th Jul 13, 6:46 PM
    • 567Posts
    • 198Thanks
    bobwilson
    Complaint to Oyster and TFL
    • #1
    • 11th Jul 13, 6:46 PM
    Complaint to Oyster and TFL 11th Jul 13 at 6:46 PM
    Dear Oyster card / transport for london / whom it may concern,

    I'm writing to complain my experience with your stations and the oyster card system.

    Today, my friend invited me for a coffee in London Bridge. Being that Purley Station is only 20 minutes from London Bridge by train, it was possible to travel and get back in time for my meeting.

    I walked to the station entrance to buy an Oyster card. Such a seemingly simple task was in fact more challenging than one would have hoped. There was a barrier blocking my way, but no service desk to purchase an oyster card. I went to the ticket machine outside the barrier, but it was broken. I went to the last available ticket machine, but they don't sell oyster cards. It would appear the only way to buy an oyster card is to go to the service desk on the other side of the station, however, there is no way to get past the barrier without a ticket. So, I had to buy a random 12.80 ticket from the machine. This was no simple task. The screen could not be seen under direct sunlight, and the machine appeared to freeze up, displaying "Please Wait..." for long periods of time. It would seem I was on my own.

    After some time, skilled eye squinting and guess work, I managed to buy a ticket for 12.80, and used it to go through the barrier to get access to the other side of the station. I walked to the other side, only to be presented with another barrier. The service desk had no direct access from the outside. It would appear you have to buy a ticket in order to get to the ticket-selling desk! An interesting concept.

    After using my ticket to get through the barrier, and queued up at the ticket point. When I reached the front of the queue, I asked how one is supposed to reach the ticket point to buy a ticket. The man didn't seem interested. He asked what I wanted in rather a demanding tone. I requested a refund of my ticket, and to buy an oyster card. After thinking about it for about 10 minutes, he finally agreed to refund my ticket and and gave me my oyster card in return for 5. He refused to top it up and told me I'd have to queue up at another machine to top it up.

    So, I walked to another machine, but it was faulty, and the screen was again illegible in direct sunlight; you would need a huge dark umbrella to have any effect to see the screen this time. I joined a queue for the only other machine. The queue was moving surprisingly slowly. When I finally reached the machine, it was very difficult to see the screen. No wonder the people in front had been taking so long. After some more skilled eye squinting, time and guess work, I managed to top up the oyster card by 15.

    By this point, over 45 minutes had passed since I arrived at the station and I had missed not only one but two of my trains, and it was too late for me to make it on time. So, I cancelled on my friend, and decided I never want to use this blasted system again. I headed back to the service desk to ask for a refund. Again I was greeted with a barrier, just to speak to the staff. The barrier charged me around 4.50 for the pleasure of going through, even though I had not used any transport. Then, there was no one manning the service desk.

    I waited at the service desk for some time, and walked around looking for someone. Eventually, someone appeared and told me in a rather frustrated tone "I TOLD YA WE DON'T HAVE ANYFIN TO DO WIV OYSTA CARDS!". Apparently, having bought it from them, they then rid their hands of it. They don't process refunds, even if it was 5 minutes after the fact. You have to call up an 0843 number on the back of the card to request a refund. He did not know how much an 0843 number costs. The number is of course expensive and not permitted by some mobile phone contracts, such as mine with giff gaff on O2.

    By this point, I had no choice but to walk home with my tail between my legs. By the time I got home, I had spent 20, and lost over an hour and a half of my time.

    In years past, I have called this 0843 oyster number only to be kept on hold for over 30 minutes each time. I ended up paying as much in phone cost as the refund in the first place, not to mention the extra hassle.

    A number of issues are raised here:

    1. Why should customers have to buy a ticket in order to reach the ticket desk? This defeats the purpose. It would be easy to fix this; just place the barriers so that they stop people reaching the platforms, not the ticket desk.

    2. Why is there no way to get from one side of the station to the other without a ticket? This again defeats the purpose of trying to reach the ticket desk. You already have inspectors on trains, but if you want to be more secure, just place the barriers to stop people accessing the platforms, not the walkway between one side and the other.

    3. Why should the barrier charge your oyster card straight after buying it, when you haven't used any trains. Clearly, the time limit needs to be thought out more carefully, and refunds should be easier to process.

    4. Why is it you can buy an oyster card from a service desk but not refund it? This system needs to be re-thought out and upgraded. There is a question mark over how legal this even is to sell someone something and then make them call an 0843 number for a refund. Why is oyster card not more integrated with service desks... they seem to sell them and then rid their hands of any problem. This needs to be sorted.

    5. Machines should be serviced more regularly and always be legible in any weather. Have a sunlight barrier so you can see the screen in all weather, or place them indoors, and upgrade them to offer oyster cards.

    6. There are many times that honest oyster card customers are overcharged, sometimes by the machine not swiping correctly, and the barrier staying open, so when the customer reaches their destination they end up being charged the maximum amount by default. Clearly, it's not fair to make customers call an 0843 number for refunds, especially when they're placed on hold for so long. This should be done at ticket desks. Better yet, just upgrade the barriers to be more clear as to whether the card has swiped or not. A big green or red light and a sound would do the trick.

    7. Why do station staff so often have an attitude problem, and seem to act like they're doing you a favour by serving you. Other times, they are no where to be found. Do they go through customer service training? If not perhaps you should consider this.

    8. Why does Oyster and Transport for London continue denying these issues, and not do anything about them? Just because most Londoners don't have time to complain doesn't mean the issues don't exist. Please listen and take action on this complaint.

    Please take note that although this particular experience was at Purley Station in London on 11th July 2013, it is not a one-off event, and is representative of similar situations at other rail and tube stations, in all zones 1-6 around London. I've spoken to friends who have all speak of similar incidents but have, like myself, not had time to complain.

    I have to date lost around 100 on the oyster card and public transport system in London. I had last year decided not to use public transport again based on years of past experience with issues like this. Today I made an exception, and by doing so lost 20 and over an hour and a half of my time. Yes, there are times when the system works without fault, but if the station and systems were designed properly, the type of events described above should never even happen.

    Do I have time to call an 0843 number and be kept on hold for over 30 minutes paying goodness knows how much? No. But I will make time to end my relationship with London transport once and for all with this complaint, and I know it will cost around 30p.

    I'm happy to send my 20 oyster card in to you and you can do what you wish with it. Shred it, use as a small beer mat, or squash flies with it.

    Yours sincerely,
Page 2
  • geordie_taxi
    ^ There you go again giving rubbish advice.
    The "organ grinder" won't do anything but send it to the right place.
    Originally posted by anotheruser
    u really r a bit dim aint u. the 'organ grinder' ie londontravelwatch wont send it anywhere they r the right people

    they will evaluate the appeal to see if the penalty fare was justified and correctly issued. if they find in favour of the OP then they will tell southern train of their result and the penalty fare will be rescinded by them with no further input/appeal by southern trains

    as to ur post about their complaint been invalid. unless u work for londontravelwatch ur in no place to make that call. so therefore u remark is worthless and should b ignored
    Fares Advisor & Oyster Specialist - Newdeal/ukRail Fares Workshop Accredited
    • anotheruser
    • By anotheruser 12th Aug 13, 5:59 PM
    • 2,820 Posts
    • 1,599 Thanks
    anotheruser
    I work on the railway in an informed position.
    Good luck to the OP if they take your advice.
  • hgotsparkle
    I'm with you on the flawed oyster system. It was great when it first came out but when I visited London last month for 2 days, I spent 25 in loading my oyster card when I was only travelling between zones 1 & 2, yet my OH bought a day travel card for those zones and cost 8.80 per day. How is this helping anyone???
    • Jeff Bridges hair
    • By Jeff Bridges hair 13th Aug 13, 7:25 AM
    • 5,952 Posts
    • 7,233 Thanks
    Jeff Bridges hair
    u really r a bit dim aint u. the 'organ grinder' ie londontravelwatch wont send it anywhere they r the right people

    they will evaluate the appeal to see if the penalty fare was justified and correctly issued. if they find in favour of the OP then they will tell southern train of their result and the penalty fare will be rescinded by them with no further input/appeal by southern trains

    as to ur post about their complaint been invalid. unless u work for londontravelwatch ur in no place to make that call. so therefore u remark is worthless and should b ignored
    Originally posted by geordie_taxi
    Southern Trains do not have to rescind the PF if London Travel Watch tell them they are wrong.

    LTW have no powers to overturn any PF if the appeals services have deemed it correct IIRC.

    What they can do is try and make them arbitrate the PF with facts about any issue.

    Please, dont get peoples hopes up.


    I see you have still not changed your sig,even though its false.
    "If you no longer go for a gap, you are no longer a racing driver" - Ayrton Senna
  • geordie_taxi
    thank u jeff 4 confirming that im correct and that LTW r the right people for the OP to contact and that they can work to assist the OP with his Penalty fare complaint.

    Please, dont get peoples hopes up. .
    Originally posted by Jeff Bridges hair
    i never quoted it was a dead cert. ie that he wud get off. all I did was give him a web address of a higher authority which wud cost the OP the price of a stamp to contact

    I see you have still not changed your sig,even though its false.
    Originally posted by Jeff Bridges hair
    oh jeff weve bn here b4 havent we. MSE have verified my sig as factual and r very happy for me to continue using it. its only ur bitterness and jealousy that is the problem
    Fares Advisor & Oyster Specialist - Newdeal/ukRail Fares Workshop Accredited
    • marky p
    • By marky p 13th Aug 13, 9:58 AM
    • 185 Posts
    • 105 Thanks
    marky p
    Not really concerned about the argument (although to be honest if I'd have received the OPs letter it'd be the kind of thing that would be passed around my office as a joke sent in by a clueless crackpot).

    However, geordie_taxi, if you want to be taken seriously as a 'specialist' in anything you could at least write in proper English.
  • geordie_taxi
    you could at least write in proper English.
    Originally posted by marky p
    Well to be honest, when communicating with jobsworth railway hectors, one has to use the simplest form of the English Language. If I used words with more than one syllable they wouldn't understand them anyway and the last thing I would want to do is start a chain reaction of embolisms by introducing words other than "Penalty Fare" "MG11" "Accredited Person" "BTP" and "Not valid" into their local dialect.
    Fares Advisor & Oyster Specialist - Newdeal/ukRail Fares Workshop Accredited
    • Jeff Bridges hair
    • By Jeff Bridges hair 14th Aug 13, 1:44 AM
    • 5,952 Posts
    • 7,233 Thanks
    Jeff Bridges hair

    oh jeff weve bn here b4 havent we. MSE have verified my sig as factual and r very happy for me to continue using it. its only ur bitterness and jealousy that is the problem
    Originally posted by geordie_taxi
    Remember, we have have been here before and you skulked off the forum for a while because I asked if they had verified your your sig from a ficticious group and the answer was NO.

    07-05-2013, 9:22 PM

    Forum Editorial Liaison
    Fantastically Fervent MoneySaving Super Fan






    Re: Accreditation
    Hi JBH

    We've not asked for nor been given any evidence. We're a huge forum and our note at the top of the forum makes it clear that anyone can say anything on the forum so people should do their own research.

    So I have done research and there is no such group.

    Im not going to go round the houses with it again but its important for other forum users to know that you are making it up and that most times yoru advice is very far from being correct.
    "If you no longer go for a gap, you are no longer a racing driver" - Ayrton Senna
  • geordie_taxi
    Oh Contraire jeff, I've been working off shore hence my absence but I did notice your absence as well, was this down to medical advice?

    Why is it jeff every time I rebuff your false accusations or correct your poor posts, you always default to my signature . I wouldn't mind to much but it derails the thread. Please could you join in the debate instead of been a cry baby.

    I liked your quote, I got one of them too.

    22-04-2013, 1:00 PM

    Forum Editorial Liaison
    Fantastically Fervent MoneySaving Super Fan


    Re: Signature

    Sounds fine to me

    Thanks

    Originally Posted by geordie_taxi
    it was run on a ############# accredited by http://www.#################/ on behalf of #######

    But there is now way I'm going to publish that in my sign as that info would compromise my personnel identity as it would be very easy for people on another forum in the industry to trace me.

    I will just change my signature to 'Newdeal ukrail workshop' if that is acceptable?

    Originally Posted by .

    Hi there

    We've had a report suggesting your signature isn't true. Could you think about changing it if it's not?

    Thanks
    So I have done research and there is no such group.
    Originally posted by Jeff Bridges hair
    Google search 'uk rail' its staring you in the face, it's just that you refuse to believe it.

    Im not going to go round the houses with it again but its important for other forum users to know that you are making it up and that most times yoru advice is very far from being correct.
    Originally posted by Jeff Bridges hair
    I know an idiom about that something about a 'pot and a kettle'
    Fares Advisor & Oyster Specialist - Newdeal/ukRail Fares Workshop Accredited
    • iAMaLONDONER
    • By iAMaLONDONER 17th Apr 14, 4:45 PM
    • 1,620 Posts
    • 386 Thanks
    iAMaLONDONER
    3. Why should the barrier charge your oyster card straight after buying it, when you haven't used any trains. Clearly, the time limit needs to be thought out more carefully, and refunds should be easier to process.
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    To stop fare evasion. There's more...

    4. Why is it you can buy an oyster card from a service desk but not refund it? This system needs to be re-thought out and upgraded. There is a question mark over how legal this even is to sell someone something and then make them call an 0843 number for a refund. Why is oyster card not more integrated with service desks... they seem to sell them and then rid their hands of any problem. This needs to be sorted.
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    Purley isn't a tube/LO station


    6. There are many times that honest oyster card customers are overcharged, sometimes by the machine not swiping correctly, and the barrier staying open, so when the customer reaches their destination they end up being charged the maximum amount by default. Clearly, it's not fair to make customers call an 0843 number for refunds, especially when they're placed on hold for so long. This should be done at ticket desks. Better yet, just upgrade the barriers to be more clear as to whether the card has swiped or not. A big green or red light and a sound would do the trick.
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    It's 0343 222 1234 now!
    I agree with a beep for when the oyster hasn't scanned properly.
    7. Why do station staff so often have an attitude problem, and seem to act like they're doing you a favour by serving you. Other times, they are no where to be found. Do they go through customer service training? If not perhaps you should consider this.
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    Of course they do, however they are heavily unionised...
    8. Why does Oyster and Transport for London continue denying these issues, and not do anything about them? Just because most Londoners don't have time to complain doesn't mean the issues don't exist. Please listen and take action on this complaint.

    Please take note that although this particular experience was at Purley Station in London on 11th July 2013, it is not a one-off event, and is representative of similar situations at other rail and tube stations, in all zones 1-6 around London. I've spoken to friends who have all speak of similar incidents but have, like myself, not had time to complain.
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    Which tube stations?


    I have to date lost around 100 on the oyster card and public transport system in London. I had last year decided not to use public transport again based on years of past experience with issues like this. Today I made an exception, and by doing so lost 20 and over an hour and a half of my time. Yes, there are times when the system works without fault, but if the station and systems were designed properly, the type of events described above should never even happen.

    Do I have time to call an 0843 number and be kept on hold for over 30 minutes paying goodness knows how much? No. But I will make time to end my relationship with London transport once and for all with this complaint, and I know it will cost around 30p.

    I'm happy to send my 20 oyster card in to you and you can do what you wish with it. Shred it, use as a small beer mat, or squash flies with it.

    Yours sincerely,
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    Just go to a tube station with a ticket office that's open and you can get a refund of the oyster deposit and balance
    • photome
    • By photome 17th Apr 14, 5:29 PM
    • 14,348 Posts
    • 9,836 Thanks
    photome
    The Op posted this in july last year, hope he is not still waiting for a reply.

    Why do these old posts get resurrected

    he is still active on MSE
    • Paula Smith
    • By Paula Smith 19th Apr 14, 9:44 PM
    • 107 Posts
    • 132 Thanks
    Paula Smith
    When I first got an Oyster card I went to my local station (not far from Purley) but wanted to top it up before I got on the train.

    The ticket office is on the other side of the track, so I "Oystered in", used the tunnel under the tracks then "Oystered again" to get out by the ticket office. I just happened to notice that that had cost me 6.50 or thereabouts - and the ticket office "don't do Oyster top ups".

    I was not very happy and I may have been less than polite to the station employee to hand (for which I appologise - but I am sure he has had worse).

    Anyway - he told me to report the problem to TFL on line, which I did and I recieved a full refund without any further hassle - but their system should be clever enough to work out that if someone has clocked in and out in less than 2 minutes they can't have been anywhere on a train.

    That was a couple of years ago - maybe the problem has been sorted out - maybe not.
    • iAMaLONDONER
    • By iAMaLONDONER 19th Apr 14, 11:46 PM
    • 1,620 Posts
    • 386 Thanks
    iAMaLONDONER
    When I first got an Oyster card I went to my local station (not far from Purley) but wanted to top it up before I got on the train.

    The ticket office is on the other side of the track, so I "Oystered in", used the tunnel under the tracks then "Oystered again" to get out by the ticket office. I just happened to notice that that had cost me 6.50 or thereabouts - and the ticket office "don't do Oyster top ups".

    I was not very happy and I may have been less than polite to the station employee to hand (for which I appologise - but I am sure he has had worse).

    Anyway - he told me to report the problem to TFL on line, which I did and I recieved a full refund without any further hassle - but their system should be clever enough to work out that if someone has clocked in and out in less than 2 minutes they can't have been anywhere on a train.

    That was a couple of years ago - maybe the problem has been sorted out - maybe not.
    Originally posted by Paula Smith
    That's the point- it's an anti-fare evasion measure. To avoid someone using their oyster to open the barrier to enter the station then touching again the exit barriers but rather than leaving the station, then boarding a train and going to a station that has no barriers at all such as Finchley Central
  • WickedWolfie
    u really r a bit dim aint u. the 'organ grinder' ie londontravelwatch wont send it anywhere they r the right people

    they will evaluate the appeal to see if the penalty fare was justified and correctly issued. if they find in favour of the OP then they will tell southern train of their result and the penalty fare will be rescinded by them with no further input/appeal by southern trains

    as to ur post about their complaint been invalid. unless u work for londontravelwatch ur in no place to make that call. so therefore u remark is worthless and should b ignored
    Originally posted by geordie_taxi
    Londontravelwatch won't even touch an issue until it's been right through the appropriate company complaint scheme!
  • WickedWolfie
    I'm with you on the flawed oyster system. It was great when it first came out but when I visited London last month for 2 days, I spent 25 in loading my oyster card when I was only travelling between zones 1 & 2, yet my OH bought a day travel card for those zones and cost 8.80 per day. How is this helping anyone???
    Originally posted by hgotsparkle
    You may have put 25 on your Oyster but that does not mean you SPENT 25. Your spend will cap (and at less than your OH paid - I assume you mean 8.90 incidentally)! See:

    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/tube-dlr-lo-adult-fares-jan-2014.pdf
  • WickedWolfie
    Remember, we have have been here before and you skulked off the forum for a while because I asked if they had verified your your sig from a ficticious group and the answer was NO.



    So I have done research and there is no such group.

    Im not going to go round the houses with it again but its important for other forum users to know that you are making it up and that most times yoru advice is very far from being correct.
    Originally posted by Jeff Bridges hair
    I think most of geordietaxi's advice is bull! However, to be fair RailUKforums definitely exists (I am active on there!) and it does run ticketing workshops! See:
    http://www.railforums.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=153
  • northlondon
    u really r a bit dim aint u. the 'organ grinder' ie londontravelwatch wont send it anywhere they r the right people

    they will evaluate the appeal to see if the penalty fare was justified and correctly issued. if they find in favour of the OP then they will tell southern train of their result and the penalty fare will be rescinded by them with no further input/appeal by southern trains

    as to ur post about their complaint been invalid. unless u work for londontravelwatch ur in no place to make that call. so therefore u remark is worthless and should b ignored
    Originally posted by geordie_taxi
    Geordie Taxi - You are wrong on this, all TravelWatch will do is pass it onto TfL to reply. So by going to TravelWatch first all you do is delay getting a response. Rather than thinking you're above those who will reply from Customer Services, try dealing with them who are the ones who are actually trained to help.

    Or you could keep on making ridiculously patronising comments about them and see where that gets you!
    • wealdroam
    • By wealdroam 23rd Jul 14, 11:40 AM
    • 18,662 Posts
    • 15,598 Thanks
    wealdroam
    Geordie Taxi - You are wrong on this,

    <snip the rest>
    Originally posted by northlondon
    Northlondon, why are you bothering to comment on a post which is nearly a year old?
    • yorkie2
    • By yorkie2 23rd Jul 14, 12:00 PM
    • 1,409 Posts
    • 543 Thanks
    yorkie2
    Actually most Londoners have called any train service - I.E that which is not the underground as the 'Overland'
    Originally posted by geordieracer
    This is simply not true!
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

277Posts Today

2,099Users online

Martin's Twitter