Thursday, January 15, 2015

@greateranglia find another way to shred their reputation...

I am a fairly patient soul as a rule, and a tolerant one much of the time. So tolerant, in fact, that I tend not to seek compensation when Greater Anglia fail to convey me to my destination in a timely manner if the problem has been caused by an infrastructure problem (I know, I really should, but it's such a hassle...). However, last month, after I turned up at Liverpool Street, bought a ticket and then discovered that they had cancelled the next train to Stowmarket due to a train fault, I collected a 'Delay Repay' form, completed it, inserted the ticket and sealed the form so that it formed an envelope - that's what the instructions say - and posted it to Norwich for my refund.

Abellio Greater Anglia promise a response within ten working days, and so I wasn't surprised when it took longer than that. However, I received an e-mail confirming receipt of my application, and waited for the formal letter with the Rail Travel Voucher that would follow.

Yesterday, I received a letter from them, asking for the original ticket. "Funny,", I thought, "I know I made sure that it was enclosed.", so I picked up the phone and rang the Customer Services Helpline. On getting through, I explained to the operative (I won't name her, she'll probably get into trouble if I do) that I had indeed enclosed the ticket with my application.

It transpired that this happens quite often, as the gum holding the form closed isn't very good, and tickets fall out in transit, a problem that Abellio Greater Anglia know all about and haven't done anything to solve. It was suggested that, in future, I should staple the ticket to the form but, on this occasion, my application would be processed as though the ticket had reached them which was, I suppose, kind of her.

It isn't the first time that this has happened to me, but on the other occasion, I assumed that it was my fault. I won't in future... And, due to the cynicism of their management, I am far more likely to claim compensation in future, regardless of the cause of the delay.

In the past, I have been quite sympathetic towards Abellio Greater Anglia, given the shortness of the franchise, the almost total unreliability of the infrastructure and the age of the rolling stock. And, whilst in some respects they are much better than National Express ever were, it seems that their managers are equally willing to 'nickel and dime' the travelling public. I fear that this will come with a price...

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