Pricewatch: Readers’ queries
This week’s consumer problems relate to Irish Rail’s ticketing service and VHI’s phone limbo
Irish Rail has owned up to shortcomings in its online facilities
Irish Rail’s ticketing service not up to speed
Colm booked a train ticket to Waterford last week, but got his days confused and booked a journey for the day before he wanted to travel.
“I rang Irish Rail a week before I was due to travel,” he writes. “When you ring up, you are given two options: to cancel your ticket or to amend your ticket,” he says.
He chose the second option. When he got through, a woman took his details and said she would get someone to ring him back. “Nobody contacted me. I rang up the following Tuesday, and, after ringing out eight times, eventually a woman answered. I told her that I wanted to change my travel date by one day. She took my reservation number and name, and then told me that in order to change my travel date I would have to cancel my original booking and rebook for the Friday. I would be refunded 50 per cent of my travel ticket.”
He asked why he couldn’t simply change the date. She said he had to cancel it. “I asked why I wouldn’t get a full refund; she said I was cancelling within four days of my travel date. I then told her that I had rung the previous Thursday. She went and looked into the booking and told me that the woman on the previous Thursday had in fact cancelled my booking, even though she never mentioned a word to me about cancelling.”
He was then told he would get an 80 per cent refund as the ticket was cancelled more than four days before his travel date.
“I hung up and emailed Irish Rail. I still haven’t got this 80 per cent refund. The whole thing is a joke. There is even a surcharge of €10 for changing the time on the ticket. It is ludicrous.”
We contacted Irish Rail and a spokesman said that it “fully accepts that the inability to amend bookings online is a shortcoming of our online facilities, and we are working to address this through a major project to upgrade a range of systems.” He said the timescales for this are “subject to funding availability”.
He apologised for the poor service our reader received. “It should have been made clear at the time that the ticket was being cancelled, and immediate arrangements should have been made to rebook.”
VHI’s existing customers left hanging on the telephone
Helen from Ranelagh contacted us last week after trying to make contact with VHI, but her issue extends far beyond that company.