Change & No-Go at National Express with Flexible Ticket Refunds | consumer affairs


I was very interested to read last month’s letter about National Express refusing a full refund for a ‘flexible’ ticket. I have a similar problem. When I bought a ticket from Heathrow to Southampton I paid an extra £5 for the Change & Go option, which promises “complete flexibility” if you miss your departure.

I missed my departure, but when I tried to transfer my ticket to the next available coach, the agent insisted that Change & Go was only valid for changes made to bookings before departure. I had to buy another ticket and was charged £10 more than if I had bought on the app.

M., Southampton

National Express seems to take an imaginative approach to terms and conditions. Last month he told a customer who needed to cancel a ‘fully flexible’ ticket that the £144 surcharge he had paid for extra baggage was non-refundable.

The ticket conditions made no mention of the exemption, but it was only after I pointed it out that the company backtracked and agreed to refund any additional baggage charges in the future.

The fine print in your case is also unambiguous. A Change & Go allows travelers to switch to a later departure free of charge if they miss their coach. However, you were only refunded and offered a voucher for a free ride after confronting National Express again. It says: ‘The passenger should have been cleared to travel and was advised incorrectly. We apologized and provided a full refund. We have also sent a reminder to Heathrow staff about the Change & Go terms.”

Meanwhile …

KF of London was encouraged to read National Express’ commitment last month that extra baggage charges will now be included in flexible ticket refunds. She had paid £32 in baggage fees, but when she had to cancel her trip and request a refund online, the website said the fees were non-refundable. “I referred customer service to your article and was promptly reimbursed for baggage fees,” she wrote. “National Express seems to be banking on customers not being aware of their new policy.”

National Express told me that it has updated its terms and conditions and sales information to reflect that additional baggage charges are included in flexible ticket refunds. “Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to request the refund online, so customers should contact our contact center to request it,” it says. “Our system is currently being updated to allow online refunds and once testing is complete we expect this to be in place by August.”

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