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Complaint handling, refunds and compensation information

Complaint handling, refunds and compensation

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Our process for managing complaints is covered under the "If things go wrong" section of our Passenger Charter. Our complaint procedure can be found here.

Please note that where statistics on this page refer to "2020", this is the period running 5 January 2020 to 9 January 2021.

The number of complaints we received per 100,000 customer journeys for 2020 was 152.0. We dealt with 99.9% of complaints within 20 days. The target is to deal with 95% of complaints within that time.

Measure Result
Number of complaints closed 669
Received complaints 580
Average response times 6.3 working days

Top complaint categories

Complaint category Count of complaints % of 2020 complaints Comments & planned improvements
1. Sufficient room for all passengers to sit/stand 240 29.4% Nearly all complaints in this category came prior to the pandemic and mainly regarded extensive engineering works on weekends, which reduced the number of services which all operators could run. Instances where this occurred have been substantially reduced during the pandemic as passenger levels are much lower. However, to aid distancing on board we have introduced a reservation-only policy and restricted tickets available to buy online for our services to only those which come with a reservation. Please note that this reservation only policy was later removed mid-2021 in line with changing government advice on distancing restrictions. 
2. Punctuality/reliability 115 14.1% Punctuality complaints mainly came towards the beginning of the year, and reduced in line with low passenger levels during the pandemic. Alongside other operators, we were frequently operating at a reduced level of service throughout 2020, meaning that in the event of an unplanned cancellation, customers may have waited longer than usual for an alternative service, alongside having to make reservations on the new service in line with 'reservation only' policies. As restrictions continue
 to relax, Grand Central and other operators have been gradually ramping up to an increased level of service which will help to resolve these issues. Please note that this reservation only policy was later removed mid-2021 in line with changing government advice on distancing restrictions. 
3. Facilities on board 71 8.7% Facilities complaints differed pre and during the pandemic. Prior, they generally regarded provision of First Class - particularly in the event of a large number of passengers meaning we were unable to run our usual trolley service in the First Class carriage. This was mitigated by actions we took to encourage customers to board our quieter services, such as by ensuring cheaper fares were more readily available there. During the pandemic, our catering service was temporarily withdrawn
 in line with the wider industry policy, which drove complaints primarily from customers who had booked tickets on websites other than our own, meaning we had no direct ways of contacting them to advise of the change.
4. Ticket buying facilities - other 64 7.9% Complaints in this category mostly came early in the year prior to the pandemic, and related to websales. In June 2019, we launched our bespoke booking engine and app, and have continually developed and enhanced both since. As a security measure, the booking engine tests if a customer's payment card is legitimate before a purchase goes through. This security check can appear to a customer as though a £1 fee has been taken from their account. This is not the case, and the apparent £1 fee will disappear after a few days, but nonetheless it has led to occasional complaints from customers who believed they had been overcharged. Further development to our booking engine is planned to remove the need for this security check.
5. Personal security on board 51 6.3%

Complaints in this category primarily regarded concerns around overcrowding, and related to the busy Christmas period in 2019, as well as the August Bank Holiday in 2020. As explained previously, to mitigate these issues we subsequently introduced a reservation-only policy to aid distancing between passengers. Please note that this reservation only policy was later removed mid-2021 in line with changing government advice on distancing restrictions. 


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