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Don't lose your Oyster card

edited August 2011 in Not Sports Related

Just got back a letter that's put me in a pretty crap mood. I lost my Oyster card on the DLR a couple of weeks ago (that had a monthly zone 1-3 travelcard on). I only realised I lost it because a DLR guy stopped me and so issued a £25 penalty fare. I'd swiped in at Bank, but it must have fallen out my pocket (or potentially been nicked, but doubtful) somewhere. So anyway, I figured I'd be able to appeal so wasn't too annoyed. I had to buy a new travelcard for a week until Oyster could send me a new one with my monthly travelcard on it (which was registered), turns out they won't pay for my travel for the time it takes them to send me my card so that's £32.50 odd that I had to pay for losing my card (plus the £5 deposit for the temporary Oyster card). I've just got a letter now saying that although I technically bought two travelcards that cover the journey that I made on the DLR (which I have statements for), because I couldn't provide a valid ticket on the actual train my appeal was declined, so I'm going to have to pay the £25 penalty fare. That's basically nearly a £60 fine for losing my Oyster card. I thought the whole idea of registering was so that I wouldn't be screwed over like this if I lost it.

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Comments

  • Can you appeal the decision on your original appeal? Even if you end up having to pay, make them work for it by taking it as far as you can go.
  • They don't like giving money back.

    Last year I was getting the DLR to City Airport. Got delayed by about 40mins at Woolwich Arsenal due to problems on the line. Was in danger of missing my plane, so when I got to City Airport I had to run for it. As there are no ticket barriers there I ran straight out station forgetting to swipe card. When I flew back later that day they nearly cleaned my card out when I swiped it going back into station. Woman at counter said I had to fill forms out and send off to get reimbursed. Months later I got a Postal Order for 35p from them
  • Don't let that one go mate. I successfully appealed to South Eastern Trains over a penalty fare they issued me with a couple of years ago, and I had far less justification than you do for not having a valid ticket. Write to them again and copy in the Department For Transport and the Evening Standard. Make it clear that you won't let the matter rest until you have been reimbursed appropriately.

    They don't like bad publicity, they don't like people involving the organisation that governs them (the DFT), and most of all they don't like the extra work that comes with having reply to letter after letter from the same disgruntled customer.

    I work in aviation regulation and can tell you from experience that it is a slightly unfair fact of life that those who shout loudest tend to get a lot more than those who don't.

  • Oyster cards are a massive con. They'll have to prise my travelcard out of my cold dead fingers.
  • Cheers for response. I don't think I technically have the right to appeal again, I'd have to check the letter. I need to pay within 10 days now or it goes up to 50 quid, so might have to pay and then keep complaining. Certainly not gonna let it rest. I'm also waiting to hear back from oyster themselves as I'm trying to get the weekly travelcard back- who knows I might eventually get it all back. Shouldn't be the way that you have to spend time and effort fighting to get the money back - I'm sure people lose their cards like I did all the time.
  • Theiving bastardos all rail companies. They say they will refund you if there services are late. Thing is if there going to be late, all they do is cancel there service so they don't have to pay out. This doesnt affect there targets when putting prices up neither
  • Oyster cards are a massive con.
    In what sense?
  • Personally, I think its London trains which are the con.
  • Oyster cards are a massive con.
    In what sense?
    I have been travelling up town lots recently but sporadically so have been topping up my oyster card £20 at a time. I thought that when you got an oyster card you would never pay more than a daily travelcard, even if you got endless amounts of trains, tubes, buses in one day. 

    One day I headed up town from the same station in zone 3 to charing cross and it cost, £2.20. Another day it cost £2.00. Another day it was £2.40. I can't remember the specifics of the times i travelled up but lets just assume there are differences due to peak times (although still not clear). However, to get home one time it cost £4.40 from charing cross to Lee at about 5pm ish. I was appalled. 

    the next day I travelled up to london again and when i got to the barrier it said i didn't have enough money so headed to the ticket information booth at charing cross where a nice man said that I had run out of credit. As I had put money on it the day before I was shocked I had used the credit already as I thought it would never have cost me more than the price of a day travel card - about £8ish? and he said that the rule is true for buses and tubes but he said that that the train will keep on taking. Which means, if you had to travel up to town in the morning, and head home, then head up again in the afternoon you would be charged 4 times. now I understand you have to pay for your journeys but I really dont think that is clear! He did however see from the recent updates on my card that i'd updated it almost every day for the past 5 months due to the amount of journeys i'd been doing and he let me through the barrier to update it on the other side and said that he wouldn't charge me the penalty of £20. 

    So therefore, I do believe that the oyster card is a good idea, but definitely has flaws and misleading information!

  • you can appeal upto 3 times.
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  • Didn't know that about the train Suzi... good info, I was wondering why mine totally drained Saturday and there's your answer
  • The system is confusing; people are regularly overcharged (eight million journeys a month, according to the passenger watchdog responsible for looking out for London's commuters); the procedure for getting refunds is tiresome, long and not worth peoples' time and effort to pursue; it's another way of Big Brother keeping track of your movements (and we all know how responsible and secure the gorvernment is with our data); card readers are regularly broken; staff behind the counter hate them because they create more confusion and hassle than any perceived benefits; if you make a mistake like going through a barrier to get a train only to find that the train is leaving from a different platform, you get charged for a 'journey' when you leave through the same barrier - the list is endless.

    The Oyster Card was brought in for no reason other than to protect TFL revenue.
  • This is exactly why I've never registered my oyster card, doing so seems pointless, not doing so means they don't have my every movement tracked, which is my biggest gripe with the oyster card system.
  • The system is confusing; people are regularly overcharged (eight million journeys a month, according to the passenger watchdog responsible for looking out for London's commuters); the procedure for getting refunds is tiresome, long and not worth peoples' time and effort to pursue; it's another way of Big Brother keeping track of your movements (and we all know how responsible and secure the gorvernment is with our data); card readers are regularly broken; staff behind the counter hate them because they create more confusion and hassle than any perceived benefits; if you make a mistake like going through a barrier to get a train only to find that the train is leaving from a different platform, you get charged for a 'journey' when you leave through the same barrier - the list is endless.

    The Oyster Card was brought in for no reason other than to protect TFL revenue.
    That's the exact reason I bought a travelcard so that I wouldn't have the problem of needing to touch in and out everywhere, and doing it in the correct order etc. - lot of hassle (I had once walked halfway home before I realised I hadn't tapped out and had to walk back to the station to do it)
  • I believe that there is a evening rush hour (peak time) on an oyster card.
  • I must say, when I was working and I bought my monthly travelcard on my oyster, i found the system very easy to use, and when I start my new job, i will do the same and buy a travelcard on my oyster card. I just feel sorry for those that don't go to london every day, but need to go reasonably regularly that are penalised for it, and also tourists when in london for the weekend with the expense of it all. 

    don't care if people know where i am and when as i have nothing to hide and can only think of a positive that i may be safer for them possibly knowing where i am, although definitely not foolproof as with a travelcard, you don't have to tap out at some stations, so i could actually be anywhere for quite a lot of the time. 
  • The Oyster Card was brought in for many reasons, one being to allow TfL the ability to track the use of their services, it's also supposed to be easier to use than passing a ticket through an electro-mechanical machine - I don't see how it "protects their revenue".
  • I believe that there is a evening rush hour (peak time) on an oyster card.
    Yep. And now that they've managed to con the majority of people into buying them, they'll introduce it for travelcards as well - guaranteed.
  • The Oyster Card was brought in for many reasons, one being to allow TfL the ability to track the use of their services, it's also supposed to be easier to use than passing a ticket through an electro-mechanical machine - I don't see how it "protects their revenue".
    Really? It's clearly designed to stop fare dodging - nothing else. If everyone's on Oyster, the only fare evasion you have to protect against is people jumping over barriers (which you'll never be able to completely stop anyway). If they charge you full single fare if you don't touch out/in, and make it as difficult as possible for you to claim anything back in the event of a genuine error, they have eliminated the need for teams of ticket inspectors at stations, and 'protected' their revenue by making it more hassle than it's worth to claim refunds when you;re overcharged.

    It's a dirty great con, but like everything else, getting ripped off has just been meekly accepted as the de facto standard by commuters and the London public in general.
  • In answer to Leroy:

    I worked for TfL a while back and at that time they had a big problem with people fraudulently claiming refunds for overcharging - this may go some way to explaining why they've made it more difficult.

    As an upstanding citizen, I applaud the fact that Oyster stops (or at least reduces) fare dodging.

    Of course a benefit of Oyster is that TfL can reduce their staffing levels - sadly, that's the way of the world - every organisation, particularly government ones are looking to reduce costs.

    It's also quicker to get through the barriers at tube stations with an Oyster - a big consideration in light of the volumes expected during the Olympics.
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  • In answer to Leroy:

    I worked for TfL a while back and at that time they had a big problem with people fraudulently claiming refunds for overcharging - this may go some way to explaining why they've made it more difficult.

    As an upstanding citizen, I applaud the fact that Oyster stops (or at least reduces) fare dodging.

    Of course a benefit of Oyster is that TfL can reduce their staffing levels - sadly, that's the way of the world - every organisation, particularly government ones are looking to reduce costs.

    It's also quicker to get through the barriers at tube stations with an Oyster - a big consideration in light of the volumes expected during the Olympics.
    It's never been easy to claim a refund - not since the scheme was first put in place. That argument would hold water if they had suddenly tightened the procedure up, but it's always been an absolute nightmare to try and convince them that it's their system at fault. Like I said, they deliberately make it as difficult as possible to claim a refund because they know full well that most people just won't bother with the hassle.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not just digging out Oyster here. The wholesale acceptance of a scheme that is quite clearly designed to benefit the government and the company running it is part of a wider malaise. No-one does anything about anything any more. We just meekly accept being absolutely mullered from all sides. It's not going to change any time soon either - but, where there is an alternative to being bent over and shafted, I'll always take it.

    I give the travelcard three years before TFL withdraw it completely and make people use Oyster. Until then, I'll never use one.
  • They won't be dropping the travel card any time soon as it would require all the surrounding train companies to install Oyster across their networks, an expense they simply aren't going to want to make.

    For example, I can get a ticket at Gravesend for HS1 to St Pancras, including a zone 1 travel card. If the travel card was dropped then they would either need to replace all tickets on South Eastern with Oyster, and why would any train company want to involve a third party in their ticketing, or they would have to sell me my train ticket, plus an unregistered oyster card, takes more time, requires more effort and again, where is the financial incentive for them to do so?

    If TFL try to do away with travelcards then all the rail companies will be up in arms about it as it will make their ticketing far more complicated and expensive.
  • Cheers for response. I don't think I technically have the right to appeal again, I'd have to check the letter. I need to pay within 10 days now or it goes up to 50 quid, so might have to pay and then keep complaining. Certainly not gonna let it rest. I'm also waiting to hear back from oyster themselves as I'm trying to get the weekly travelcard back- who knows I might eventually get it all back. Shouldn't be the way that you have to spend time and effort fighting to get the money back - I'm sure people lose their cards like I did all the time.


    Don't pay!

    Write a letter back to them, saying you dispute the charge and do not consider their response fair.

    Then contact Consumer Direct (Government consumer advice bureau) and tell them you are in dispute - they will register your complaint, and advise you accordingly, eg contacting the Ombudsman. These companies hate complaints made to the Ombudsman,; for one thing, they get charged an administrative payment by them!


    Back in the late 70s/80s I used to deal with written complaints to the Area Manager/Divisional Manager on the Southern Region, British Rail.
    Your complaint is no doubt being dealt with by lowly office staff, rather than senior management.

    Plenty of scope for you to persist with your complaint and win your appeal.

    Good luck!


  • Oyster cards are a massive con.
    In what sense?
    I have been travelling up town lots recently but sporadically so have been topping up my oyster card £20 at a time. I thought that when you got an oyster card you would never pay more than a daily travelcard, even if you got endless amounts of trains, tubes, buses in one day. 

    One day I headed up town from the same station in zone 3 to charing cross and it cost, £2.20. Another day it cost £2.00. Another day it was £2.40. I can't remember the specifics of the times i travelled up but lets just assume there are differences due to peak times (although still not clear). However, to get home one time it cost £4.40 from charing cross to Lee at about 5pm ish. I was appalled. 

    the next day I travelled up to london again and when i got to the barrier it said i didn't have enough money so headed to the ticket information booth at charing cross where a nice man said that I had run out of credit. As I had put money on it the day before I was shocked I had used the credit already as I thought it would never have cost me more than the price of a day travel card - about £8ish? and he said that the rule is true for buses and tubes but he said that that the train will keep on taking. Which means, if you had to travel up to town in the morning, and head home, then head up again in the afternoon you would be charged 4 times. now I understand you have to pay for your journeys but I really dont think that is clear! He did however see from the recent updates on my card that i'd updated it almost every day for the past 5 months due to the amount of journeys i'd been doing and he let me through the barrier to update it on the other side and said that he wouldn't charge me the penalty of £20. 

    So therefore, I do believe that the oyster card is a good idea, but definitely has flaws and misleading information!

    I had no idea there was a system in place whereby if you spent over the price of the travelcard you wouldn't have to pay anymore. I always just assumed it would keep on charging, but at a rate lower than if you went and bought single tickets from the counter. Shows what I know!

    I just have a yearly travelcard on my Oyster card. How often do these so called 'genuine errors' actually occur where people need to ask for a refund? Are there really many stations where none of the card readers work? I've never encountered one.
  • Thanks for the advice Oggy, and the others on here. I'll keep you updated if I get a response.
  • Just write to Boris.
  • edited August 2011
    If you're within London, drop a London Assembly member a line - Len Duvall for Greenwich and Lewisham, James Cleverly for Bexley and Bromley, or write to one of the ones which are London-wide members.  Caroline Pidgeon is the chair of its transport committee and wields some clout. Dropping a line to the mayor's office ([email protected]) can't do any harm either. 

    Whether you're in London or not, London Travelwatch has found some teeth lately and is also worth contacting.

    On the whole, Oyster is a good thing, but some of the administration of it is really bad and the fare structure's been allowed to become too complicated; particularly when it comes to using it on mainline rail.
  • edited August 2011

    Definitel appeal GN. Doesn't seem legal on the surface of it what they are doing, so it probably isn't.

    Couple of points, unrelated;
    1. Oyster should cap at the cost of a day travelcard. Mine does to and from Forest Hill (zone3), whether i use Southern trains or the ELL ('Overground/ underground), and this should be same for all including Lee.

    2. I have always got refunds when due to me by calling the number on the back. You have to call the next day, explain the situation and they will refund to your Oyster the next time you check in at your nominated station. It's people not knowing about this or not bothering that helps TFL to massive overcharges.
  • And don't let your son lose his zip card.  £10 a time and he's lost three now.

    Last one some other ******* was using.
  • The biggest con trick the Oyster card has pulled is to make people think they are somehow benefiting from "cheaper" fares when all they have done is hike up the price of the "ordinary" single/return tickets. 

    Had to buy a tube ticket the other week as had left my Travelcard at home and was shocked at the price of a return ticket.
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