O2, Three and EE Prices to be Hiked for Customers

Recently O2’s customers were contacted regarding an increase in prices even for those who are mid-contract. It has then come out that Three and EE will also be raising their prices, find out more below.

price rises for three o2 and ee customers

How much are prices raising by?

For O2 and Three monthly contract holders prices will rise by 2.5% and for EE monthly contract holders will be charged 2.7% more than previously. The price rise has been confirmed by both O2 and EE as well as all Three providers.

Will the prices be hiked for everyone?

So far it appears that only those who hold monthly contracts will experience this price hike and those who are on a pay as you go contract will not experience raised prices. The price hike does include those who are on sim-only contracts as well as those who received a phone with their contract.

Why are prices being raised?

The prices for O2 and Three are being raised by 2.5% to reflect the Office for National Statistics January RPI (Retail Price Index) figure. This is mainly used as a way to measure inflation in the UK. EE have raised their prices by 2.7% which is more than both Three and O2 this is due to the fact they’re basing their figure on December’s RPI figure.

When will the prices be raised?

EE will be raising their prices on March 30th for all customer and any new customers who will be joining their services. Three will be hiking the prices for their customers sometime during May and O2’s prices will be raised for their customers in April.

Are other companies raising their prices?

Vodafone is set to raise their prices based on the RPI figure of February, which is announced on the 20th of March. It is unknown currently how much this will be by and when it will be put in place.

Can I do anything about the rise in price?

If you are near the end of your contract you can try to haggle and get your next cotnract for cheaper, change provider or get a completely different contract.

If you would like to complain to Three, O2 or EE regarding these price rises you can contact their complaints departments using the contact details below.

Three complaints department number – 0843 218 9631

O2 complaints department number – 0843 557 4524

EE complaints department number – 0843 557 3560

Hermes Makes History with New Rights for Workers

Hermes Makes History with New Workers Rights

The German company Hermes is one of the biggest couriers in the UK. However, they get a lot of complaints from customers, and negative criticism for exploiting their couriers. That second problem, at least, is showing improvement. Following a tribunal last year, Hermes and the GMB Union have been negotiating over the right of Hermes couriers to legal status as workers. All of their couriers in the UK can now seek worker status if they want to do so.

Which rights do Hermes couriers have now?

Hermes usually classifies its couriers as being in self-employment. As a member of the gig economy, they pay couriers per unit of work rather than an hourly wage. This will change with the introduction of their “self-employed plus” optional contracts. These will grant them worker status, which is in between self-employment and full employment. The difference is that it entitles couriers to important legal rights that they weren’t entitled to before. Among these are 28 days of paid holiday annually (or the equivalent for part-time workers) and a guaranteed rate of pay. Part of the reason for the company’s poor customer service is that drivers are generally in a hurry to deliver as many parcels as possible to earn more money.

How does Hermes calculate delivery driver wages?

If Hermes couriers opt into the new contract, they will receive £8.55 an hour. Hermes still calculates wages from the number of deliveries each courier makes. However, if they have not had the level of work to earn the equivalent of £8.55 an hour, then Hermes will top up their earnings. This pay guarantee exceeds the minimum wage for workers over 25 years old. The National Living Wage will be rising to £8.21 this April, but Hermes couriers could still be earning more. If they choose to remain as self-employed contractors instead, then Hermes couriers won’t get this benefit or holiday pay unless they opt into the new contract. In order to earn these wages under this contract, drivers must follow designated routes.

Will other gig economy businesses follow Hermes?

There has been a lot of talk about how this deal is historical and what it means for the gig economy as a whole. It is the first deal of its kind between a trade union and a gig economy company. Other such companies, like Uber, Deliveroo, and CitySprint, have been taken to court over the rights of their drivers.  Some of the areas of concern include rest breaks and protection against discrimination. The positive attention towards the changes that Hermes is making might influence companies like these to make similar changes, too. However, it won’t happen immediately, and widespread legal changes across the industry are unlikely. The UK government has to do more to protect these workers from exploitative companies.

Should elderly people have to resit their driving test?

Should old people resit their driving test?

Since Prince Phillip’s car accident earlier this month, public concern about elderly drivers has been growing. The Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, caused a non-fatal collision by pulling out in front of another vehicle. Other drivers dispute his claim that the sun was impeding his vision, saying that it had been cloudy. Since then, Prince Phillip drove without a seatbelt on, adding insult to injury for the victims of the collision. Even the Royal family should not be exempt from the law. The number of people in the UK who think that regulations actually need to change for elderly drivers is rising. This prominent incident is adding fuel to the fire surrounding this issue. So, should old people re-sit their driving test?

Why should more driving restrictions apply to elderly people?

According to the Department for Transport, almost 10% more accidents involve drivers under 24 than over 70. Yet, there are plenty of reasons why elderly drivers are a greater risk for motorists, passengers, and pedestrians. Despite the decline of health with age, as Britain’s population ages, the number of elderly drivers is increasing. More than 4.5 million are over 70 years old, with 100,000 being over 90. This includes Prince Phillip, who is still driving at 97, and the Queen herself at 92. More and more younger people seem to believe that there should be more rigorous testing for older drivers to ensure that they are fit to be on the road. Vision and hearing loss, memory and mobility problems, and slower reflexes make older drivers prone to accidents. Many people feel that current laws are insufficient.

When do elderly people have to renew their driving licence?

As UK law stands, drivers have to renew their licence every 10 years. Any driver reaching the age of 70 will have to renew their licence within 90 days of their 70th birthday. There is no fee for this renewal. They will then have to continue renewing their driving licence every 3 years from that point. However, this does not involve re-taking the driving test. All drivers have to do is fill out the D46P application form and wait up to 3 weeks to receive their new licence. Applicants must declare that their health and eyesight meets the requirements to drive. There is no compulsory medical examination to prove this, though, unless they are intending to drive a minibus or medium-sized goods vehicle. Lots of people feel that this self-assessment is not good enough, as drivers could falsely declare themselves fit to drive.

Should elderly people have to resit their driving test?

Are senior citizens fit to drive?

As mentioned previously, there are more inherent health risks for elderly drivers than for younger ones. However, there is no maximum age limit for driving. This is because medical conditions can impair your ability to drive at any age. Older drivers can take assessments at DVLA mobility centres, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, or with I Am Road Smart if they are unsure about their fitness to drive. Failure to report medical conditions to your vehicle insurer or the DVLA can result in a fine up to £1,000. It is in the best interests of senior drivers to check their own fitness to drive. As long as a driver can read a number plate from 20 metres away, the law considers them able to drive safely. Younger drivers do not seem to think that this is thorough enough.  Around 60% of drivers between 18 and 34 years old think that drivers should have to re-sit the driving test and take mandatory exams to refresh their driving skills after the age of 60. Out of all age groups together, 35% of the survey participants believed that the government should introduce a mature driver’s test.

Is the law changing for drivers over 70?

Despite the sudden surge in public attention towards this, there are currently no concrete plans to change the UK law for elderly drivers. Despite recommendations in the House of Commons to amend legal requirements for drivers over 60, the government is hesitant to take such action. For many elderly people, driving enables them to be independent and more social. Imposing strict regulations could discourage some older people from driving altogether, even if they are fit to drive. This lack of freedom could then result in a negative impact on their wellbeing. The government needs to find a middle ground to ensure that elderly drivers can drive for as long as they are able to before hanging up their car keys.

Donald Trump Hosts a McDonald’s Banquet for White House Guests

Donald Trump Hosts a McDonald's Banquet for White House Guests

Over in the USA, things have been looking as turbulent there as they are here in the Brexit-battling UK. Amidst a government shutdown over lack of funding for his wall at the Mexican border, the petulant President somehow embarrassed himself even further with a gauche display at a White House celebration on Monday. The Commander in Chief decided that a fitting celebration for a university sports team was a spread of greasy American fast food.

What was the celebration for?

The White House welcomed football players from Clemson University to celebrate their victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide team. As a reward for winning the College Football Playoff National Championship, the Clemson Tigers from South Carolina made the trip to the stately building for a meal with the President. While you may expect the dinner to have met the level of prestige set by its location, Trump had other plans. Somewhat hilariously, staff stacked silver platters with boxes of Big Macs. Maybe the buffet of burgers shouldn’t seem so bizarre, considering Trump’s well-documented preference for fast food. The fries were served in White-House-branded disposable cups, accompanied by additional offerings from other fast food outlets. These included Wendy’s, Burger King, and Domino’s. Even the individually-packaged condiments were jarringly displayed using more elegant silverware.

Why did Trump serve McDonald’s?

Trump took plenty of opportunities to point out that he was paying for this dinner with his own money. Due to the ongoing government shutdown, which is the longest in history, the White House is lacking staff and funding for operations. Apparently, the First Lady Melania could have made salads, but Trump thought that a group of athletes would rather tuck into a load of greasy carbs. So he placed a mass order at multiple fast food chains and proudly served these no-doubt lukewarm delicacies to the visiting football team. Some consider this gimmick to be a weird attempt to seem down-to-earth and relatable to his working-class supporters. Others see it as being disrespectful to the athletes, who had to eat cheap food that they could have eaten anywhere during what was supposed to be a special occasion. Trump thought that his choice was patriotic, reiterating that the fast food was all American.

What are the reactions to this fast food feast?

The Clemson Tigers team members could have been bemused by this, but they all tucked into the food on offer anyway. None of them complained and none of the team chose to boycott the visit (perhaps unsurprisingly, as South Carolina is a mostly Republican state). Photographs of the spread circulating around Twitter were met with incredulity, and, of course, memes. People took to Photoshop to add Ronald McDonald or the Hamburglar to the images, or transform them into parodies of da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper. Though they are known for participating in viral memes, the Twitter accounts for all the fast-food chains involved have yet to offer their comments on these developments. Trump himself took to Twitter to remind everybody that he paid for the meal himself, doing his usual trick of twisting the facts (also known as lying) to somehow make 300 burgers into 1,000. Except he also made the excruciating mistake of referring to them as “hamberders,” which surely is almost as bad as 2017’s Covfefegate. This disaster has also resulted in the unearthing of a McDonald’s advert from 2002 featuring Donald Trump himself, which manages to be even weirder than his Pizza Hut advert from 1995, when he chose to bite into a slice crust-first.

Too Old or Too Overweight for IVF on the NHS?

Too Old or Too Overweight for IVF on the NHS?

The Fertility Fairness group, which campaigns for equal access to infertility treatments on the NHS, has been reporting on the shocking disparities in criteria across the UK. Recently, an investigation on the programme Victoria Derbyshire also found concerning restrictions. This is sparking further discussion of what the limitations should be for IVF from the NHS.

What is IVF?

IVF stands for in vitro fertilization, which is a treatment for infertility. Some couples are not able to conceive naturally, often due to medical conditions and genetics. Infertility can lead to depression, social isolation, and the breakdown of relationships. Treatments like IVF can help couples to successfully start a family and the life they want to live. During IVF, eggs are taken from the body to fertilize them with sperm in a laboratory. Then they will transfer the embryo back into the body in the hope that it will continue developing. A similar treatment is ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), where they inject a single sperm directly into an egg to fertilize it and then transfer it to the womb. Infertility itself is a medical condition, so people with this condition deserve treatment from the NHS to improve their quality of life.

Who can get IVF on the NHS?

There is wider funding for medicines and surgical procedures that assist fertility. However, treatments which assist conception like IVF and ICSI are subject to regional access criteria. There are 209 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England which are led by GPs and responsible for providing fertility services. Generally, three full cycles of IVF should be made available on the NHS to patients who are infertile. This is according to guidelines from NICE, or the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence. They make recommendations for the provision of health services considering clinical and cost effectiveness. The problem is that many CCGs are apparently not following these guidelines. They are also setting their own access criteria instead. In Scotland and Wales, couples can get IVF until the age of 42. But in the UK, CCGs setting their own restrictions is resulting in a “postcode lottery” for IVF.

Too Old or Too Overweight for IVF on the NHS?

Who isn’t able to get IVF on the NHS right now?

Recent investigations by Fertility Fairness and Victoria Derbyshire are drawing attention to the unfair restrictions on access to IVF treatment in many regions of England. Some CCGs are denying IVF treatment to couples based on arbitrary ages. Fourteen of them won’t allow men over 55 years old to access the treatment on the NHS, and twelve of them won’t allow it for women over 34. This is especially unfair for women. It may take some women longer to find a partner or achieve financial stability before being ready to start a family. Over 40% of CCGs (85 of them) are failing to offer IVF services on the NHS to women above the age of 39. As well as age, CCGs are denying IVF to couples according to their BMI. This is affecting women with a BMI of 30 or above and men with a BMI of 35 or above. These denials aren’t fair because such criteria is not a part of national guidelines. The restrictions are mainly to reduce the cost of IVF services for the NHS, though the criteria are not proven to negatively affect the success of IVF procedures. Seven CCGs are no longer offering any IVF on the NHS.

How do we improve access to NHS fertility treatment?

There are several groups campaigning to improve access to NHS treatment for people in the UK who are infertile. These include the aforementioned group Fertility Fairness, and the Fertility Network UK. You can read more information about their research and campaigns on their respective websites. They will tell you what you can do to help if you would like to get involved in their campaigns. This usually involves writing letters to your local MP and local CCG. You can also attend public consultations if your local CCG is reviewing their IVF provision. These groups can provide support for anyone struggling with fertility problems.

Asda Delivery Nightmares

Asda Delivery Nightmares
Many people rely on home deliveries from supermarkets to get their groceries. Customers may have a debilitating condition or just be too busy to go and shop at a store themselves. In theory, home delivery should make things easier, especially for people without cars. Yet this doesn’t always seem to be the case. Lots of shoppers choose Asda for their reasonable prices, but some end up regretting it. Here are several shocking stories about Asda delivery.

Shameful Customer Service

This month, a video featuring an Asda delivery driver went viral on Facebook. Members of the public are criticizing Asda after the driver wouldn’t assist a pregnant customer. Instead, he left her to carry £200 worth of shopping up 2 flights of stairs by herself without bags or crates. Following the uproar over the treatment of this mother in London, Asda gave her an apology. Rather unhelpfully, they sent her a bottle of champagne along with some flowers.

Last month, an Asda delivery driver wouldn’t help a 48-year-old woman in Wolverhampton who couldn’t walk without a frame. Instead of unpacking her shopping for her, they left the stack of crates in the hallway. These were blocking her way out of the living room, trapping her in there for 2 hours. She had to call family in Birmingham to come and help. Asda has since offered a full apology and a hamper of goods as a goodwill gesture for this incident.

There are countless stories of Asda cancelling deliveries at the last minute. After making customers re-arrange the delivery, sometimes they even end up cancelling again. But not before charging the customer twice for their shopping! This has left many families with no food and out of pocket while they wait for refunds. Asda delivery drivers commonly refuse to carry deliveries to your actual front door, often leaving them at the building’s main door.

When Substitutions Get Silly

A frequent frustration for online shoppers is when supermarkets provide substitutions. If something isn’t in stock, they try to supply a close replacement. Or at least, they should. In some cases, customers end up with something bizarrely different from the item on their order. Asda gave one customer a bottle of shower gel instead of a shepherd’s pie packet mix. Unhelpfully, another customer got actual chicken burgers instead of vegetarian Quorn.

Clearly, there must be something wrong with Asda’s computer systems if they’re suggesting substitutions like these. Asda often blames “technical difficulties” with their system for their cancellations and payment problems. One such glaring payment error is when a mother in Nottingham found that one banana apparently cost £930.11 rather than 11p. It’s fair to say that this overcharge was excessive. Luckily, her credit card company blocked the payment.

Asda Delivery Nightmares

Dangerous Delivery Drivers

Besides the online shopping and delivery process itself, the drivers can be especially dodgy. In February, there were reports of two reckless delivery drivers causing destruction in their Asda vans. A man in Bristol had only just got a new garden wall when a driver damaged it. Continuing with his delivery down the street, the driver didn’t even apologize. The man had to chase Asda’s lawyers for months before they finally agreed to pay for repairing his wall.

A similar situation occurred in Derby. A woman was surprised to find damage to her car including a dent, hole, and slashed tyre. When reviewing footage from her house’s CCTV camera, she found that the damage was the result of an Asda delivery van squeezing past her car. The crash was clearly noticeable, but this Asda driver didn’t stop either. Luckily, she had the licence plate number to report to Asda and get assistance with her insurance claim.

In July, an Asda delivery van crashed into the front of two houses in Tranent in Scotland. It drove through their front gardens after the driver became ill at the wheel. The damage was mostly cosmetic, but families had to evacuate temporarily because the van hit a gas meter. The driver was taken to hospital by ambulance. On the other hand, drivers might blame you for dangers during delivery. Last year, an Asda delivery driver decided to sue a customer in Newcastle, claiming to suffer an injury when dropping off the shopping. Despite not saying anything at the time, the driver’s solicitors sent letters requesting compensation from the customer, threatening legal action. Asda won’t take responsibility for out-of-hours activity.

Asda Delivery Complaints

Do you have a complaint about Asda delivery? If you have a poor experience of their online shopping and home delivery service, then tell them. You can go into your Asda store or call customer services for assistance. Report rude or careless drivers, poor product quality, or late or incorrect deliveries. If the problem causes you significant distress, then you should pursue a formal complaint and ask to speak to Asda management. You can also provide feedback and rate the order and driver after delivery by logging into your online account.

When they fail to meet their own terms and conditions or standards of service, Asda will at least owe you an apology. Sometimes the situation may also entitle you to get some extra compensation. This usually takes the form of a voucher for money off your next Asda shop, or some free products. You can take your complaint through the European Commission’s Online Dispute Resolution platform if they aren’t helping enough instore or over the phone.

Warning Given to Drivers Over New DVLA Scam

scam

According to the RAC, drivers are being targeted with a new scam which aims to cheat them out of money by promising a VED road tax refund straight to their bank account. The scam starts with a text message with the fraudsters posing as the DVLA, claiming to offer drivers their money back due to a change in road tax legislation.

The text tells drivers to follow a link to a form and share their personal bank details. The RAC said that the cost of driving can be high, so the lure of an unexpected tax rebate can seem promising and tempting. You should always be wary of any unsolicited request which asks for personal information and always be on your guard for any offer which sounds too good to be true.

Changes to the VED system were announced last year. It is a complicated system with different bands and payments required, depending on the emissions of your vehicle, whether it is diesel or petrol, or whether it uses alternative fuels such as electricity. The layered system has led to confusion for motorists, which has meant that fraudsters have taken the opportunity to try and capitalise on this by sending out scam texts. They are promising big refunds but they will actually use your bank details to take money from you or commit identity theft.

The DVLA has issued a similar statement as they did with previous scams. They reiterated that they do not send emails or text messages which request your personal information or payment information.

If you receive one of the scam texts or a scam email, you can report it to the Government’s dedicated phishing facility .

 

Channel 4 Challenges Jamie Oliver Over Junk Food Advertising

Channel 4 Challenges Jamie Oliver Over Junk Food Advertising

Since the Channel 4 programme “Jamie’s School Dinners” aired in 2005, most people know Jamie Oliver as the person who shut down Turkey Twizzlers. In the end, they weren’t just removed from children’s school dinners, but from supermarket shelves when they stopped being produced. Jamie Oliver has taken part in various campaigns over the years with the hope of improving the diets of British children. His recent “Ad Enough” campaign launched in April. This movement is encouraging the UK government to restrict junk food advertising.

Jamie Oliver vs Junk Food Adverts

According to Jamie Oliver, junk food advertising is a major contributor to childhood obesity in Britain. With the rise of digital media, marketing is more pervasive than ever before. Kids are impressionable and constant advertisements targeting them directly make it harder for them to make the right decisions about what to eat. Adverts for unhealthy foods and drinks high in salt, sugar, and fat, are everywhere. Jamie Oliver is proposing that the government should introduce a 9pm watershed for junk food adverts on TV, so children won’t see them.

Initiatives in schools have been trying to introduce healthier eating for years. But any work done in schools, or by parents at home, is constantly undermined. Kids are growing up in a culture focused on fast gratification. Everywhere they turn, someone is trying to sell them something, and they may not have developed the tools yet to avoid this relentless kind of influence. Jamie Oliver definitely has a point when it comes to the lack of control over the advertising targeted at children. However, many people disagree with his suggested action.

Why Wouldn’t a Pre-Watershed Ban Work?

Despite their partnerships in the past, Channel 4 is not supporting Oliver’s campaign. The chief executive of Channel 4, Alex Macmahon, is hoping that the government will host a consultation on any advertising rule changes. A 9pm watershed on advertising containing junk food would be a huge blow to broadcasters. The Channel 4 commercial chief, Jonathan Allan, estimates that such a ban would cause a loss of up to £200 million. With broadcasters already facing financial struggles, this would be even more bad news for the future of TV.

Of course, nobody at Channel 4 wants to promote child obesity, but a 9pm watershed does not seem logical to broadcasters. It would prevent such advertising on plenty of TV shows which children are not likely to watch. In fact, children rarely watch live television anymore anyway. They are used to consuming media on demand through streaming and platforms like YouTube. While exposure to TV advertising has decreased, obesity has still risen. Online advertising needs stricter regulations much more urgently than television before 9pm does.

Pushback Over Threat to Percy Pigs

For some people, this latest campaign from Jamie Oliver is a step too far. Part of his “Ad Enough” campaign suggests a ban on using cartoon characters to advertise junk food. Cartoon characters designed to appeal to children are likely to affect their food choices. However, if this ban went through, it could be the end for well-loved British sweets such as Percy Pigs. When this rumour quickly spread online, the British public was not happy. Fans of these classic sweets from Marks and Spencer expressed their outrage on social media.

The potential banning of Percy Pigs was the final straw for some, who already seemed to find Jamie Oliver’s crackdowns on junk food annoying. The good news is that Marks and Spencer responded to the rumours to state that they have no plans to remove the best-selling sweets from their stores. However, they did not comment on the proposal for an advertising ban. If the UK government listens to Jamie Oliver and implements a ban on cartoon characters in advertising for unhealthy foods, then brands won’t have a choice.

Virgin Media’s Early Exit Fee Deemed Unlawful By Ofcom

broadband

If you are a Virgin Media customer who has been hit with an early exit fee for wishing to leave your contract, you could be eligible for compensation. This is because of a decision made by Ofcom, the telecoms watchdog, who has deemed the fee to be unlawful. At the moment, Virgin Media services are available in half of the UK. If a customer moved to an area not supported by Virgin Media before their contract ended, they would need to pay an exit fee of up to £240.

A formal investigation was launched by Ofcom last year. The investigation aimed to look into Virgin Media’s terms and conditions, with the fees for ending a contract early one of their specific concerns. This is because Ofcom has received a lot of complaints from angry Virgin Media customers. The watchdog published a preliminary decision last week which found that exit fees up to £240 which were charged to customers between the 1st September 2016 and 11th September 2017 were in breach of their rules. This is because the fees were too high and put customers off from changing providers, limiting competition in the broadband market. Previously, consumer rights champions had said the charges were illogical and unfair.

If any compensation is owed to customers, Ofcom will release information about it later this year when the final decision is announced. Virgin Media could also face a fine for their actions.

A spokesperson for Ofcom said that the watchdog had assessed all the evidence and they believed that Virgin Media had broken their rules by overcharging customers who needed to leave their contracts early.

Virgin Media now has the opportunity to respond formally to the preliminary decision – any further actions from the company will be taken into account before the final ruling is made.

A representative for Virgin Media said that the company planned to review Ofcom’s provisional rulings ‘thoroughly’. The spokesman also said that Virgin Media makes it clear to customers that early exit fees can apply, and they also offer 30-day flexible rolling contracts for customers who can’t commit to the usual 12-month minimum.

If you’ve been stung by Virgin Media’s early exit fees and you wish to make a complaint, here’s what you should do:

  • Your first step is to complain to Virgin Media themselves. You can do this by calling them or writing a letter/email of complaint.
  • If you’re not satisfied with how Virgin Media dealt with your complaint, ask them for a ‘deadlock letter’ and you can use this to refer the complaint to an independent commission.
  • Alternatively, if more than eight weeks have passed and you haven’t heard from Virgin Media regarding your complaint, you can refer it to the Communications Ombudsman Services.
  • If you’re not sure how to word a complaint letter, there will be lots of templates online.

Railway System Reform for Train Tickets

Railway Fare Reform for Train Ticket Systems

The rising cost of train tickets has been a source of complaints for many commuters for a while now. With millions of possible fares existing in the current system, many customers find the choice confusing. It is difficult to find the best value ticket for a train journey when stations and websites often contradict each other in price. When people are in a hurry or station staff and machines are not up-to-date, it can lead to customers being ripped off. It can be difficult to reclaim any money under the terms and conditions of ticket sales. Even if a new Rail Ombudsman is eventually introduced to handle complaints, it won’t address this problem. The systems for buying train tickets are desperately overdue for a huge overhaul.

Ridiculous Railway Fares

The current regulations for calculating railway ticket prices have not advanced since their introduction in 1995. Changes in technology and working patterns have also changed how people buy train tickets. A lot of people buy online or through apps on their smartphones instead of at the station. Expensive season tickets are not the money-saving option they’ve claimed to be, especially for part-time workers. The rail industry admits to long-standing anomalies in its ticketing systems which provide poor customer service. Even if part of a trip is via an off-peak service, they will charge customers for full peak-time train tickets. “Split ticketing” is the strange situation where customers can buy several separate tickets for each stage of a train journey and still pay less than a single fare for the whole journey. To address these outdated problems, the railway companies are launching a consultation.

Commuter Opinions on the Consultation

This public consultation will run from its launch next month until September. The results will inform a report which the railway companies will use to make reform proposals to the government. They are promising that reforms will not lead to price increases for average train tickets. A reformed system could be much more flexible, integrating tickets for buses and trams. It might also see the introduction of suitable tickets for part-time workers and those with lower incomes. A new computer-based system could automatically locate the cheapest fares for customers. Commuters and transport campaigners alike are in favour of this consultation. Everyone is tired of a tricky system with overpriced tickets and no support from these private railway companies. Customers want to be able to buy fairly-priced train tickets using a system they can actually trust. Any reform proposals after the consultation ends in September will need government backing to come through. It is about time that the unfair train ticketing system changed, but we will have to wait to find out if it actually does.