After my exasperating bus journey to Glasgow (which I wrote about here) I sent a polite, but fairly strongly worded, email to First Group Glasgow explaining what had happened and why I was so annoyed and asked for their comments. They sent an automatic reply saying ‘Thank you for contacting us. One of our Customer Care Team will respond to you soon.’
A week later, when no-one had contacted me, I emailed again and asked when I might receive a reply (wouldn’t you think that ‘soon’ meant in a few days?). A day or two later I got a reply from a real person this time, not an automated one: a real person who was clearly wearing his ‘I think I’m an important person here at First Group Glasgow’ hat and helpfully gave me the link to the Customer Charter on their website which says that they aim to respond within 14 days of receipt of the feedback from the customer.
Fifteen days after my original email, I received a letter from them. It explained that they had been using the ‘Exact Fare – No Change Given’ policy for thirty years now. It also pointed out that if customers board without the correct change and as a result pay more than is required, they are always willing to refund the difference if ‘the relevant details of the transaction have been provided’. The letter then went on to thank me for my information, which allowed them to inspect the vehicle I travelled on and discover the lack of relevant signage indicating their policy (hadn’t I just told them that??).
I was assured that corrective action would be taken. The letter then burbled on a bit about me accepting their apologies and hoping I would have no further cause for complaint etc etc. Well, actually I did have further cause for complaint – my overpayment was not refunded! I dashed off another email to First Group. The reply came back saying that it was not normal procedure to refund money without a driver’s report however, given the circumstances of my complaint (the fact that I was persistent perhaps?), they would make an exception in this case and send me my 80p. Hurrah!
I decided not to claim the 80p and asked them to donate it, and the cost of the postage, to charity, but I was pleased to have made my point. I’ll be checking the bus carefully for the ‘relevant signage‘ next time I am in Glasgow! 🙂