I noted a couple of weeks ago how Eurostar had ripped me off for 15 quid after their own ticket gates swallowed my boarding pass en route to Paris. In a rare moment of riled-up consumerism, I sent them a letter complaining about what a rort this was. In due course, I got a response from their “international customer relations executive”, expressing their “sincere apologies” but doing absolutely sod-all about the issue other than noting that it would give them “an opportunity to improve this aspect of our service”. I agree, functioning ticket gates would be useful. So would getting my 15 pounds back, but clearly that’s not going to happen.
Other branches of the railway trade are much more forthcoming. On my recent trip back from Bodmin, my train was more than an hour behind schedule by the time it hit London Paddington. As we approached the terminus, staff handed everyone a form to lodge a compensation claim, one hour apparently being the magic number that triggers a refund. I filled out the form with few expectations, but today I got a voucher for 25 pounds worth of rail travel in the mail. I guess that means I’m ahead overall, but I still think the Eurostar approach sucks, especially compared with First Great Western, which has gone up substantially in my estimation.