Due to a very high influx of customer requests, it may take time for us to get back to you. Our team members are doing their best to keep working and we will get to you as soon as we can. Please be patient with us and do not send us multiple emails as this may slow things down and will send your request to the bottom of the queue. Thank you for your understanding.
To find out what we've been doing to help our members, read our update here.
Lobbying the Government
Since the beginning of the lockdown we have been lobbying for commuter rights. We are thrilled to see the Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Huw Merriman MP, take up this cause with a call to:
- Allow season ticket holders to receive full pro-rata refunds for the time remaining on their tickets
- Allow season ticket holders to ‘pause’ their ticket while the government’s advice to work from home applies and resume them at a later date
- Waive the administration fee
We will continue to share updates, especially for customers coming to the end of their tickets.
Update on cancellations
If you have requested a cancellation, we want to reassure you that we are doing everything in our power to process it as soon as possible. If you have tried to reach us by phone or email, please accept our apology, we do not have the capacity to offer phone support and respond to every email, but we are processing thousands of cancellations as fast as we can.
You can read about the steps we’ve taken to improve our cancellation process here, but in brief: standard cancellation remains free, cancellations can be requested online, and we will ensure you only pay for the time you used your ticket. Furthermore, we’re committed to processing cancellations within the 30 day agreed terms, and if any payment is taken during this time, you will credited in your final cancellation balance. We’re also lobbying the Government to speed up the rail industry cancellation process.
We remain committed to our mission of helping commuters and thank you for your patience in these difficult times.
What we've done so far
We're working hard in this difficult time to give each of our members the best possible outcome. We will keep you updated here with the latest on what we're doing to achieve this.
- No fee. While most train operators charge a £10 admin fee for cancellation, we know this is a difficult time and even though we don’t have the same resources train companies have and we are getting charged this fee, we choose not to pass it on to our customers
- Online request. You can now request a cancellation online via your dashboard. We’ve listened to your feedback and built a quick tool so you can start your cancellation as soon as you need.
- No need to send ticket back. We want everyone to stay safe in these difficult times so we worked with the rail industry to allow you to upload a photo of your destroyed ticket from your dashboard the rather than return it by post.
- Backdate further. If you stopped travelling after the government announcement of the 16th, we can backdate tickets up to 56 days to the last day of use ( otherwise the normal 28 days limit applies). We think it’s important for everyone to only pay while they used their ticket so even if you tell us a bit later on or the ticket issuer takes longer to process a refund, you are no worse off.
- Prioritising vulnerable customers. We know this is a stressful time especially if you lost your job or are in financial difficulty so we are prioritising helping vulnerable customers first.
What happens when you cancel
The Commuter Club product helps regular commuters save money by financing annual season tickets. Customers have signed credit agreements and direct debit mandates with our lending partners who collect monthly repayments. Customers can cancel at any time and cancellations are processed within the agreed 30-day terms (from the date the ticket is returned or invalidated). To cancel a credit agreement, a customer can pay down the full outstanding loan amount, or return their ticket and wait for the rail industry to provide a refund on the unused portion of their ticket, which Commuter Club will immediately use to pay down the outstanding loan.
In many cases we depend on the rail industry to process the refunds and some of our partners are experiencing delays as train companies are expected to process 400,000 refund requests due to COVID-19 of which 6,000 are Commuter Club customer requests. As with other subscription services (e.g. mobile phone contracts), if a payment is taken during the cancellation processing time, this is credited in the final account balance and customers receive a refund. Because Commuter Club is a pay monthly product, the average refund owed to customers is £70 in contrast with annual tickets purchased directly from train operators where the average refund owed is approx. £800.
Response from the Government
Our mission has always been to deliver value for commuters and this is why we have been urging the Government to extend season tickets to prevent undue loss to commuters as a result of forced cancellation. They have responded, saying “The Government has no plans to ask train operators to extend the validity of season tickets, as season ticket holders are already entitled to request a refund if they no longer need their ticket, in accordance with the National Rail Conditions of Travel.”
In recent days though, Huw Merriman MP, Chair of the Transport Committee, joined our call, writing to the Secretary of State for Transport asking for fair refunds for season ticket holders. Specifically, the Committee is urging action to allow full pro-rata refunds, allow commuters to 'pause' their tickets, and waive the administration fee. We will continue you to keep you updated as things progress.
Helping our key workers
We’re incredibly grateful for the service of our key workers and we want to do what we can to help you through this difficult time. We don’t think your commute is another thing you need to be worrying about right now, so we’ve taken 70% off the cost of travel in the first month.
That means the first 3 weeks travel on a Commuter Club ticket will be free and you'll save well over a month in total. For example, a Zone 1-4 commuter would only pay £60 for their first month’s travel and save £567/year versus using contactless.
You can sign up online and we’ll deliver your ticket right to your door. So if you're a key worker, click here and let us take the expense and the hassle out of your commute.
I have an annual ticket that I cannot use, what should I do?
We understand that during the current situation you may be feeling a lot of uncertainty, and we're focused on helping you however we can. We know that you may not be commuting right now, and we want to reassure you that with Commuter Club, you won't lose out with your ticket. Please know that we can backdate your refund requests by up to 56 days.
We think there's more the rail industry can do to help, which is why we're working closely with them and have reached out to the Department for Transport with a range of ideas to protect you, including pausing or extending your season ticket for the duration of this crisis. We're very happy that the Transport Committee, led by Huw Merriman MP, has joined our call in asking the Government to act. You can read their letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps here.
What is the rail industry doing for season ticket holders?
There has been a lot of confusion in the media. The latest information available from the Rail Delivery Group states that there will be no changes to the way season ticket refunds are processed. What this means for annual ticket holders:
- Train Operating Companies (TOCs) will continue to charge an administration fee of up to £10 to process a refund
- TOCs will process annual ticket refunds based on standard rules in the National Rail Conditions of Travel. These rules provide refunds for the unused portion of your annual ticket, however this is a partial refund as it is calculated based on the next cheapest ticket available. See our worked example below for more information.
- There is no information provided on timelines for refund processing
What Commuter Club is doing to help
- We will not charge an admin fee for processing refunds
- We are working with our lenders to delay payment dates for customers choosing to keep their tickets who need financial support
- We developed a tool so you can quickly calculate your cancellation outcome via your Commuter Club dashboard
- We will back date your cancellation to the last date you used your ticket, up to a maximum of 56 days so you're not out of pocket.
- We've written to the Department for Transport, the Rail Delivery Group, the Mayor of London and other groups urging them to go beyond the standard TOC rules to help protect commuters. We're urging them to extend all season tickets by a further two months and relax the unfair partial refund rules, which will leave commuters out of pocket exactly when they need support.
Should I apply for a refund for my ticket?
If you want to apply for a refund, we can backdate your ticket by up to 56 days (if your last use date is after the 16th of March, 28 days for people who have a last use date prior to this). Please be aware that under the standard TOC rules, you would only receive a partial refund and, due to how the rail industry calculates this, it may be less than you would expect.
How do Train Companies calculate season ticket refunds?
When an annual season ticket is refunded, under TOC rules, the ticket use is prorated to the next cheapest ticket, which effectively cuts down on any refund, because the next ticket, the monthly, is more expensive.
For Commuter Club customers, we will use the refunds from the TOCs to pay down your loan and the daily interest accrued to date and calculate the balance on your account. Check out your Commuter Club dashboard for a bespoke quote.
How to cancellations work?
You will only ever pay for the period during which you had your ticket and the amount of interest due is calculated based on the monthly cost of your ticket.
The outcome of your cancellation depends on how long you have had your ticket for, and what payments you have made up to the date of cancellation.
The cost of your ticket in this scenario will be a combination of monthly, weekly and daily tickets instead of a lower cost annual ticket. Please refer to the National Rail Conditions of Travel for more information on season ticket conditions.
If you cancel during the 12 months that your ticket is valid for, any discounts or 'free travel' you received during that period will be reclaimed on cancellation.
Where there is an outstanding balance to pay, we will collect it from you at point of cancellation or deduct from any refund due to you.
On some occasions, when your cancellation is processed too close to your Direct Debit date, we will take a final Direct Debit and then refund any amount due to you. Please do not cancel your Direct Debit at point of cancellation.
As part of our commitment to being totally fair and transparent, we will share our calculations with you when we discuss what you need to pay.
What will happen if I just cancel my direct debit?
If you cancel your direct debit this will disrupt the normal cancellation process, leading to delays. Furthermore, you may incur additional fees by doing so and will be in breach of your loan agreement, which may have a negative impact on your credit file.
The quickest and easiest way for you to cancel your ticket is to submit a cancellation request via your dashboard. We will then be able to collect all the necessary information and process your cancellation correctly. Please be aware that until we receive the refund on the unused portion of your ticket from National Rail, which can take 30 days, your loan agreement remains active and cannot be paused.
How is my refund calculated?
When you cancel a season ticket the rail operators provide a refund based on the next cheapest ticket. If you have used your season ticket for more than 1 month, this is the daily cost of a Monthly ticket. If less than 1 Monthly then the daily cost is based on a Weekly Ticket or daily if less than 1 week. For more information on how cancellations are calculated please refer to the National Rail Conditions of Carriage This can be found at http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/Conditions of Travel 2016.pdf. Interest is calculated on a daily basis for the duration of the loan outstanding
Because of the discounts on season tickets, refund are not made pro rata. As such, Annual Season Tickets have no refund after approximately 10 months, Monthly Season Tickets have no refund after approximately 3 weeks, and Weekly Season Tickets have no refund after approximately 5 days.
I uploaded my ticket, how long will it take to process?
Cancellations take 30 days to be processed from the date of we receive your ticket. This is to allow us to take all the steps needed to cancel your ticket and your loan, and then for our finance team to work out if your account is in credit or debit.
If it hasn't been 30 days yet, then please bear with us - we are working on it and will be in touch as soon as possible.
What can I do now?
Join us in asking the Government to pause season tickets so you can keep your ticket during the lockdown and avoid losing out. You can use our letter as a template and reach out to MPs or share on social media.