Why did LNER sell me a one-day train strike ticket and refuse to refund?

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Over the weekend I bought a presale ticket on the LNER website for a February 1st trip from From King’s Cross to Retford, which I didn’t realize at the time, was a day when there was going to be a railway strike.

On its website LNER says cancellations are non-refundable but for an additional £10 (ticket is £40) I could change the booking to a different day. This is of no use to me because I was only able to meet the person I was going to meet on Wednesday.

How can the railways sell tickets to ride trains they know won’t work and then refuse to refund you?

I can’t be the only person who made this mistake during the recent rail strikes and it must add up to thousands of pounds taken by UK passengers.

Why don’t train companies stop consumers from buying a ticket they know they can’t honor? I feel the booking system should have pointed out that it was a strike day. Is there any other company that can do something similar? I am amazed.

GB, by email

Rail passengers faced considerable inconvenience as a result of the engineers’ strike, and no trains were running on most routes in England on this day. However, LNER was one of the few operating companies operating a skeleton service, which is why you are not entitled to a refund. It’s frustrating to hear this, but you really could have tried to take this trip.

LNER had not issued a ‘do not travel’ notice as this guidance would have automatically entitled passengers to a refund. It posts its revised timetable several days before a strike, and once finalized, tickets can only be purchased on its website for services it plans to perform. In this case LNER accepts that it was a real mistake and offers to reimburse you.

With the strikes likely to continue, if a train serving any part of your journey (outbound or return) is canceled or rescheduled, you’re entitled to a full refund from where you bought your ticket from. There should be no cost for this. The National Rail website has an advice section for interested travelers which is a good place to start, while MoneySavingExpert also has a guide on how to claim a refund.

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