Back in 2012 I wrote a review on TheTrainline.com and gave them 4* This was prior to learning about Redspottedhanky. I've only used this site twice to book train tickets so far and the process is painless and TRANSACTION FEE FREE!!!! So no more paying £1.50 per transaction - as I used to with Trainline.com.
My only gripe about RSH is that when you are going through the process of selecting the train option, you need to know where you're being routed AHEAD of actually purchasing the tickets. It's not good enough to see whether I go via ROUTE A or ROUTE B on the PAYMENT CONFIRMATION SCREEN. This is my only issue and when fixed I'll update this review and give it a 5*
The best companies are ones that show outstanding service when things do not necessarily go according to schedule. RSH is definitely NOT a company that provides customer service. If you happen to book with them and there are no problems with your journey, then you will probably not have any qualms with them. However, if for any reason you need to phone their customer service, your opinion will quickly change. They regularly promise to return phone calls or contact customers via email just to get them off the phone. In no way will they endeavour to help you find a resolution for your problem, even if they are the ones to blame! Avoid!
Definitely the worst company I have ever booked train tickets off - on a recent booking, many of the tickets I ordered were not issued as booked - so they arranged to reissue the tickets. However, this was for the wrong date, and so were useless.
Following this, as it was too late to reissue them again, I had to buy a new ticket at the station and send in the wrong ticket for a refund. However - even though I was owed this refund due to an error on their part - they take 28 days to issue a refund, which is absolutely ridiculous.
Other train companies I have booked with have issued refunds within a week, so there really is no excuse for such a long delay. Emails to them often go unanswered or responses can take up to 1-2 weeks. Telephone support isn't much better, with lengthy wait times and rude/dismissive staff.
Not a company I shall ever be using, ever again.
I have been using RSH successfully, and without a hitch, for a long time but unfortunately this last week I have experienced a completely different side to the company. I had more than £30 credit on my account with an expiry date of 31st March 2013 which was showing very clearly. However, when I tried to use the voucher on this day, the system clearly showed the credit but wouldn't let me use it. I immediately emailed screen shots and phoned to confirm the problem. I was advised that nothing could be done until the email had been looked at. 3 days later I received an email advising that it would be looked at within 72 hours (by now 6 days later!) I was still trying to book my trip, but had to wait again. I contacted them again by various methods: emails (no reply), phone (won't help), Twitter (dismissed) and Facebook (we'll look into it but the computers won't go any faster!)
I called again yesterday to get a resolution so that I could book my trip, and was then advised, quite rudely, that Evouchers expire on the day that it says, but at 5.40am in the morning !!!!! It does not say anywhere on the website that this is the case as 31st March remains that date until 1st April (normally!) I was advised that a supervisor would be needed and was promised a call back by 5pm. Needless to say, a day later and still no return call.
I am shocked by this level of customer service during the week, as apparently it is OK for RSH to steal this money from me. Obviously I won't continue to use RSH if this is the service on offer.
This site is provided by IT company ATOS Origin. If you look at Southern trains or East Coast trains (and I think now Chiltern trains) you'll find their websites look very similar, and I assume this is because they are provided on a 'white-label' basis by ATOS.
These sites beat hands down other sites (eg Trainline, Virgin, Scotrail, Transpennine), in terms of ease of use, clarity on available fares over wide day time-range (a real bugbear on other sites which only show one or two trains), and ability to save and then book multiple journeys (up to five) in a single transaction.
The benefit of using ATOS' own redspottedhanky website however is that you can turn Tesco vouchers into cash to buy rail tickets, and ATOS award loyalty points over a year (1p per £1 spent) which do build up if you travel a lot. Unlike many other sites, they give you free postage if tickets sent thru mail (not sure how long this will last!!)
Only downside is that, if a rail company is having a particular promotion or a unique offer, you have to go to their website to benefit from it. It will not be available on other booking websites including the ATOS one.
Subject to such exceptions, train booking websites feed off the same database and hence offer the same advance, off-peak etc fares. Its up to you to work out how to get the best fare (e.g splitting journey) and although the ATOS site does not provide advice on this, the flexibility of the site makes it much easier to check out cost of different routing and route-splitting options.
I compared redspottedhankys prices against all the major online ticket companies and they were the cheapest
I was pleased to find there were no hidden surprises, they price quoted was the price I paid
Very happy, will use again
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