FOI request detail


Request ID: FOI-2567-2324
Date published: 10 November 2023

You asked

Under the Freedom of Information Act, please can you provide the following information within 20 working days upon receipt of this email. 1, How much in total has TfL paid in refunds, which have been authorised by the contact centre, when a customer has been overcharged for using two devices on the same day of travel on all types of services - underground, tram, national rail, DLR, overground etc - across the transport network in a two week period in June - from Monday June 12 until Monday June 26. Please can the figures include the specific number of cases as well as the total amount. This is now my fourth request for information on this matter, having reduced my timeframe from three years to two weeks. These two weeks are relevant because roughly during this period I was overcharged more than £90 when using a physical payment card and card on my mobile phone wallet to pay for the same journeys. Previous correspondence has revealed TFL would be willing to provide a request for one day's worth of figures which I believe to be totally unacceptable. Surely, it would take a fraction of the 18 allocated hours to complete such a task. I have every intention of appealing in future and then taking up the complaint with the ICO and consider this to be a reasonable compromise.

We answered

Our ref: FOI-2567-2324/GH
Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 16 October 2023 asking for information about refunds for customers overcharged for using two devices.
Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy.

I can confirm that we do hold the information you require. However, as previously advised, whilst we can provide you with the amount of refunds issued by our Contact Centre as a whole, to provide the number refunds issued when a customer has been overcharged for using two devices on the same day of travel on all types of services for the periods of interest referenced in your request, we would still need to manually review each refund and the circumstances given for their authorisation to compile this data, which again would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ of £450 set by the Freedom of Information (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 to provide this detail in full.

Under section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with requests if we estimate that the cost of determining whether we hold the information, locating and retrieving it and extracting it from other information would exceed the appropriate limit. In this instance, we estimate that the time required to answer your request would exceed 18 hours which, at £25 per hour (the rate stipulated by the Regulations), exceeds the ‘appropriate limit’.

In a typical month our contact centre handles 3,000-4,000 requests for refunds or fare adjustments. Our priority is to resolve customers’ requests as quickly as possible, and we do not have a specific code under which to record that the reason for the adjustment is that the customer used two separate devices or means of payment for the one journey.
Whilst you have reduced your request to a period of two weeks, we would still need to manually check approximately 2,000 refund/adjustment requests to compile the information you have requested. This would take an excessive amount of time, and would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’. Our principal duty is to provide an effective transport service for London and we consider that answering this request would represent a disproportionate effort. It would be a significant distraction from our work managing the TfL network, requiring re-allocation of already limited resources and placing an unacceptable burden on a small number of personnel.

To further explain our position, if a customer touches out with a different card or digital wallet, TfL cannot calculate the correct fare as each payment method has a different identifier (travel token ID).  We remind customers to always use the same payment method.  This is on our website here

When  a customer travels on the TfL network using contactless, the method they use (a physical payment card or digital wallet such as an iPhone watch etc) is captured at the start of the journey (when they touch in).  When the journey ends (the customer touches out), the charge is calculated. To ensure the customer pays the correct fare, the identifier (travel token ID) from the touch in and touch out needs to match. 

 If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.
Yours sincerely
Graham Hurt
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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