My Britrail Pass is worthless — so where is my refund?

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By Christopher Elliott

The pandemic caused Brent Norgaard to cancel his trip to the U.K. last year. So why won’t his travel agency give him a refund for his BritRail Pass?

Question

Last year, I bought an eight-day Britrail Pass through ACP Rail. I couldn’t use the tickets because of the COVID-19 outbreak. So I asked for an extension, and a representative told me to return the paper tickets. I did so last summer. Since then, I’ve inquired several times about the status of my extension. They say they are working on it.

It’s been more than a year. Could you please help me get either an extension or a refund for my BritRail Pass? — Brent Norgaard, Minneapolis

Answer

If ACP Rail offered an extension for your BritRail Pass, it should have processed the extension quickly. ACP is a distributor of rail products. It has an exclusive arrangement to sell the BritRail Pass, so it should have been able to fix your ticket quickly.

What happened? The pandemic. ACP was working on thousands of ticket requests like yours. And what should have been a routine extension turned into a one-year wait.

“Given the fact that we have been off-premise for almost four months and due to the backlog of work, we do expect some delays,” a representative told you. “We are doing our utmost to ensure all cases are actioned as quickly as possible but ask for your kind patience as we diligently work through the backlog.”

It looks as if ACP intended to refund your Britrail Pass rather than try to extend it. You can read its refund rules on the ACP site. Generally, rail tickets are more flexible than airline tickets, and you were better off just taking the refund and buying new tickets when you needed them.

Under the Britrail Pass terms of your purchase, you should be able to get a full refund. BritRail notes that it will refund your purchase if “the unvalidated Pass or original exchange coupon or voucher is returned to the office from which it was purchased within 11 months from the date of issue (unless a different time period is specified by your travel agent). Passes or tickets must bear no evidence of having been tampered with in any way.”

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The good news: Here’s your refund for your unused Britrail Pass

Curiously, there’s no promised timeline for a refund. But I think you’ve been more than patient with ACP Rail and BritRail. It’s time for action, regardless of the pandemic. (Related: These Britrail England Flexi Passes are taking forever to refund. What should I do?)

You could have appealed this first to the agency and then to BritRail. We list the names, numbers, and email addresses of the BritRail customer service executives in our company contacts database. You can access that directory through the button at the top of every page on our site. (Here’s how to contact the CEO directly.)

I contacted ACP Rail on your behalf, and it issued a full refund for your Britrail Pass, as promised.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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