The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about a charge for an unpaid fare on a Transport for London (TfL) bus. This is because TfL has now refunded the charge. Consideration of Mr X’s complaint by the Ombudsman would be unlikely to achieve anything more for him.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, says TfL charged him £6.40 for an unpaid fare when he travelled on one of their buses. Mr X says the equipment on the bus would not read his contactless bank card. He says the driver told him to board the bus and so TfL should refund the £6.40
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe:
- it is unlikely we could add to any previous investigation, or
- it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered Mr X’s complaint to the Ombudsman and the information he provided. I also gave Mr X the opportunity to comment on a draft statement before reaching a final decision on his complaint.
What I found
- Mr X says TfL charged him £6.40 for an unpaid fare when he travelled on one of their buses. Mr X says the equipment on the bus would not read his contactless bank card and so the driver told him to board the bus. Mr X says TfL should not charge him the £6.40. In response to the Ombudsman’s enquires, TfL said it had agreed to refund Mr X the £6.40.
- In deciding whether to investigate a complaint, the Ombudsman needs to consider what we can achieve for the person complaining. TfL’s offer to refund the £6.40 is an appropriate remedy. Further consideration of the complaint is unlikely to achieve anything more for Mr X. An investigation by the Ombudsman is not therefore appropriate.
- Mr X is also unhappy with the way TfL has dealt with his complaint. But the Ombudsman will not look at a body’s complaint handling if we are not going to look at the substantive issue complained about. This applies to Mr X’s complaint.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint. This is because consideration of the complaint by the Ombudsman would be unlikely to achieve anything more for Mr X.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman