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TfL Overcharge Refunds

How to claim if you couldn't tap out - check now

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Jenny | Edited by Steve N

Updated 29 Jan 2018

Reclaim incomplete TfL journeys

In 2015 Transport for London charged passengers a total of £75 million after they failed to tap their card and were charged the maximum fare - on average, there are more than 41,000 such 'incomplete journeys' every day.

Yet there's a quick way to get up to a year's charges refunded, and some have got back £70+. So if you're Barking mad and can't Stanmore, here's our step-by-step guide to getting the cash in your Bank account. You might be owed Morden you think.

Why you may be due a refund

If you use an Oyster card or contactless payment on most TfL services - including the Tube, Docklands Light Railway, London Overground and the Thames Clippers River Bus - or National Rail services within London, you must touch in and out. If not, you'll be charged the maximum fare, usually up to £7.80 and more for a few stations (see a full list of maximum fares).

TfL automatically takes this charge even if it wasn't your fault, eg, because of power cuts, broken machines or station evacuations.

Getting a refund takes just a few minutes, and the amounts aren't trivial:

I followed the steps and found 13 incomplete journey charges. Took me about 10 mins to claim refunds online. TfL got back to me within 3 days and refunded £72. Sweet as a nut!- MSE Damon

I found two incomplete journeys from April and May on my contactless card, I couldn’t believe I missed them! I asked for a refund and TfL refunded me £10 the next day. Brilliant. - MSE Constance

Reclaim incomplete TfL journeys

How to claim a refund

Here's how to quickly check and get a refund online:

Reclaim incomplete TfL journeys

Step 1. Find your incomplete journeys

First log in (or sign up for free) to the TfL website to check your journey history. Link your Oyster, contactless card or Apple Pay to your TfL account if you haven't already.

Then under 'My cards', select the relevant card/account, then 'View journeys and payment history'. Look for journeys with a yellow warning triangle - they're usually incomplete.

With contactless, including Apple Pay, you can view and get refunds for journeys going back 12 months. With Oyster, you can go back eight weeks if you're already registered - otherwise it starts from the day you register.

Step 2. Apply for a refund

Click a journey with a yellow triangle and it should say: "You may have been charged a maximum fare for this journey because we have no record of where you touched in/out." Just fill in the form below with your journey info and explain why you didn’t touch out, then submit your claim.

The official rule is you must've failed to tap out for reasons outside your control (power cuts, broken machines or station evacuations, etc), though we've heard TfL can be lenient on this, so it may be worth a punt anyway.

Step 3. Claim for multiple incomplete journeys

The above system uses TfL's incomplete journey form, which you can only use three times every calendar month. To claim for multiple journeys without waiting, you have to use the ‘Contact us about this journey’ tab, which is next to each incomplete journey.

Ask for a refund, explaining what went wrong and where you should have touched out.

Remember - NEVER lie. That's fraud. Currently, TfL doesn't appear to be verifying every claim (though it says it has systems to flag suspicious claims).

But never be tempted to lie or stretch the truth when making a claim, for example by saying your trip ended in Zone 2 rather than Zone 6. That's fraud and could potentially mean a prison sentence - for a similar example with train fares, see this Barrister sentenced for fare dodge BBC news story.

Incomplete journey refund Q&As

  • Can I apply for a refund over the phone?

  • How will I get my refund?

  • How are refunds calculated?

  • What if I didn't tap in?

  • I got an 'automatic refund' for an incomplete journey - what's this?

  • What if my claim’s rejected?

Claimed for an incomplete journey overcharge? If you're Clapham and cheering after a refund, please let us know in the TfL Refund discussion.

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