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Oyster refund experience....cash only

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Idaho Falls, Idaho
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Oyster refund experience....cash only

I purchased the Oyster with my credit card and when I returned it with 4.25 pounds balance, the gentleman would only give me cash back (9.25 pounds total including the 5.00 pound deposit) I asked him to credit my card as I didn't want cash because we were heading to LHR to fly home & had no use for pounds (and we still had some leftover to use up)

He told me they only give cash back and could not credit my card! I tried to pursue it a bit more, he finally said he could have credited me back the 4.25 pound balance but not the 5.00 deposit, but since he already put the cash down, he couldn't do anything else.

This was really quite frustrating & ended up costing me much more than just buying 2 paper travel cards!

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Oyster refund experience....cash only

Well you can use the £ to buy gifts for those at home at the airport (people I work with got some "exotic" chocolate and were appreciative).

You could also go to a currency exchange kiosk and get $ you could use at home later. While you might lose a little bit to a poor exchange rate, it probably isn't much of a loss.

I understand that maybe this is a tiny hassle to you, but if this was the worst thing to happen on a trip I'd consider it to be a pretty great trip. Compared to the large costs of airfare, hotels, attractions and food on an international trip £9 that you couldn't immediately redeem in $ is next to nothing to worry much about.

I think it's pretty great that transit for London refunds the cost or deposit on Oyster cards. There are some transit systems that don't. I honestly don't blame the worker for perhaps being a bit exasperated since you're in someone else's country, so you should expect refunds to be in that country's currency not in your own. You presumably got charged in pounds and got pounds back as your refund.

I honestly can't work up a lot of outrage or sympathy for you over such a minor thing.

Idaho Falls, Idaho
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2. Re: Oyster refund experience....cash only

Sorry, I guess I didn't make my comment quite clear. After much research, I understood if the Oyster card balance upon return is under 10 pounds, you are refunded the way you pay.(cash or credit card) I was only looking to be refunded, in pounds of course, to my credit card the way I originally paid.( I was not trying to say that I expected a refund in U.S. dollars.) Though the 18 pounds (2 of us) is really not a lot, we are budget travellers and actually had free airfare, stay at hostels or shared bath lodgings and try to spend wisely.

I just want others to be aware that if they're trying to budget or plan their transportation costs, that Oyster Cards are not necessarily refunded the way they're originally paid for.

And though I'm not looking for sympathy, I agree that if this is the worst that happens it's not so bad!

Hitchin, United...
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3. Re: Oyster refund experience....cash only

"I just want others to be aware that if they're trying to budget or plan their transportation costs, that Oyster Cards are not necessarily refunded the way they're originally paid for."

According to TfL policy they *should* be, I think the most likely thing here is that you've dealt with a ticket window agent who for some reason (inexperience, distracted, inept?) didn't follow TfL's standard rule. I suppose there's no allowing for that, but I have asked various ticket agents over the last couple of years and the policy is as we give it here, i.e. that the refund will be by the method you paid, *unless* payment methods (including top ups) were mixed in which case it's usually a cash refund.

Sorry that you found the info here contrary to your own experience but it is unusual. Just bad luck on the day I think.

UK
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4. Re: Oyster refund experience....cash only

I think its a good piece of info for other travellers but DiverMom are you saying you didnt intend to spend *anything* at Heathrow at all in the time you were waiting for your plane?

I'd have thought most people would have no trouble spending it on a book, a magazine, a coffee, a snack, something in a shop?

How were you heading back to Heathrow BTW? Not on the tube (obviously?) Did you have a free ride or something???

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Oyster refund experience....cash only

This makes sense. Sorry if my post was a bit negative. We were given cash, too, even though all of our oyster purchase transactions were by credit card. I just figured it was how it was done, for whatever reason. Maybe because of credit card fees or hassles they wanted to avoid.

We bought a meal and some chocolate at the airport since we had hours to kill before our flight and some extra £. We ended up with only £1.51 in our pockets on arriving home.

We still have €10 left from a year ago when we went to Italy and just figured we would use it one day when returning to the rest of Europe. We can always hope, anyway. ;-)

London
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6. Re: Oyster refund experience....cash only

There are charity bins at all LHR terminals where you can leave small amounts of cash (any currency) after perhaps buying a coffee/food/gift/etc.

Edited: 09 October 2012, 11:48
Osaka, Japan
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7. Re: Oyster refund experience....cash only

I wonder if an Oyster Card was dropped into one of the charity bins if they would be able to deal with it and collect the deposit and any remaining balance.

TravellerPlus mentioned that there TFL charity collection booths for Oyster Cards at major tube stations, but I don't see that as the best place to collect them for that purpose. The airport (and St. Pancras International) would seem ideal. I usually only drop in what coins I have left, since I live in a major city where notes are readily exchangeable, but if I had a choice between giving my Oyster Card with £5+ on it to charity and bringing it home with me.

Right now I think a paper Travel Card will work best for us, but that could change depending on the 2-4-1 offers and the trouble to go to a National Rail station with a photo. If we do end up going with a PAYG Oyster, I am almost positive that we will not have time to get a refund at St. Pancras.

Cork, Ireland
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8. Re: Oyster refund experience....cash only

<<I think its a good piece of info for other travellers but DiverMom are you saying you didnt intend to spend *anything* at Heathrow at all in the time you were waiting for your plane? >>

DiverMom says in her original post that she already had some leftover cash to use up while she was at the airport.

I agree it's a bit annoyed that they didn't refund you on to your credit card. £18 is a lot when converted back to US dollars. Thanks for pointing this out, must make sure I try and use all my credit on my visit next month.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Oyster refund experience....cash only

<< We still have €10 left from a year ago when we went to Italy and just figured we would use it one day when returning to the rest of Europe. >>

You better hurry back then whle the Euro is still worth something/still exists.

BTW Holodan. Congratulatons on finding the £ and € keys. Not many Americans manage that.

Edited: 09 October 2012, 18:16
10. Re: Oyster refund experience....cash only

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