Online ticket retailers and fees


Our research and findings on the transparency of online rail ticket fees.

March 2024 update

On 12 March we issued a press notice providing an update on our engagement with retailers in relation to the transparency of their fees.

We have had constructive and positive engagement from the seven retailers we wrote to with our concerns in December 2023. We have published our correspondence with them below. In their responses, some retailers said they have already made changes, while others have committed to do so later this year.

We will monitor progress with implementation of the changes and will hold the companies to account.

December 2023 review

On 11 December we carried out a review of 40 online rail ticket retailers’ websites and apps including train operators and third-party retailers (TPRs). The purpose of the review was to explore the transparency of fees charged by retailers to consumers who choose to buy their rail tickets via a digital platform.

We focussed on four main fee types:

  • booking fees, charged by many but not all TPRs
  • finder’s fees, charged by TPRs who offer a split ticketing service (split ticketing is where a journey is broken into sections, with a separate ticket for each part)
  • fulfilment fees, charged by some retailers for some options for receiving tickets by post or by ticket vending machine
  • refund fees, charged for cancelling or amending a ticket

We presented our findings in a report published in December 2023.

Next steps

We have written to seven retailers where we had the most concerns that their current practices could be harming consumers. We set out our concerns, asked the retailers to tell us more about the rationale for their current approach, and have asked them to make improvements. We have requested responses in January 2024. We plan to publish our letters, and the retailers’ responses, on this webpage.