I'm delighted to announce that, following my second letter of complaint, First Great Western have decided that they should in fact refund the £12.00 my friend and I were forced to spend on a taxi because we were left stranded at the side of the road in the early hours when a replacement bus service never arrived. That'll serve them right for directing my attention to their now notorious so-called "Conditions of Carriage" (CoC), which, following a quick read, proved that they did after all have some small semblance of responsibility to get me home. Fancy that.
Since writing my second complaint letter, I have also read First Great Western's Complaints Handling Policy (another interesting document available on the company's website), and I feel I should give you a bit of a tip - it's always worth complaining twice, because the second complaint is handled by a manager, ie: someone who has the power to actually give you a refund rather than parrotting you sections from the CoC which go something like "I'm sorry, we actually don't give a monkeys whether you had a bad journey or not you prole. You mean nothing to me. My company made billions of pounds in profit last year, so I'm off for a dip in the champagne hot tub, so there." I think it was something like that anyway, I've mislaid the first letter, so can't go back and check. Anyway people, get complaining. There's nothing like several tonnes of paper hitting the complaints desk to raise attention that we're not altogether happy with the way things are. And they really really want us to be happy apparently. I quote: "We believe that customer service is key in everything we do. We know that it is the little things we do that make all the difference in delivering excellent customer service". Yes, those little things, like not providing enough carriages on the trains, or bothering to try very hard to run them on time, that kind of thing. Put pen to paper, immediately!