An iPhone app to put the fear of God into London Underground

[UK] Anything that makes the form-filling associated with claiming a refund less tedious is a win for consumers. But it’s also a potential nightmare for governments and companies that provide the services we rely on. Les paper work, more claims.

Enter Tube Refund, an iPhone app that aims to significantly reduce the time and effort it takes to file for a refund for a delayed train journey on London’s Underground (metro).

The app utilizes the iPhone’s form filling functionality to complete the refund form and then submit it to London Underground’s website with “almost no work from the user”, after the initial set-up at least. A user’s main details are stored in the app so that to make a claim requires only a few extra details thereafter, such as the station and time of scheduled travel and when the actual train arrived. A delay of over 15 minutes on London Underground qualifies for a refund.

As well as making the form filling easier, Tube Refund could also help solve the problem of actually remembering to file the claim itself. Because the iPhone is carried with you, it’s arguably more likely that you’ll get around to submitting a claim as soon as you arrive or possibly during the actual journey.

The company behind Tube Refund says that there were approximately 1,996 delays across the tube network in 2009 (which works out to 38 delays a week), therefore the app, which costs 59p, could pay for itself pretty quickly.

A quick search in the iTunes App Store reveals that Tube Refund isn’t the only iPhone app to tackle this problem – iRefund (iTunes link) also does the same job, although appears to be getting less favorable user reviews.