Penalty Fare Support has published some screenshots via their Twitter account of a briefing document for extending travel by Oyster / contactless bank card to Gatwick.
There is concern that the system will be confusing for both staff and customers. The first item in the FAQs seems to suggest that paper tickets may be cheaper than Oyster / contactless bank card.
There is also scope for passengers to be charged the wrong fare if they travel on a standard train from Gatwick to London Victoria that ends up at platforms 13/14. These platforms are normally reserved for the more expensive Gatwick Express and a premium price is charged by the barriers when exiting at those platform gates.
Unless staff are showing an exceptional level of proactive customer care (not my general experience!) – e.g. guiding passengers to alternative gates – then those passengers will be charged the higher price belonging to the Gatwick Express even though they did not use the service.
Despite the concerns above, the extension of Oyster to cover Gatwick is a good thing.
Previously Consumer Lookout highlighted how tourists who had not understood that Gatwick was outside the Oyster zone may be stung by Penalty Fares issued by greedy revenue protection officers, keener on topping up their salary than exercising the appropriate discretion in the case of genuine misunderstanding.