Left out in the cold by a rail company? Your rights

Rail delays 2017/2018

Well the Winter of 2018 huh? Pretty cold and pretty snowy! Lots of trains delayed and some stuck in the snow for hours. In some cases it probably couldn’t be helped but even in these cases it doesn’t mean you won’t get redress. It is about knowing your rights. So what are they?

Update – now the problems on new timetabling May 2018. Your rights however are the same!

snow on train track Left out in the cold by a rail company - your rights

Cancellations

If your train is cancelled you are due a full refund. If you still wish to travel you should be able to get on the next train then claim as for a delayed journey. If you have a date and time restricted ticket you may not be able to get on a later train. You should check with the station staff before travelling who will be able to advise. If you don’t travel due to the cancellation you are entitled to a full refund.

Delays

If you don’t want to travel because of the delay then you should be able to get a full refund. Under the National Rail Conditions of Travel you are entitled to 50% refund for a delay of 60 minutes. It is the time of arrival not the time of departure that is considered. Most companies now operate “Delay Repay” providing compensation for these delays regardless of cause. For most of the companies operating this scheme you will get at least 50% refund if you arrive more than 15 minutes late. For others it will be 30 minutes late, but not all!

Not travelling out of choice

Could be that an event to which you were travelling was cancelled so you didn’t want to travel. Or any reason! So long as it wasn’t an Advance ticket you should be able to get a refund minus an admin fee. The maximum admin fee that the companies can charge is £10.

Season tickets

Different train companies operate different policies. You will need to check with the relevant company. You will need to submit a claim for each journey rather than a discount at renewal. The amount paid will depend on the company’s Passenger Charter.

Companies saying weather related you aren’t entitled?

If this does happen tell them they are wrong! In September 2013, The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that rail passengers are entitled to a partial refund of the price of their train ticket even in these circumstances.

Snowing on train

Consequential loss

Well here is interesting! The National Rail Conditions of Travel (NRCT) state that companies are not liable for consequential loss. (If you couldn’t make use of a hotel stay or theatre tickets for example.) However, they do state that companies will consider exceptional cases. But even more interesting, is that since October 1st 2016 the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) kicked in for travel, including trains. Under this Act you are entitled to services to be carried out with reasonable skill and care. When I asked a few companies about their interpretation of the Act in January 2017, 4 of them gave their views. It is certainly worth trying to claim using both the CRA and the exceptional circumstances of the NRCT. I hope that if a company refuse to pay out for consequential loss that someone soon will take the matter to the Small Claims Court under the CRA. Come back and tell me if you are going to be the one to do it!

On 10 March 2016 the National Rail Conditions of Travel finally removed the warning that operators will not accept liability for a “consequential loss” after delays or cancellations.

How to claim

If you don’t use your ticket to make all or part of your journey take the unused ticket to any train company’s ticket office and receive an immediate refund.

You can usually apply online via the rail company’s website.

Alternatively you can send the claim to the train company. Before you do, take a photo of the tickets just in case they get “lost in the post”! If you are claiming for consequential loss follow these Tips for making you complaint effective.

Make sure you claim within 28 days of the date of travel.

Find your company on the National Rail Enquiries page which will take you to the relevant page.

Missed connection

If you have missed a connecting train due to the cancellation or delay, you can claim a refund for the unused part of the journey should you not go on a later train or use an alternative form of transport. Consequential losses for this as above.

Emergency timetables

Some services ran an emergency timetable. In these instances it is possible that this may affect what you can claim. If you bought your ticket before the new timetable was put in place and decide not to travel then you can claim a full refund as above. However, should you travel and be delayed then the level of compensation will be based on the new timetable.

Not satisfied with response?

Email addresses for CEOs of UK railway companies with links to Delay Repay where applicable.

If you think that the response is unsatisfactory read the NRCT and the train company’s Passenger Charter which will have the details of the procedure you should follow. If still not happy and your journey was outside of London contact Transport Focus. For London (including under and overground) contact London Travel Watch. If still not happy you can take the matter to the CEO of Transport Focus or London Travel Watch (contact details from ceoemail.com) and after that the Local Government Ombudsman. It is hoped that soon the Railway Ombudsman will start.

A note about Southeastern

On its website Southeastern has provided a statement regarding passengers caught up in the disruption due to the weather. It is doubling Delay Repay for delays between  Tuesday 27 February to Friday 2 March inclusive. This is for delays 30 minutes or more. It also states that it will be offering additional compensation for the poor experience so is certainly worth trying to claim for consequential loss as above.

Keeping up to date with delays and cancellations

The National Rail Service website will give you up to date information on delays and cancellations.

Other useful rail travel posts

Stronger consumer rights against rail companies delayed again This provides more information

Taken for a ride. Passenger complaints are up (& how you can get redress) Transport Focus announced in february 2018 that their latest National Rail Passenger Survey showed that only a third were happy with their last journey. More Statistics in this post and ways to complain.

Are you on the right track with your Christmas train travel plans? Information regarding cancellations by rail companies forcing passengers to pay walk up fares as cheaper tickets for buying in advance were not released.

Rail Ombudsman is finally coming down the tracks – consultation closing soon information about the proposed Rail Ombudsman including decisions and consultation responses.

Other related posts

Freezing energy problems? Your rights all you need to know all the information you need for complaining about aspects of service provided by energy companies.

20 Top Tips for complaining effectively. 
How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS! for more information, tips, advice, guidance and template letters.

 

 

 

Bonus story!

Came across this guy  “One man on a crusade against the universe. Suing my enemies one company at a time.” Who, man after my own heart, also loves going to court. (My favourite time of going to court was suing Tesco of course!)

Delay repay is so yesterday….what’s new is how to sue….and this is how you DOO. It’s long and very detailed but really rather brilliant. He won going to court, and he’s produced quite a guide if you want to take a train company to court!

Taken for a ride. Passenger complaints are up (& how you can get redress)

Picture of a train 2/3 rail commuters unhappy

Transport Focus announced today that their latest National Rail Passenger Survey showed that only a third were happy with their last journey.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said:

“For passengers, it’s all about performance – these value for money scores reflect patchy reliability. In London and the South East, Southern, Thameslink and Southeastern passengers have felt performance pick up. However, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Arriva Trains Wales passengers, among others, have been buffeted by poorer performance.”

The survey, which included more than 27,000 passengers, showed that satisfaction has dropped to 75% overall and to 64% for South Western Railway. These results contrast starkly with Thameslink, where satisfaction is up 13%, one assumes due to the increase in investment by the company.

“Train companies and Network Rail need to keep to their basic promises and deliver a relentless focus on day-to-day performance and better information during disruption”, said Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus.

Penny Thompson, blogger at Pennyssavings.com  agrees. “Despite really mucking it up when things go wrong, the new 12-car Thameslink trains really have been an improvement. Yes, services are still busy, but those extra carriages have made a difference, as have the in-train information systems which show you live data on the passenger loading across the carriages.”Train trackI’m not surprised by the results. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that investment in the railways will improve the service! Although many people moan about rail services, they don’t complain to the companies and get the redress to which they are entitled. If more people did this then at least they would get some recompense and send a strong message out to these companies.

Network Rail compensates train operators for delays due to track problems which are their fault. But the companies do not hand over this compensation to the customers who were inconvenienced. So, what do we need to make sure we get redress in the easiest way possible?

Here are your rights and tips for getting redress:

1.The Consumer Rights Act 2015 covers rail travel, so you can complain about more than just delays! If that journey was provided with poor service and therefore without “reasonable skill and care”, according to the law, write and complain!

2.Passengers are entitled to have their compensation paid within 14 days, issued by the same method the passenger used to pay for the ticket.

3.Keep your tickets as evidence and take a copy if you have to post them.

4.Make a note of your journey: Date, time, where travelling from/to and how long you’ve been delayed at the time, before you forget!

5.Make a note of the reason given by the train company for the delay.

6.Check how long you have to claim, it is usually up to 28 days.

7.Passengers can claim for any length of delay. If you suffer repeated delays of less than half an hour or overcrowding due to an unexpected lack of carriages, you might get money back if you take your case to court. Currently, no compensation is offered for delays less than 30 minutes.

8.Where a service has not been provided with “reasonable skill and care”, passengers will now have a right to a refund of up to the full ticket price.

9.Put your complaint (unless web based delay/cancellation refund) in writing so that you have a record.

10.You don’t need a third party company to claim for you, just like claiming for delayed airline flights. Instead, do it yourself and get 100% of the refund.

11.If the issue was within the company’s control, be objective, succinct and clear in outlining the issue that occurred.

12.Make it clear what you want to happen as an outcome and what you will do if you are not satisfied with the response (e.g. take it further through Transport Focus or if inside London, London Travel Watch or the Small Claims Court.

13.If you are still not satisfied with the response, write to the CEO of the train operator using contact details from the Ceoemail.com The matter will then be escalated and taken seriously.

14.It may also be possible to claim from your credit card company under Section  75 if the cost of the ticket was more than £100.

Transport Focus press release in full

Key results of the survey:

• overall 81 per cent of passengers nationally were satisfied with their journey (73 per cent for commuters)
• satisfaction with punctuality is up to 74 per cent – this figure drops to 65 per cent for commuters
• value for money ratings continue below the half-way mark, at 47 per cent (down to 33 per cent for commuters)
• satisfaction with how well delays are handled is at 38 per cent overall (30 per cent for commuters)
• in Scotland 85 per cent of passengers were satisfied with their journey
• highest-scoring operators were Grand Central (96 per cent), Hull Trains (95 per cent), Virgin Trains East Coast (92 per cent), Virgin Trains West Coast and Heathrow Express, both with 91 per cent satisfaction
• lowest-scored were Southern (72 per cent), TfL Rail (75 per cent), South Western Railway (75 per cent), Great Northern (77 per cent), Arriva, Trains Wales and Great Western Railway, both with 79 per cent
• TransPennine Express passengers were the least satisfied with the level of crowding on their train, at 58 per cent.

Rail delay compensation – Light at the end of the tunnel?

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

For more consumer rights, laws, advice, information and templates for this and other sectors GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!