Full steam ahead to a better consumer deal for Rail passengers

It’s good news for rail passengers today, as their rights are boosted by the Consumer Rights Act, giving a much better deal on compensation for delays, cancellations and overcrowding.

When the Consumer Rights Act 2015 was implemented on 1st October last year, Sea, Rail and Air were made exempt from its conditions.

In April last year the Government back-stepped and decided that from October 1st 2016 that Ferries and Airlines would also be included but had delayed Rail until 2017. However, following the Which? campaign to “Make Rail Refunds Easier”, Rail will now be covered from the 1st October 2016.

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Key new rights for rail travel

  • Passengers are entitled to have their compensation paid within 14 days.
  • Compensation must be issued by the same method the passenger paid with, rather than with vouchers that some train companies currently use.
  • Passengers are entitled to payment for additional consequential losses, such as missed connections.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow consumer rights blogger and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!  says that it will be interesting to see how the companies deal with the changes. “Many of us might say that the companies will try and get out of compensating customers and hope that people won’t know their new legal rights! We need to ensure that people are aware of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and that they use it when they receive poor service and/or delays.”

Passengers should quote the Act, describe the journey times and length of delay and contact the relevant train company. Dewdney will be watching closely to see if train companies compensate for overcrowding. She believes that the companies will not compensate and is watching out for the first person to take legal action through the Small Claims Court.

3 Simple Steps to Gain Compensation for Train Delays – more information on how to claim for delays.

Tips on complaining effectively

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! Advice, guidance, information, stories, templates and your rights!

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