How to complain about train journeys (or the lack of them!)

All you need to know to complain about trains

How to complain when your train is cancelled

If your train is cancelled you are due a full refund of the ticket price paid. If you still wish to travel you should be able to get on the next train then claim as for a delayed journey (see below). 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 of the ticket price paid.

How to complain when your train is delayed

If you don’t want to travel because of the delay then you should be able to get a full refund of the ticket price paid. It is the time of arrival not the time of departure that is considered. Under the National Rail Conditions of Travel you are entitled to 50% refund for a delay of over 60 minutes. However, most companies now operate a “Delay Repay” scheme, providing compensation for these delays regardless of cause. For most of the companies operating this scheme you will get at least 50% refund  current threshold is a delay of 30+ minutes, but a threshold of 15 minutes is being introduced between now and 2020 and at the point of going to print 9 companies have signed up to this.

Train track

You rights if you don’t travel on a train out of choice

If you choose not to take the train journey for which you booked you should be refunded. It could be, for example, 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 administration fee. The maximum administration fee that the companies can charge is £10.

Season tickets and your rights when trains are cancelled

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 specific company’s Passenger Charter.

Consequential loss when your train is delayed or cancelled train

The National Rail Conditions of Travel (NRCT) state that companies are not liable for consequential losses. For example, If you couldn’t make use of a hotel stay or theatre tickets. However, they do state that companies will consider exceptional cases. Since October 1st 2016 the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) now applies to travel, including trains. Under this act you are entitled to services to be carried out with reasonable skill and care. It would certainly be worth trying to claim using both the CRA and the exceptional circumstances of the NRCT.

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.

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 poor weather circumstances.

Snowing on train

How to claim compensation from train delays and cancellations

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.

For most train companies you can also apply online via the company’s website.

Alternatively you can send the claim to the train company by postal mail. Before you do, take a photo of the tickets just in case they get “lost in the post”!

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.

Your consequential loss rights when you miss a 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 have to use an alternative form of transport. You could consider claiming for consequential losses, as above.

Train emergency timetables and your rights

Some train companies run what they describe as 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 timings of trains according to the new timetable.

What to do if you are not satisfied with a response from the rail company

If you think that the response from a train company is unsatisfactory, read the NRCT and the train company’s Passenger Charter which will have the details of the procedure you should follow. If you are still not happy and your journey was outside of London contact Transport Focus. For London (including under and overground) contact London Travel Watch. If after this you are still not happy you can take the matter to the CEO of Transport Focus or of London Travel Watch.

The Rail Ombudsman

The Rail Ombudsman was launched 26 November 2018. It is funded by the train companies which have all signed up to the service and are obliged to abide by the decisions it makes. You must have reached the end of the provider’s complaints procedure before taking the matter to the Rail Ombudsman.

The Rail Ombudsman can accept claims from England, Scotland and Wales.

Although rail companies are bound by the decision of the Rail Ombudsman, you are not. So, if you are not happy with the outcome and believe you have enough evidence to support a claim, you can go to the Small Claims Court.

 


Train track black and white how to complain about trains cancellations, delays and consequential loss
All you need to know about your consumer rights and travel for more on all travel sectors.

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

Rail delays 2017/2018 and your rights when delayed due to weather

How to complain about weather related delays to trains

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 of trains – your rights

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 to train journeys – your rights

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 by train 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 and train delays – your rights

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.

Train 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 due to delays on trains

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 for train delays and cancellations

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 due to train delays

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 train 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 the response from your train company?

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 train delays and cancellations

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

Other useful rail travel posts

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.

How to complain about train journeys (or the lack of them!) all you need to know about your rights including details about the Rail Ombudsman

Other weather 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 train failure 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!

Top 20 Tips for Complaining Effectively