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

If 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.

If 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

If you don’t travel 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

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 from a 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.

Missed connection consequences

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

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.

Not satisfied with 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

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Guide to saving money when getting to the airport

You need to factor in the cost of airport parking versus any form of getting to the airport when booking a holiday. Last year when booking a holiday I looked at the same holiday departing from two different airports. It was actually cheaper from Southend airport than Gatwick. However, before booking I checked the cost of car parking and once that (and the same driving time) was factored in, it was cheaper to go from Gatwick.

So how can you make sure you don’t get stung and end up paying more than you might otherwise need to do!

1)Always do your research on the cost of travel – do the flight times mean that public transport is out of the question? Would altering the flight times make a difference to overall cost even if the cost of the flight goes up?

2) Use comparison sites for airports as well as looking direct as prices can vary enormously.

3) Use cashback sites like *Topcashback to get money back on the cost.

4) Sign up for emails – sometimes you can get good discount codes in advance of booking your holiday, but always check with and without.

5) Clear your cookies each time you go back to a site so the cost doesn’t go up.

6) Look at getting a taxi it could be cheaper.

7) Book the car park as much in advance as possible, prices tend to go up nearer the date of flight.

8) Check terms and conditions, do you want to pay a few quid extra for free cancellation for example?

9) Make sure you are comparing like with like, e.g. off airport parking, local sites, meet and greet, transfer times etc.

10) Most car parks book within 24 hour periods so give yourself leeway in case the flight is late coming back which will mean you will avoid a possible late arrival fee.

11) Check out other places to park, could be someone rents out their parking space outside their house, or it’s cheaper to park at a train station!

12) Consider a hotel which offers parking, sometimes when you take public transport instead of driving and parking it may be cheaper.

In order to avoid any possible issues, take photos of the car before you leave your keys including one of the mileage. If you do it will be much easier to complain to gain redress. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 the car park must provide services with reasonable skill and care. If it does not do so then you are entitled to redress.

cars parked in open space

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