Trains Change Refund Rules: Did Delays Cost You More?

Elizabeth Elden
9th March 2018, 8:00 AM
  • Rail firms are changing rules on compensation
  • Many have been criticised for misleading customers
  • Should now be easier to claim money back
Rail firms are changing their compensation rules so it’ll be easier to claim. Image: Getty

Train companies are rewriting their conditions of travel, following concerns that passengers were being misled over their compensation rights.

Many operators previously said that they will not accept liability for “consequential loss” after delays or cancellations, but this is now going to be removed.

Consumer group Which? claimed the section contradicts the Consumer Rights Act, which was introduced to rail companies in 2016.

The organisation accused rail firms of giving incorrect advice, as it believes that passengers pay be able to use the CRA to recoup costs such as taxi fares and hotel bookings that have been needed after a train has been cancelled.

  • Again, you can now claim extra compensations for financial losses incurred as a result of train delays.

Alex Hayman, managing director of public markets at Which?, said, “For over a year, train companies have been misleading passengers about their rights to claim for out-of-pocket expenses when they have failed to deliver a good service.

“Train companies can now no longer hide behind misleading terms to avoid paying passengers.”

Rail passengers should be able to claim compensation after a disruption through the delay repay scheme, which entitles them to pay outs based on the length of the delay, the type of ticket, and the operator responsible.

Each rail company has a different policy, so make sure you check which one applies before claiming.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies, said anyone claiming additional consequential losses through the CRA would have to pass a “very high legal hurdle” by proving a train service was no provided with reasonable skill and care.

A spokesperson said, “Train companies are sorry whenever journeys are disrupted and we have been happy to work with the Government and the regulator to make clearer our customer’s rights.

“Nevertheless, it is important for our customers to understand that it is very unlikely they will be entitled to compensation for additional losses.

“Compensation is becoming increasingly generous and easy to claim, which is why payments have increased five-fold in five years to £74 million.”

Rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road described the update to the conditions of travel as a “welcome clarification”.

Network Rail have also been working to improve customer’s experience, by getting rid of the charge to use loos in stations across the UK.

However, customers are now having to pay more anyway for their rail fares, as prices were increased this year.

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