The Eagle for many years has highlighted that the Customer still does not exist when it comes to Rail Travel in the UK which mile-for-mile is the most expensive in the world. Customers have been hit by a draconian Penalty Fares Regime, above inflation fare increases, less choice and barriers when they need to get money back under limited “”Customer Charter” rights which companies don’t want to tell you about. Indeed you will find precious few posters on these “rights” anywhere on the UK Rail System and getting refunds is inconsistent from operator to operator. If you arrive late at Marylebone Station on the Chiltern Line for instance you won’t find a refund form, you have to fill in a Passenger Comment Form. Want to find out your Customer Charter Rights? – under their Franchise Agreements Train Operators should issue a guide at ticket offices. The last three times I queued up at Marylebone I was told they did not have a copy.
Most train passengers are unaware of their rights to compensation after cancellations or delays, the rail regulator has said. As many as 75% of those using Britain’s railways do not know enough about claiming money back, said the study for the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR). For example, passengers choosing not to travel after a delay or cancellation are entitled to a full refund. In response, the industry admitted that more needed to be done – well after 20 years of private profiteering that is an understatement.
In addition to being unaware of their rights, the study found that 74% of passengers thought train operators did not do enough to inform people about how to claim compensation. Some passengers said such information should be displayed more prominently on websites or posters.
“We want to see that passengers are treated fairly, receive the quality of service they pay for, and when this is not the case, can hold their service providers to account,” said Anna Walker, the chairperson of the ORR.
These are your rights:
If your train is cancelled or delayed, and you choose not to travel, you can claim
Even if you travel, you may be entitled to compensation
If train is one hour late, you are entitled to a minimum 20% refund on a single ticket
Compensation may not be paid in the event of vandalism or bad weather
Claims need to be made within 28 days
Compensation is usually paid in vouchers, valid for one year
Ten companies offer “delay repay,” where compensation is available after a 30-minute delay
You will find having submitted a claim the Rail Companies will handle it in the most indolent way possible, taking at least five weeks to process. You will also find they will look for the maximum wiggle room to get out of their obligations, so much so the ATOC dance is a blur compared to the sedentary Ryanair Customer Service (sic) Jig. Finally to add considerable insult to injury you will not get a cash refund even though the Rail Companies demand money up front with menaces from you to travel. Now they will only refund your hard cash with vouchers from the company store which you can use to travel ONLY on their system within one year – a fat lot of good if you are a Season Ticket holder or a one off traveller on that line. If Dear Customer you think this is designed to discourage you claiming in the first place you are 100% correct.
For The Eagle’s Guide to combating the equally unfair and draconian Penalty Fares regime click on this link:
Penalty Fares – Fair to Passengers?