Rail firms rewrite compensation guildelines

Train companies can now no longer hide behind misleading terms
Train companies can now no longer hide behind misleading terms
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Train companies are rewriting their conditions of travel following concerns that passengers were being misled over compensation rights.

A warning that operators will not accept liability for a "consequential loss" after delays or cancellations will be removed from the National Rail Conditions of Travel on Sunday.

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Consumer group Which? claimed the section contradicts the Consumer Rights Act (CRA) - which has been in force for the rail industry since October 2016 - and could be unlawful.

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

The organisation accused rail firms of giving incorrect advice as it believes passengers may be able to use the CRA to recoup costs such as taxi fares and hotel bookings.

Which? managing director of public markets, Alex Hayman, 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."

He urged rail firms to "go further" and "proactively inform passengers about their compensation rights".

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

The Rail Delivery Group, representing 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 not provided with reasonable skill and care.

It said in a statement: "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 customers' 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".