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Which? launches super-complaint on delay refunds

On December 19 2015, a Virgin Trains East Coast Edinburgh Waverley-London King’s Cross express passes Hambleton, Yorkhire. LES NIXON.

Consumer body Which? launched a super-complaint to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) on December 21 about claimed inadequacies of refunds to passengers when trains are delayed.

A mystery shopper exercise conducted by Which? found that only one in five of the mystery shoppers was given a full explanation of the conditions for claiming a refund in the event of a delay or cancellation of a train. A further survey of almost 7,000 passengers found that only 34% who were entitled to had made a claim to train operating companies, and just 36% recalled being informed of their rights after their last delay.

The exercise also found that in almost three in five cases a mystery shopper left one of 102 stations surveyed not knowing what compensation they were entitled to, that in 64% of cases they were not told they could request compensation in an alternative form to vouchers, and that in 37% of visits researchers were given no or partial information on how long a delay needs to be before a refund is due.

Which? Executive Director Richard Lloyd said: “Current proposals to improve compensation for passengers are too far down the track. Even if an automatic compensation system was included in all new franchises from tomorrow, it would take until at least 2025 to cover the whole network. Millions of passengers are left out of pocket each year, so train companies must do more to put their passengers first and make rail refunds easier.”

  • For more on this, read RAIL 791, published on January 6.

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