Wednesday 21 December 2016

Train Companies Making It Hard To Make Claim Compensation


Rail companies are making it extremely difficult in order to claiming compensation.

It said only half of eligible passengers were satisfied with the speed of response to their claims and one quarter of those who did got a reply then had to prompt the company about a payout.

Only 35 per cent of passengers claim compensation for disruption though that is up from 12 per cent three years ago.

Trains firms paid out £45 million to delayed passengers in England Wales last year.

But those same firms received £105 million from Network Rail for unplanned disruption such as infrastructure faults, vandalism and bad weather.

The Office of Rail and Road spoke out as 300,000 commuters faced disruption form the latest strike on the shambolic Southern network between London and the South Coast.

At the same time Tory MP Tim Loughton launched a private member’s bill to make it easier for passengers to get compensation.

He told MPs passengers should find it easier to claim compensation rather than being told to “like it or lump it”.

His bill would establish a rail ombudsman to oversee a simplified scheme aimed at also hitting train operators harder financially to act as an incentive to improve services.

He told MPs 47 million passenger journeys were cancelled or significantly late in 2015 and he labelled the existing complaints and compensation processes as “simply not fit for purpose”.

He said: “The problem currently is the passenger can like it or lump it.

“The complaints procedure largely relies on the goodwill of the train operating company beyond the minimum delay repay obligations if they accept the application at all.”

Mr Loughton said he had met a company which has developed an app which automatically lodges compensation claims where appropriate with the money paid directly to a bank account without the need for paperwork.

The ORR’s report was in response to a super complaint from consumer body Which? last December which said that most passengers are not aware of or don not apply for compensation.

The ORR said there had been “generally good progress” but warned “In spite of progress there are also specific gaps that still need to be addressed.”

Among problems highlighted by the ORR are:

  • Greater Anglia not having a PDF delay claim form on its website

  • Chiltern Railways not offering a dedicated online claim process

  • Merseyrail not providing a dedicated paper claims form

  • Transpennine Express not including a direct link to compensation information on the homepage of its website

  • Caledonian Sleeper not producing a dedicated information poster or contact card.

ORR’s director of railway markets and economics, John Larkinson, said: “It’s clear the rail industry is committed to making improvements and the majority of train companies have updated their websites, claim forms and claim processes.

"However, some have only made minimal changes.



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