Trains companies face rail refund probe

refund probe into train delays

Train companies face a potential investigation into refunds they pay to passengers for delays amid calls to make it easier for consumers to claim compensation, reports The Telegraph.

Consumer watchdog Which? has filed a so-called super-complaint with the Office of Rail and Road calling on the regulator to investigate refunds, which the majority of companies offer to passengers if their service is at least 30 minutes late.

Which? said it had surveyed nearly 7,000 passengers and found that only 36pc of respondents could recall being told of their rights following their most recent delay. A mystery shopper exercise of 102 stations undertaken by the consumer rights body also found that the information given to passengers on compensation was inadequate.

As a result, Which? wants to make it easier for passengers to seek compensation for late trains and for information on refunds to be made clearer. Under the Enterprise Act 2002, some consumer bodies are allowed to issue super-complaints to regulators, which then have 90 days to publish a response on the issue.

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, 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.”

An ORR spokesman said the regulator’s own research “has shown that passenger awareness of how and when to claim compensation is low” and that it was investigating the complaint. The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operating companies, said: “Compensation for delays has become increasingly generous and easy to apply for and is often paid regardless of what caused the delay.”