Millions to get compensation for train delays?

train The folks over at Which!!! have thrown a 'super complaint' at the rail industry, requesting that the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) looks at the issue of compensation and the procedures of train delays.

According to the watchdog, around 47 million passenger journeys were cancelled or significantly late in the 12 months to March. While most companies offer money for services that are delayed by at least half an hour, according to the figures from Which!!!, they state that only 34% of those may actually be able to make a claim where they get something in return.

"Current proposals to improve compensation for passengers are too far down the track,” said Which!!! honcho Richard Lloyd. "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."

What they did, was to get a number of people to act as mystery shoppers, asking basic questions to get refunds at 102 train stations. Full explanations were given in only 18% of cases, while in 63%, mystery shoppers weren't told that they could request their compensation in non-voucher form, such as a cheque.

The ORR have issued a statement, which has said that the rail industry has taken "positive steps" toward sorting all this out, such as issuing a code of practice which aims to give clearer info to passengers wanting to get a refund. They did admit that their own research shows "passenger awareness of how and when to claim compensation is low".

They added: "We will be assessing whether more could and should be done for passengers as we investigate this complaint."

Of course, there is a new system where you're supposed to be able to get automatic refunds for delayed trains, but this isn't a system that is in place right across the board, with some train companies still employing old, confusing, and slow methods.

Something is going to have to be done about this super-complaint though - thanks to the Enterprise Act, certain bodies are now able to issue these complaints when it is deemed that the interests of consumers are being significantly harmed. With that, the ORR has to respond to the questions posed by Which!!! within 90 days.

Have a look at the Bitterwallet guide to getting compensation for your train journey.

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