Travel Services

The Consumer Council

From 1 October 2016, travel services came under The Consumer Rights Act 2015. This means you may be able to claim compensation for poor service on transport services.

Travel service

When you pay to travel by train, coach or ferry you have purchased a service. The provider must perform this service with “reasonable care and skill”. If this has not occurred, you may be able to claim back up to 100% of the price you paid for your travel. If you feel the travel service you have received falls below the standard you would normally expect, you may be entitled to claim a partial or full refund in the following circumstances:

  • A severely overcrowded train because the train has run with fewer carriages than are normally available;
  • A service is delayed for less than the time limit that applies under the company’s compensation schemes;
  • Unavailability of a seat that you have paid for (e.g. a reserved seat, or first-class service);
  • A consistently late running service if you have bought a season ticket;
  • Failure to provide access to a toilet on longer journeys;
  • Failure to provide food on a train journey if it was described as part of the service; or
  • The Wi-Fi service that you have paid for does not work.

In all these cases, you will need to provide evidence with your claim. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 recognises there are some things that are likely to be outside of a travel company’s control such as:

  • Acts or threats of vandalism or terrorism;
  • Suicides or accidents involving trespassers;
  • Gas leaks or fires beside a railway/ road;
  • Road or rail closures due to the request of the police or emergency services;
  • Exceptionally severe weather conditions;
  • Industrial action;
  • Riots or civil commotion;
  • Fire, mechanical or electrical failure or a defect (except where caused by a train/coach company); or
  • The striking of a bridge by a vehicle.

Claiming for consequential loss

Under The Consumer Rights Act’s travel amendments, you can claim for any financial losses you have suffered as a result of the failure by the transport service. To make a successful claim you will need to demonstrate in writing to the transport company how your losses are linked to a breach of contract by the service provider

Getting your refund

If you are successful in claiming a refund or damages for consequential loss, this must be paid within 14 days and in the same form you paid for the service. So, if you paid in cash, you should be refunded in cash.

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