If you are reading this on your phone on the train, and even if you aren't, the chances are you’ve not only suffered from service delays but also struggled to get a refund from the train companies.
Consumer group Which? today launched a super-complaint asking the government’s office of road and rail to investigate how rail companies handle rail delay refunds, and calling for the process to be simplified.
Which? said only a third of passengers claimed last time their train was cancelled or significantly delayed, and during its mystery-shopper research found that in six out of 10 cases passengers were not informed what compensation they were entitled to. Which? also called for passengers to be offered a cash refund as default, rather than rail vouchers for the operator.
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators and Network Rail, said:
Compensation for delays has become increasingly generous and easy to apply for and is often paid regardless of what caused the delay. Train operators are doing lots more to inform passengers about when they are entitled to claim and how, including more announcements on trains, handing out claim forms or using Twitter and emailing reminders to people who booked online.
Passenger compensation payments overall went up 20 per cent in 2015 and the RDG suggests that there was a 12 per cent increase in customer claims.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said: “Millions of passengers are left out of pocket each year. Train companies must do more to put their passengers first and make rail refunds easier.”