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Rail Strikes and our Consumer Rights

Hi All,

I, along with thousands of others, was caught up in the December South Western Railway strikes. I hold a season ticket (c.£4,000 a year!), and feel that the reduced service offered in this period falls foul of the requirement for services to be 'as described'. During the strike period, I either avoided travelling, or had to put up with queues, crowds, no seats and a timetable that meant significantly longer journeys.

Season ticket holders are being offered no remediation (to my knowledge). Trains largely ran as per the reduced timetable, so limited compensation is available via Delay Repay, as it's measured against the strike timetable, not the normal timetable.

It's barely worth complaining to South Western Railway as they've made their position clear, always directing people to Delay Repay. I also note that the Rail Ombudsman specifically excludes strikes from issues they'll hear complaints about.

It seems totally wrong to me that SWR can sell a season ticket, slash the service and passengers just have to take it. Is anyone aware of why our consumer rights don't seem to apply? The only evidence of any remediation in this sort of circumstance (Southern strikes, 2016) I've found is American Express providing compensation through their Consumer Credit Act obligations.

What do people think is a sensible next step? Accept that life isn't fair? Complain to my credit card provider? Complain to SWR, with inevitable need to go to the ombudsman or court?



  • Kiko4564
    Kiko4564 Posts: 217 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Good question, I can anticipate SWR claiming that the circumstances fall outside their control. But I would still try and take it up with them first.
  • AbrahamLincoln
    And is there something in the Consumer Rights Act, which allows them to not provide a refund/compensation because the strike was out of their control?

    In a more normal situation, if say your builder's apprentice was on strike and work wasn't done, you'd expect to not pay for the work that wasn't done.

    I feel that I must be missing something, otherwise train companies just wouldn't be getting away with refusing season ticket holders compensation for strikes.

    I'll write to them to kick the process off, but anticipate the answer being you're entitled to £10 of delay repay for a month's worth of disruption on a £4,000 season ticket.

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