Consumer Rights Act 2015 and rail

02 May 2018

On October 1 2016, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force for all passenger rail services. Until then, the relationship and contract between a passenger and train company was largely governed by the train companies’ uniform National Rail Conditions of Travel and these typically tried to limit compensation to cases of delay and cancellation.

In very broad terms the new act brings together lots of earlier legislation and reaffirms that:

  • services must be provided with reasonable care and skill
  • information provided to a consumer before making a purchase, whether oral or in writing, is binding where the consumer relies on it

Passengers have a new right to claim compensation for things that go wrong beyond train performance. To be successful, however, a passenger would have to demonstrate to the court that the train company was at fault and/or that they specifically chose to travel on that service or with that operator based on information that was provided to them by the operator.

While the Consumer Rights Act creates a right for passengers to claim, it does not make it mandatory for train companies to pay out – an operator can dispute the claim if it wishes. A passenger then has the right to take the operator to court.