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Legal advice: rail trip refund

When a scenic first-class rail trip didn’t live up to expectations, we stepped in to help a member get their money back. Here’s what happened.

Which? Legal member William booked a scenic rail trip for himself and his wife Linda in March this year.

They paid £116 each for first-class tickets to spend a day sightseeing in Carlisle, and also to see the Ribblehead viaduct.

Unfortunately, on the day of the trip, the rear diesel engine of the train broke down.

Delays, faults and obstructed views

After delays caused by maintenance, restocking and rejoining the mainline, and a faulty toilet, William and Linda only had just over an hour to spend in Carlisle, and didn’t travel over the Ribblehead viaduct on the outbound journey.

On the return journey, they were disappointed to find that the view of the viaduct was mostly obstructed, with no view of the arches.

After returning home, William wrote to the rail company requesting a refund of the cost of the tickets.

We advised William that he may be entitled to claim a refund if the company had failed to provide its service with reasonable care and skill.

We also told him that he could argue that its presentation of the scenic views could be misleading, as the views advertised on its website were far from the reality.

After William followed our advice, he was offered a goodwill gesture of £232; the amount he’d paid for two first-class tickets. The company also apologised for the disappointment of his journey.

Your rights under the CRA 2015

According to the Consumer Rights Act 2015, rail companies should supply their service with reasonable care and skill.

If it fell below this standard and it was impossible to remedy the failure, then William was entitled to claim a price reduction.

The law states that this should be an ‘appropriate amount’.

Alternatively, William could claim a price reduction under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, as the way the journey was presented could have deceived the average consumer as to the views they could expect to see.

Have you ever had a trip not live up to expectations? Did you know you could claim for issues like this under the Consumer Rights Act 2015?

Comments

Thanks for sharing this. It is nice to see an example of a supplier actually agreeing to a full refund, as opposed to trying to wriggle out of it.

One of my brothers does a lot of similar rail-tours, as I suspect, do many other railway enthusiasts. Hence, I suspect that tour organisers are highly dependent on repeat business and so understand the need to preserve their brand reputations.