The Credit Card Challenge continues: claiming under chargeback against Southern Rail…

Since breaking the news of Sean’s successful credit card claim two weeks ago, we’ve been looking at every possible avenue to help passengers with their own claim. For those who have been unsuccessful with a section 75 claim, or who purchased their ticket on a debit card or credit card where section 75 does not apply (such as pre-paid cards) – we now present a whole new approach to claiming back.

Neither ABC nor the national press have been able to determine whether Sean’s refund went through under section 75 or a similar process called ‘chargeback’. Both American Express and Southern Rail have been (unsurprisingly) tight-lipped about the basis on which Sean’s claim was awarded. In order to cover all bases in helping passengers make a similar claim, we now launch a second guide to the ‘Credit Card Challenge’. The best news of all is that ‘chargeback’ claims can cover purchases made on a debit card too.

It is impossible to guarantee success through either of these methods, but the fact that Sean’s claim was successful may mean that there is still a chance to set a important precedent. Such a precedent would not only be game-changing for consumer rights over rail, but could also leave you thousands of pounds richer after a whole year of suffering Southern Rail’s service.

Step One: read our guide to using chargeback:

chargeback-read-me-first

Step Two: use our template letter to start our own claim:

chargeback-letter

Step Three: attach evidence to support your claim (example here):

southern-rail-performance-dec-jan-2017

Please write to us at contact@associationofbritishcommuters.com to let us know if your claim was successful. Please note that we are a volunteer-run campaign and do not have the resources to advise individuals on the specifics of their claim.

DISCLAIMER:

ABC is providing this information to assist a person in making a claim under their bank or credit card company’s chargeback scheme, in connection with services provided by Southern Rail.

The sample letter provided is a template only. Any person using it does so at their own risk and accepts full responsibility for the content and accuracy of his or her claim.  ABC is not a party to any such claim and accepts no responsibility or liability for the accuracy of any information provided.

ABC does not guarantee the outcome of any claim and accepts no liability whatsoever in the event of any claim being unsuccessful.

 

Commuters, join the Credit Card Challenge! How to claim under section 75 against Southern Rail…

Since ABC broke Sean’s story on Sunday, his successful £2,400 claim to Amex has been headline news. If further claims are successful, a clear precedent will be set and we’ll be looking at no less than a revolution in consumer rights for passengers!

Our busy team of commuter campaigners has been on the case and we have now produced a complete guide to claiming back from your credit card provider. We encourage all credit card users for any amount over £100 to take this forward – help us create a whole new era of passenger rights after our year of suffering on Southern Rail!

Each of the following documents has been prepared under the guidance of a qualified solicitor, and should provide all you need to make your own claim. Remember, if your claim is rejected you will have the right of appeal to the financial ombudsman – we will also be preparing model letters for anyone who needs to appeal.

Read our guide to claiming under section 75:

the-abc-guide-to-claiming-under-section-75

Download our template letter to make it easy for you to initiate your own claim:

abc-template-letter-for-section-75-claims

View a sample of supporting evidence here:

southern-rail-performance-figures-example-evidence

To refresh your memory of Sean’s story and the letter he sent, click here.

Please write to us at contact@associationofbritishcommuters.com to let us know if you have been successful. Good luck, and we hope to hear your success stories soon!

Disclaimer:

  1. ABC is providing this information to assist you in making a claim under s75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 against your credit card company in connection with services provided by Southern Rail.
  1. In relation to goods or services paid for by credit card, s75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 allows you to claim for breach of contract or misrepresentation against one or both of the retailer (in this case, the train operating company which sold you the ticket) and the credit card company, either simultaneously or separately.
  1. Please note that you cannot recover the same loss from both parties.
  1. The sample letter provided by ABC is a template only. Any person using it does so at their own risk and is responsible for the content and the accuracy of the claim.
  1. ABC is not a party to any claim made in accordance with this guide or otherwise, and accepts no responsibility or liability for the content and/or the accuracy of any information included in any such claim.
  1. ABC does not guarantee the outcome of any claim and accepts no liability whatsoever in the event of a claim being unsuccessful.

Compensation – looking for more than an ’empty gesture’? If you bought your season ticket on a credit card, you might be quids in!

The problem of compensation for Southern Rail’s failure to provide promised services has been an issue for thousands of commuters throughout 2016. ABC have now set up a whole new team to look at other avenues for compensation, and will be letting you know our recommendations soon. In the meantime, we wanted to share the story of a commuter who got in touch with us to share his compensation triumph.

Sean, a yearly season-ticket holder, told us that he had applied to American Express to dispute the sale, based on the non-delivery of goods and services. He then provided evidence to support his claim, using Southern Rail’s own punctuality statistics,  and the fact that they reduced their timetable by 15% last summer. He estimated that 50% of his journeys were cancelled or disrupted and requested 50% of his money back.

American Express granted his claim and Sean is now £2,400 richer because of it.

screen-shot-2017-01-16-at-15-52-47

Credit card companies are bound under the Consumer Credit Act, meaning they are jointly liable for the provision of goods and services until they have been delivered. So, if you have used your credit card to purchase any kind of ticket above £100, you might be able to benefit from this too.

Based on Sean’s advice, start by calling your credit card provider and requesting to initiate a ‘dispute process’, perhaps in the form of a section 75 claim. If your credit card provider allows the claim, it’s then a matter of providing the relevant evidence/performance statistics and a letter including an estimate of the percentage you feel you are owed back. Sean’s quite reasonable estimate in his own case was 50%, but there is no reason why this shouldn’t be more (or less) depending on the extent to which you have been affected.

*Since the time of publishing, Amex will not confirm whether Sean’s successful claim was the outcome of a section 75 claim, chargeback or a ‘dispute process’. We encourage commuters to put their application in the form of a section 75 claim as a first step and provide a model letter here. Please be aware that you will have recourse to the financial ombudsman if rejected, and we will soon provide a model letter for this too.

Sean used the following performance statistics, from the period 29th May – 25th June 2016, to support his letter (featured below):

southern-rail-performance-may-jun-2016

 

screen-shot-2017-01-16-at-15-53-40

“Sean” was happy to share his story on the condition of anonymity. Please address press inquiries to: contact@associationofbritishcommuters.com

For further details on section 75 protections for credit card holders, click here.

Please write to us at contact@associationofbritishcommuters.com to let us know if you are successful with a credit card claim.

ABC legal campaign – final preparations now being made for application to Court

ABC is a transport pressure group founded in Brighton in May 2016, in response to intolerably poor service from Southern Rail. We thought we had reached our last resort in September and launched a legal crowdfunder for a judicial review of the DfT’s handling of Southern Rail, its close subcontractor.

Little did we know then how much worse things would get.

Our lawyers spent months in correspondence with the DfT; receiving highly unsatisfactory responses and repeated, time-wasting extensions to our FOI requests. To this day, the details of the government’s contract with Southern Rail remain under lock and key; and there has never been a stronger or more urgent case for transparency than now.

With vast amounts of material to prepare, our lawyers continued to work intensively on the case and we are now on the brink of applying to Court to take the judicial review forward. The details of our final grounds will hit the press by mid-January.

Though we cannot yet share details of our final grounds, the case is sure to take on Chris Grayling’s refusal to act in the public interest, and the details of the unprecedented failure of public policy behind Southern Rail’s ‘management contract’. We are also extremely concerned about the lack of disabled access on Southern Rail, a problem that has run throughout this year of service breakdown and is set to become a lot worse with the chaotic changes to staffing now taking place.

Our campaign took on the failure and mismanagement of Southern Rail before the industrial action even became an issue. With the industrial action on top of the collapsed service we have lived through all year, one marvels at the extent of Chris Grayling’s dereliction of duty as hundreds of thousands of people suffer and the entire economy of the South has been brought to a standstill.

For more information on ABC and our #SouthernFail campaign, click here.

To donate to the campaign or purchase ABC badges, click here.

 

ABC Passenger Survey 2016 – how much is the Southern Rail crisis costing us?

Our survey went out on December 10th, receiving over a thousand responses within just 24 hours. A series of 50 questions aimed to represent the effect on commuters’ individual lives and wellbeing over the past six months of the Southern Rail crisis.

Questions focused on the costs to commuters – covering time costs, personal impact, work impact, extra expenses and much more. We also posed in-depth questions into the everyday difficulties of travelling on Southern Rail, and the health and safety risks that have been a daily concern over the past six months of service breakdown.

A few opinion questions were inserted at the very end of the survey, in order to minimise the chance of respondents undertaking the survey with ulterior motives/ political bias.

Download the full report here: abc-passenger-survey-results-2016

 

 

 

 

 

Your complete guide to Thursday’s #SouthernFail protest: How You Can Help

Thursday’s march from Victoria to the Department for Transport is organised by ABC, the pressure group soon to undertake a judicial review of the government’s handling of Southern Rail.

Sign up to the protest here and please share as widely as possible:

We are seeing nothing but inflammatory and “politically motivated” statements from the Transport Minister at a time when he is already six  months late in stepping in to solve this unprecedented rail crisis. His complete lack of assertive and transparent action puts him in total dereliction of his duty to the public.

Most worrying of all is the suggestion that the Department for Transport has been blocking a resolution to the dispute behind the scenes. This is a question we now urgently need the answer to. If it is indeed the case, we are going through these excruciating strikes for nothing!

What is rotten in Southern Rail started long before the current industrial action; which now takes place on top of a broken infrastructure, chronic understaffing and a company whose relations with the public have irretrievably broken.

Our demands to the DfT include: 1) urgent and transparent intervention into the industrial dispute 2) a fully independent public inquiry into the collapse of Southern Rail 3) transparency from the government in the form of answers to our crowdsourced questions. If Chris Grayling will not take these actions, he should immediately resign.

How You Can Help:

  • Join the protest tomorrow and bring along as many fellow-sufferers as possible! There will be free mince pies, carol singing, a Facebook live stream and many other stunts, including a big media presence at the DfT for you to state your views to the press directly.
  • Send a copy of our Open Letter to chris.grayling@dft.gsi.gov.uk, copying in your MP

open-letter-to-chris-grayling

  • Send a copy of our PDF of “Urgent questions for the DfT” to chris.grayling@dft.gsi.gov.uk and your MP

urgent-questions-for-the-department-for-transport

  • Sign up now to our Thunderclap, part of our simultaneous online protest for those who can’t make it! This mass social media action starts from 5pm and is already set to reach 300,000 people – this could be one million by tomorrow. It is sure to be followed by a Twitter storm like no other: so, stay online, participate, and watch the ABC Twitter and Facebook for our live videos from the protest. Don’t forget to tell the press and MPs how the Southern Rail crisis has affected you, using the hashtags #SouthernFail or #GraylingMustResign

Volunteering

Anyone coming to the protest who can help with printing A4 black and white documents please get in touch. There will be other roles we need help with on the day, so please get in touch if you’d like to help.

Guests

We are expecting a diverse attendance of guests, a lot of press, and are also hoping to welcome an MP or two. All are welcome to attend and speak to our ABC media team for broadcast, but we ask that there are no banners from trades unions or political parties. This request is made in order to focus all attention on the urgent problem at hand in a climate that has been wilfully and unforgivably driven to a crisis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transport for All? – ABC to sit down with RDG and Govia reps to discuss accessibility on Southern Rail

We are honoured to have been invited to Transport for All’s rail accessibility conference, which will be held at the SCOPE headquarters in London on Tuesday 13th December. ABC campaigner Emily Yates will be joining the panel; alongside accessibility expert Ann Bates OBE, and accessibility managers from Govia Thameslink Railway and the Rail Delivery Group.

The event will open with presentations from TfA Chair, Alan Benson, detailing the campaign’s concerns; and Campaign for Better Transport’s Lianna Etkind, who’ll be speaking on the topic of rail franchising. The day concludes with the 90-minute panel discussion – which should be ample time to raise our concerns with the persons directly responsible for providing access on the railways.

We have been concerned for some time over the lack of foresight given to access requirements, amid the very hasty roll-out of Driver Only Operation in the South. The On Board Supervisor role was just recently adapted to accommodate wheelchair users, and the needs of disabled passengers received only a single passing mention in the RSSB report on the matter.

We are also aware that a new map has been introduced on the 377 trains – indicating compulsory advance booking all over the network. This, we believe, represents a clear breach of the Equality Act.

new-access-map

The Transport for All conference is open to its members, and representatives from the rail industry. However, Emily will be able to bring a select few guests – so, if you are really keen to attend, do get in touch.

For more information on Transport for All, click here.