You could be owed money if you travel to London on South Western train routes

South Western train companies sued for £57m for overcharging millions of rail passengers.

South Western train companies were sued for £57 million for overcharging around 2.1 million rail passengers. The train companies sued include First MTR South Western Trains and Stagecoach South Western Trains. 

A £25 million settlement between Stagecoach South Western Trains and consumer rights campaigner Justin Gutmann has been approved by the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

The company had been sued for £39 million for its part in allegedly overcharging rail passengers by not making ‘boundary fares’ sufficiently available to customers who also bought Transport for London (TfL) Travelcards.

This settlement only relates to Stagecoach South Western Trains who operated the South Western rail franchise between February 1996 and August 2017. The trial against First MTR starts in June. 

Are you a South Western train customer?

The South Western rail line runs trains between London (Waterloo station) and major towns and cities in the South West. 

These include Reading, Woking, Guildford, Portsmouth, Basingstoke, Southampton, Bournemouth, Weymouth, Salisbury, Exeter, Bath and Bristol.

Sign up so we can tell you how and when to claim against Stagecoach, and keep you informed of the trial against First MTR.

What are boundary fares?

Boundary fares allow passengers who own a Travelcard to get discounts on tickets to take them from the boundary of their travelcard to their final destination. 

So, if you own a zone 1-4 Travelcard but need to travel between Waterloo and Reading, you should be able to buy a fare from the edge of zone 4. 

Gutmann claimed these cheaper fares are not easily available online and rarely offered at a ticket office.

Who can claim compensation now?

‘Stagecoach South Western Train customers who believe they didn’t have boundary fares made available to them when travelling outside their TfL Travelcard zone to stations like Ascot, Winchester and Guildford may be able to make a claim,’ Gutmann said.

Rail passengers who bought tickets at any point for South Western Trains to and from London from 1 October 2015 to 20 August 2017 could be eligible to claim compensation now.

To claim, you must have held a valid Travelcard for one or several of TfL’s fare zones and the rail fare you paid for overlapped with these zones. You can claim for yourself or for someone you bought tickets for.

A trial will begin in June against First MTR South Western Trains – the current South Western Rail Operator – and who has held the South Western rail franchise since 20 August 2017.

How much compensation can Stagecoach customers claim?

The £25 million settlement will be divided into three pots – with claims under each pot requiring different levels of evidence. Our table summarises how much you can claim and the level of evidence needed to make your claim:

Settlement allocationEvidence requiredValue of claim
£19 millionEvidence of all journeys for which you a making a claim for – this can include receipts or bank statementsUnlimited
£4 millionProof of purchase of a relevant TfL travelcard or relevant fareUp to £100: £5 for each claim up to 20 claims
£2 millionProof of residence and signed statement of truthUp to £30: £5 for each valid claim up to 6 claims

Any amount that is unclaimed in pot 2 will transfer to pot 3 and vice versa.

The claim against UK train companies

Justin Gutmann, a consumer rail campaigner, is representing all affected people who travel using South Western train companies. He accuses them of breaching UK competition laws by charging Travelcard holders twice when travelling on certain routes.

Gutmann has instructed the law firms Charles Lyndon and Hausfeld & Co LLP to represent him in the consumer collective claim to seek compensation for the millions of affected customers. This claim is funded by Woodsford Group Limited.

How to claim compensation

The Competition Appeal Tribunal gave the green light in October 2021 for the claim to go to trial. The trial against First MTR will begin in June 2024. Sign up to Consumer Voice stay updated.

It is only customers who travelled on South Western trains when Stagecoach held the franchise between 2015 and 2017 who can claim compensation sooner. Sign up and we will let you know how and when to claim.

For the claim against First MTR, you are automatically eligible for compensation if you live in the UK, unless you opt-out.

You can still claim if you live outside the UK but you must proactively opt-in to be eligible.

We will keep you updated on the latest developments in the South Western trains claim and other group consumer claims.

What’s happening with this claim?

A £25 million settlement between Stagecoach South Western Trains and consumer rights campaigner Justin Gutmann has been approved by the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Stagecoach customers will soon be able to claim compensation.

The trial against First MTR starts in June 2024. The tribunal declared in April 2023 that this claim and the claims against Govia Thameslink and Southeastern trains should be heard together. This will be over a series of hearings. In June, the court will explore the claim that these companies abused their dominant position.

These claims were given permission to proceed to full trial – with Gutmann representing affected rail passengers – on 19 October 2021.

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