Southeastern and South Western in £93m lawsuit for overcharging passengers  

Southeastern and South Western train companies are accused of making 2.9m customers pay double.

Southeastern and South Western train companies are accused of making 2.9m customers pay double when travelling in London by not making ‘boundary fares’ easily available. Sign up to stay updated if you own a TfL Travelcard and use these lines.

Consumer rail campaigner, Justin Gutmann, said:

‘Passengers in London already pay a lot of money for trains that are often delayed or don’t even run. Now, following extensive research, we have found that some passengers are paying twice for parts of their journeys.’

The train companies include First MTR South Western Trains, Stagecoach South Western Trains and London & Southeastern Railway.

Train customers paying double 

Boundary fares allow passengers who own a Travelcard to travel beyond the zones it covers without doubling up the cost of a ticket. 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 says the cheaper fares are not easily available online and rarely offered at a ticket office. The train companies are said to have breached UK competition laws by charging Travelcard holders twice when travelling on certain routes. 

He is representing all affected consumers and seeking £93m in damages.

Legal team behind the claim

Gutmann has instructed the law firms Charles Lyndon Ltd and Hausfeld & Co LLP to represent him in what is being called the Boundary Fares Claims. He is represented by Roger Burnett from Charles Lyndon and Anthony Maton from Hausfeld. 

Rodger Burnett from Charle Lyndon said: ‘Dominant companies have duties to make pricing transparent, especially when dealing with consumers.’

Charles Lyndon and Hausfeld have instructed barristers Philip Moser QC, Stefan Kuppen and Alexandra Littlewood to represent the claim. The claim was launched in February 2019. The Competition Appeal Tribunal gave the green light in October 2021 for the claim to go to trial. 

Anthony Maton from Hausfeld said:

‘Millions of train passengers, often commuting daily on South Western and South Eastern, can now claim for the double charging that saw them pay twice for many journeys – once through their travel cards and once through their ticket.’

Those people affected will not be charged legal fees if it goes to trial, and do not need to contact lawyers.

Who is eligible for compensation?

You could be eligible for compensation if you owned a TfL Travelcard at any time from October 2015, and bought a rail fare from a station within the zones of your Travelcard to a destination outside the zones. 

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. Sign up to Consumer Voice to stay updated and to find out when you can claim.

Train companies challenge the claim

Southeastern and South Western are refusing to compensate passengers who have allegedly been overcharged. At the time the claim was given the go-ahead to proceed to trial, a spokesperson from First MTR South Western Trains said: 

‘We are committed to providing customers with the best range of fares and ticketing options – including online, via mobile phones, in person and over the phone – so we believe this unfounded claim fundamentally misrepresents how rail fares are set and how tickets are sold; we will robustly defend ourselves against it.’

A spokesperson for Southeastern said: ‘We’ve just received a claim today in respect of this matter and we’re reviewing it. Unfortunately we’re unable to provide further comment at this stage because the matter is the subject of ongoing legal proceedings.’

A similar overcharging claim is being pursued by Gutmann against Govia Thameslink Railway

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