More than 30,000 Southern Rail passengers who could be eligible for a lump sum payment as compensation for persistent disruption have until 30 April to claim. Here's how to check if you're eligible and how to claim.
New figures released today by Southern show that more than £10 million in compensation has already been paid out under the scheme, to almost 43,000 commuters.
But the Department for Transport estimates that in total some 84,000 could still be eligible to claim. With 5,000 claims currently being processed, that means at least 36,000 passengers may still not have started a claim and need to act quickly to avoid losing out.
The lump sum compensation scheme, under which some passengers can reclaim the cost of a month's worth of travel, was launched in December after "significant levels of disruption" last year.
Am I eligible for the refund?
You need to have had 12 weeks' worth of season tickets between 1 April and 31 December last year AND a reasonable chunk of your journey must have been on the network.
You can apply even if you've already claimed for individual delays via the Delay Repay scheme, you bought your ticket from somewhere other than Southern or if you're a Gatwick Express, Thameslink or Oyster card customer.
You CAN'T claim the lump sum for daily tickets, or for contactless journeys, but you can claim separately for individual delays. See our Train Delays guide for more info.
What will I get?
It depends on how much your ticket cost, as there are different refunds depending on the type of ticket you held.
Annual or monthly season ticket – The cost of a month's travel back.
Weekly season ticket – The cost of four weekly tickets.
There is a chance you could get more claiming via your credit card or debit card provider though, so see below first.
How do I claim?
If you haven't already received an email from Southern with instructions of how to claim, you can claim manually. You'll need your:
- Season ticket length
- Ticket and photocard number
- The stations it was valid between
- The cost of the ticket
- A scan or photo of the ticket
If you have all the information above, apply here.
You'll need to enter your address, and choose whether you want your compensation paid as a bank transfer or to your Visa debit or credit card.
I heard a Southern customer claimed £2,400 – can I get more than a month's compensation?
Earlier this year we heard from a Southern commuter who claimed a £2,400 refund from his card provider, American Express (Amex), for dire service.
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act means your credit card provider is jointly liable with the retailer/seller if something goes wrong. For debit card payments there is a similar but less powerful scheme, called chargeback (which also has a much shorter time limit in which to claim).
It's not clear which scheme Amex paid out under, and so far this is the only successful case of this type against Southern that we have heard of.
This case doesn't set a precedent, though, and so there are no guarantees your card provider will cough up.
It's also worth bearing in mind that technically the rules say you can't submit a Section 75 claim if you've already claimed compensation by another route, so claiming Southern's compensation lump sum could potentially stop you making a Section 75 claim at a later date.
You need to weigh up which route to take, as the payout could be bigger via Section 75, but there are no guarantees you'll win. See our Train Delays guide for more info.
Still got questions?
Southern has an FAQs page, including more information for Thameslink customers and what to do if you think it's not got your refund amount right.
You can also contact a dedicated customer services team for this scheme between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, or 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. To get in touch, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0345 647 0745.