LONDON, April 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A hearing date has been set for the UK's first stand-alone collective proceedings order application.
The claim was launched in the UK's specialist competition court on 27 February 2019 by Justin Gutmann, formerly of Citizens Advice, on behalf of millions of passengers who have paid twice for part of their journeys on Southeastern and South Western routes.
The application for a collective proceedings application order will be heard on 5 November 2019 and is scheduled to last three to four days.
- Passengers who have held a Travelcard in the period since October 2015 and bought another ticket for a rail journey that is partially covered by their Travelcard have effectively paid twice for part of their rail journey
- The claim is estimated to be worth around £93 million in damages
- Millions of passengers who have travelled in and around London may be eligible for compensation
The claim on behalf of millions of rail passengers was filed on 27 February 2019 in the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the operators of the South Western and Southeastern rail franchises.
First MTR South Western Trains, Stagecoach South Western Trains and London & South Eastern Railway are alleged to have not made "boundary" fares readily available for Travelcard holders to purchase, nor making passengers aware of their existence. Customers who encounter these boundary fares often buy a higher fare than they would have needed because their Travelcard already entitled them to travel for part of their journey.
Boundary fares allow passengers who own a Travelcard to travel beyond the zones covered by their Travelcard without doubling up on payment. Independent research has shown that boundary fares are not readily available through online platforms or over the telephone from South Western or Southeastern and are rarely offered at ticket counters unless expressly requested by passengers.
The opt-out collective action is being led by Justin Gutmann, an experienced campaigner on both consumer issues and the transport sector.
The first stage in the claim is to hear the application for a collective proceedings order. At the recent case management conference, on 9 April 2019, a date of 5 November 2019 was set for the hearing of the application.
Who is eligible?
Passengers who owned a Travelcard at any time from 1 October 2015 and also purchased a rail fare from a station within the zones of their Travelcard to a destination outside of those zones may be eligible for compensation. Millions of passengers are thought to be affected.
Who is excluded?
The only categories of persons that are excluded from the proposed class are:
- Members and staff of the Competition Appeal Tribunal assigned to these proceedings;
- Officers, directors or employees of:
- the proposed defendants,
- any entities which have a (direct or indirect) interest in any of the proposed defendants that give rise to significant control, and
- any entities in which any of the proposed defendants have such an interest;
- Mr Gutmann's and the proposed defendants' legal representatives as well as any experts or other professional advisers instructed in these proceedings, including the professional staff assisting them.
The Tribunal will now determine whether or not Mr Gutmann's claim is allowed to proceed. If the claim is permitted to go forward then those affected will not have to pay any legal fees, nor contact lawyers.
Affected passengers who live in the UK will be automatically included in the claim although they can choose to opt-out in due course. Affected passengers who do not live in the UK will also be eligible to join the claim but must proactively opt-in. As the case progresses, we will provide more detail as to what rail users will be required to do to either opt-in, or opt-out.
A pre-hearing review will be held at the Tribunal on 23 September 2019 at 2pm. The hearing to determine the suitability of the claim for collective proceedings will be held on 5 November 2019 at 10:30am and it will last for three or four days.
Any person with an interest (including any member of the proposed class) may object to the Collective Proceedings Order Application or the authorisation of Mr Gutmann as class representative by writing to the Tribunal stating their reason for objecting by 4pm on 5 July 2019.
Any member of the proposed class may also seek permission to make oral observations at the Collective Proceedings Order Application hearing, by making an application for such permission, with reasons, as part of his/her written objections.
If any member of the proposed class wishes to file an objection, they must write to the Tribunal stating their reasons for objecting and send it by post, or fax, to the following address:
Competition Appeal Tribunal
London WC1A 2EB
Fax: 020 7979 7978
When writing to the Tribunal they must include the reference "Boundary Fares Collective Action" and Case No. 1304/7/7/19 and/or 1305/7/7/19.
Any third party with a legitimate interest (who is not a member of the proposed class) can also apply to the Tribunal for permission to make written and/or oral submissions at the Collective Proceedings Order Application hearing on 5 November 2019. Any such application must be made in writing, supported by reasons, and received by the Competition Appeal Tribunal by 4pm on 5 July 2019.
Anyone who would like to receive further information about the claim, can visit the claim website, BoundaryFares.com, to sign up for updates.
The claim's website and social media channels are available from the day of launch, at BoundaryFares.com where affected passengers can sign up to receive further information on the legal proceedings.
The non-confidential version of certain documents relevant to the funding of the claim, namely the Litigation Funding Agreement, the Adverse Cost Deed of Indemnity and the After-the-Event Insurance Policy can be provided upon request by writing to email@example.com.
Please click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.
SOURCE Justin Gutmann