Charles Lyndon is pleased to announce that the firm, together with Hausfeld London, has been nominated for ‘Competition and Regulatory Team of the Year’ at The Lawyer Awards 2020. The awards recognise exceptional talent in the City of London and across the country. Winners at Awards are a force to be reckoned with, having been highly commended by The Lawyer’s elite judging panel for implementing bold initiatives in the legal industry.
The team has been shortlisted for its exceptional work on the “Trains” case against the South Western and South Eastern rail franchises. The claim was filed at the Competition Appeal Tribunal by our client Mr. Justin Gutmann on behalf of rail passengers who have been overcharged due to the limited availability of boundary fares. The claim is the first stand-alone collective action to be filed in England & Wales.
In bringing the case, Charles Lyndon joined forces with Hausfeld & Co, who are pioneers in the private enforcement of competition law in Europe. Charles Lyndon’s expertise in competition law and consumer litigation coupled with Hausfeld’s history of success in bringing abuse of dominance cases, creates a team well-placed to help to ensure that the money that South Western and South-Eastern have made from this is returned to those train users.
Boundary fares allow passengers who own a TfL Travelcard to travel beyond the zones covered by their Travelcard without paying twice for parts of their journey. For example, if a rail passenger owned a zones 1-4 Travelcard, but needed to travel from Waterloo to Reading they should be able to purchase a fare from the edge of zone 4 to Reading. Charles Lyndon’s extensive research into business practices of train operating companies revealed that this is not the reality. Owing to the difficulty in purchasing boundary fares and the fact that consumer awareness is very low, rail passengers end up paying for the full journey from Waterloo to Reading and, in doing so, pay twice for the part of the journey between Waterloo and the boundary of zone 4.
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 to claim. The team is seeking compensation for all those passengers affected. The total sought is around £100 million in damages to be distributed among an estimated 1.5 million claimants.
Everyone who fits the description above and lives in the UK will be automatically included in the class, unless that person chooses to ‘opt-out’. However, note that non-UK residents will likely be required to ‘opt-in’ to the proceedings, in order to participate.
There is no cost for bringing the action. This claim is being funded by Woodsford Litigation Funding, a specialist litigation funder. By absorbing both the costs and risks associated with a claim of this size, Woodsford is enabling the claim to be brought and ensuring that as many rail passengers as possible benefit from this legal action.
Charles Lyndon are excited to bring this case, not only because of the implications for collective proceedings in the future, which will allow consumers to claim without financial risk what is rightfully theirs, but also to see justice brought to London commuters. Mr. Gutmann, the class representative in the case, stated:
“Passengers in London already pay a lot of money for trains that are often delayed or not even running. Now following extensive research, we have found that some passengers are paying twice for parts of their rail journeys.
Millions of rail passengers could be eligible for compensation. Let’s put this right and stop train companies taking passengers for a ride.”