The ‘Delay / Repay’ scheme is a useful means for rail passengers to claim compensation from the train operating companies for late or cancelled trains. There are strict rules in relation to making claims and, if one is not careful, it is easy to make an invalid claim.
The railway companies are now using a variety of means – including customised software – to flag what they regard as potentially incorrect or even fraudulent claims.
In less serious cases, the railway company will require a written explanation. More serious cases may lead to an invitation to attend at the offices of the railway company for an interview under caution conducted by members of the Fraud Investigation Unit. A claimant who is deemed to have made obviously erroneous claims, perhaps over a significant period of time, is more likely to be required to explain himself in person.
Legal representation at such interviews is available, although only on a private basis. Preparation prior to interview is vital if there is to be a satisfactory outcome.
If you have received a communication about incorrect claims, we strongly recommend that you obtain legal advice before replying. All correspondence with the railway company is ‘open’, that is not legally privileged and its contents can be used against the author in subsequent proceedings. It is crucial, therefore, to exercise extreme caution before responding, particularly if you have been invited to attend at an interview. It is important not to incriminate yourself through ignorance or carelessness.
It is also worth bearing in mind that few claimants retain detailed records of their claims. The railway companies, on the other hand, will have an accurate and precise history of all claims made by each claimant. This means that often one party is merely relying upon memory whilst the other is fully briefed.
We have acted for clients on rail fare related matters for many years and are experts at ensuring that our clients present the best possible account and avoid legal proceedings in the criminal courts. We understand that even being prosecuted for fraud may do grave damage to our clients and their careers. We are acutely aware of the sensitivity of these investigations and ensure that our clients retain their anonymity.
If you have any doubts about a letter or an email which you have received from a railway company about claims you may have made under the ‘Delay / Repay’ scheme, be safe: contact us for a free and private discussion on our 24/7 advice line (tel. 07581-064214.)