UK: Legal claims have been brought against current and past South Eastern and South Western franchisees over claims that passengers were overcharged because fares from the London zone boundaries to stations outside the zones were not readily available for purchase by Travelcard holders.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal has authorised Justin Gutmann, formerly of Citizens Advice, to act as the class representative in collective proceedings against Stagecoach South Western Trains, First MTR South Western Trains and Govia’s London & South Eastern Railway.

The issues raised in the case of each franchise are almost identical, and Gutmann estimates that the total claim could be worth around £93m in damages for rail users.

Gutmann is being represented by Charles Lyndon Ltd and Hausfeld & Co, and funded in his claim by litigation funding specialist Woodsford.

SWR Class 458

People who ‘paid twice’ for part of their journey on Southeastern and South Western routes since October 1 2015 because they bought a ticket from a previous station rather than the fare zone boundary will automatically be included in the claim if they live in the UK, although they can choose to opt-out by contacting Charles Lyndon Ltd. People who do not live in the UK must opt-in to participate.

The Collective Proceedings Order by the tribunal on October 19 ‘is a great step forward in my legal campaign to achieve justice for millions of rail passengers who have been overpaying as a result of the train operating companies not offering boundary fares’, said Gutmann. ‘It means that we can now hold Southeastern and South Western to account by going to court.’

A South Western Railway spokesperson told Rail Business UK ‘we believe that all of the ticket options available are in line with legal and regulatory requirements, and we will continue to robustly defend our position in this case.’

Go-Ahead said it ‘will be considering the Tribunal’s judgment in detail but continues to consider the claim against LSER to be flawed and unsustainable.’