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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44920
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Recently I was effectively imprisoned on a Virgin train just

Customer Question

Recently I was effectively imprisoned on a Virgin train just south of Warrington because of a power failure. There was no airconditioning as a result and we were trapped on the train for 3-4 hours. Can I sue under the Human Rights Act?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

What losses did you suffer as a result of this incident?

Customer:

Major inconvenience as there was no airconditioning and a journey which should have taken 6.25 hours to London Euston ended up taking at least 10 hours & 50 minutes

Customer:

hello?

Ben Jones :

ok but these are not losses, you really need to look at financial losses, and in this case you will only have lost the value of the ticket which you paid for this journey because you did not receive the service that you had paid for. This is going to be the difficulty in claiming here. This has nothing to do with the Human Rights Act - this is a completely separate legislation which has no application to this situation. You are only going to be able to pursue the company for breach of contract because you purchased a service which you did not receive. In a breach of contract claim you can only claim for actual losses incurred as a result of the company's failure to provide the service which you had purchased. Major inconvenience does not count and for example had you incurred additional expenses by having to get other forms of transport to complete your journey then you would have been able to claim these costs, but not otherwise. So if you cannot show additional losses, all you can expect is a refund of the original ticket value. They may offer additional compensation as a sign of good customer service but that is at their discretion and you cannot force them to do so and the law would also not compensate you for that

Customer:

how about physical discomfort?

Customer:

I suffer from an ongoing back problem and the decent from one train onto the ground and then the ascent into the other train were extremely difficult for me.

Ben Jones :

unless you have actually suffered an injury as a result, it would not be anything you would be compensated for and it would be included in the discretionary payments that could be made by the company if they believe this is necessary

Ben Jones :

But you would have had to get off the train at some point anyway so this is not something that was unexpected

Customer:

I have to go out. Is it possible to save our chat & get back to you later?

Ben Jones :

yes you can get back to this chat at any time

Customer:

do I rate you & then save it? not used this before

Ben Jones :

yes please, it will not close the question and you will still be able to come back to me later. You can just type in the rating on here as there is a bug that we get which sometimes prevents you from selecting a rating

Customer:

Is it Network Rail that is responsible for the track & the power supply? Does this count as "infrastructure"? I realise that there is a different company that is responsible for infrastructure from the various train operating companies. I feel that my complaint is against this third party, because they did not give information to Virgin who in their turn could not tell the passengers anything.

Ben Jones :

your claim will be solely against the train operator because that is who your contract was with. If the train operator experienced this delay due to issues with the rail infrastructure then they will have their own separate claim against them but you can only pursue the party with whom you had a contract, which in this case was the train operator

Hope this answers your follow up query?

Customer:

Is it reasonable to request additional compensation from Virgin due to the oppressive conditions in which we were trapped, or does the offer have to come from them? For example if my ticket cost £22.45 would it be unreasonable to ask for £45-£50?

Ben Jones :

you can certainly ask for more, there is nothing stopping you from doing so and hopefully if they value their customer service they would offer more, but it is just the issue that if they refuse, then your options would be limited in forcing them to give you more

Customer:

Sorry to keep hassling you, but I just wanted to puck on that phrase "Your options would be limited". I remember you saying that I could not force them to do things, so basically I would like to know what I can do?

Ben Jones :

No you are correct you cannot force them to pay you anything and going to court will only get you back what you have actually lost. But you can start putting pressure on them, by following their formal complaints procedure to its full extent and even threatening court in the hope they will just offer you some compensation to get you off their back - that could often work and you can also discontinue what you are doing at any point if you feel you no longer want to pursue it

Ben Jones :

Does this clarify things for you?

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