Office of Rail and Road
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Rail regulator’s review leads to 50% reduction in maximum fees for ticket refunds

New rules will mean that from 2 April the maximum fee that train operators and ticket retailers can charge when an unused rail ticket is refunded will be reduced from £10 to £5.

This reduction follows the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) review which found that of the 5.8 million refunded tickets in 2019/2020, there were notable differences between the cost of processing a refund - on average less than £5 - and the allowed maximum admin fee of £10.

ORR therefore called on the rail industry to review the level of the maximum cap on refund administration fees.

The new cap of £5 comes into force when the updated National Rail Conditions of Travel is published on 2 April.

Passengers will continue to be entitled to a fee-free refund if they choose not to, or are not able to, travel because their journey has been affected by delays or cancellation.

Stephanie Tobyn, ORR director of strategy, policy and reform, said: 

“The processing of refunds is now predominantly done digitally, which has resulted in lower administration costs. The results from our review provided industry with a clear action to make sure these savings are reflected in the refund fee, and we are pleased that the rule change will mean a fairer deal for passengers.”

Notes to editors

  1. Administration fees in the National Rail Conditions of Travel report – February 2022
  2. In applying administration fees for refunds, retailers must comply with:
    • The National Rail Conditions of Travel (NRCOT), a schedule of the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement (TSA), which sets out the agreement between the passenger and the train operator. NRCOT Condition 29 places a cap on administration fees for ticket refunds.
  3. The new £5 cap applies from 2 April to unused tickets where the terms and conditions of purchase allow the customer to request a refund.  Advance Purchase tickets, for example, are not refundable unless the train is disrupted or cancelled.  The cap on refund fees for season tickets has not changed and remains £10.
  4. Changes to the NRCOT are proposed by the Rail Delivery Group, on behalf of industry, and approved by the Department for Transport Secretary of State.
  5. Know Your Rail Rights - ORR
  6. The Office of Rail and Road is the independent economic and safety regulator for Britain’s railways, and regulator of performance and efficiency for England’s Strategic Road Network.
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