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Travel Hell! Heard of a super complaint?

Last year it was estimated that 47 million people were delayed or were faced with cancelled train journeys.

Were you one of them? If so, did you make a complaint? Did you feel that your complaint was impactful enough?

The consumer group, Which? argues it’s too difficult for delayed rail passengers to get compensation and has filed a so-called super complaint.

But what is it?

A super complaint, which features in the Enterprise Act 2002, is a complaint put forward on behalf of customers by consumer bodies that “any feature, or combination of features, of a market in the UK for goods or services is, or appears to be, significantly harming the interests of consumers”.

It can raise issues with how the area in question, in this case rail services, is run or how customers are being affected by how it is managed.

The Which? super complaint has been put to the railway regulator, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) and that says it should be easier for passengers to get their money back.

Their study found only a third of people who may have been entitled to compensation actually bothered to claim it, with the ORR saying it was already working to improve the situation.

Who can make a super complaint?

Only bodies designated by the secretary of state for business, innovation and skills can make a super complaint.

In this case Which? puts the “interests of consumers” to the secretary of state.

What happens after a super complaint?

Under the super complaint rules, the ORR now has 90 days to respond and to announce whether it will take action.

The possible outcomes could include: changes to how the industry works, an investigation being launched or a recommendation that government takes action.

It could also find that nothing needs to done, in which case rail users could find themselves complaining about delayed or cancelled journeys in the same way they do now. Super.

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