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Storm Eunice: Your refund, cancellation and compensation rights

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18/02/2022
Storm Eunice is causing severe disruption across the country, leading to school closures, cancelled journeys and events, as well as power outages.

The Met Office has issued a rare red weather warning across the South East, including London for the first time, and the South West of England, including Wales.

With winds of up to 100mph expected, severe flood warnings in place and high waves anticipated, the red warning means there’s a threat to life, potential for damage to structures and flying debris is expected.

The storm is set to be the worst to hit in 30 years and as such, people are urged to stay at home and only make journeys where necessary.

Many train services and flights have been cancelled up and down the country. Meanwhile, ferry services have also been suspended.

Below we explain your refund, cancellation and compensation rights when it comes to travel, insurance and events:

Rail travel

National Rail is advising passengers not to travel today as the strong wind warning means there’s a high probability of trees and debris being blown on to the tracks.

Many train operators have issued ‘do not travel messages’ and many have suspended routes, including Chiltern Railways, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia and Southeastern.

Others such as Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink have reported ‘major disruption’ to their networks. Replacement services are also not running.

Given the advice to stay at home and for passengers to abandon their journeys, tickets bought for today can be used on Saturday 19, Sunday 20 or Monday 21 February. Otherwise, passengers can apply for a refund.

National Rail said for passengers who choose not to travel, season ticket holders can claim delay repay by selecting ‘abandoned journey’ and they will then be compensated to the value of a daily return journey rate. Other ticket holders will also be able to claim a refund.

For train journeys that are still taking place, they’re likely to be much slower as trains will be limited to 50mph on the tracks. For those who travel and are delayed, they may be entitled to delay repay compensation if delayed by 15 minutes or more, depending on the service. Keep your train ticket and make a note of your journey as this information will be needed to make a claim

Travel advice is being added to each train operator’s page – see the National Rail Enquiries real-time Journey Planner which is updated as train operators confirm their service.

In London, ticket holders may be able to use other services if rail journeys can’t be completed, at no extra cost: London Underground, Docklands Light Railway and London buses.

In Wales, all train and bus journeys have been cancelled today. Tickets can be used for travel until Monday 21 February.

See YourMoney.com’s Delay repay compensation guide for more information.

Flights

Airports are telling passengers to check flights with airlines, and British Airways said it is putting on larger aircrafts where possible while providing a range of flexible rebooking options.

For customers on short-haul flights which are still operating today, they can change travel dates for free up to and including 21 February 2022. Customers should visit the ‘manage my booking’ tab to do this.

For customers who have had their flight cancelled, again BA advises to visit the ‘manage my booking’ tab to see rebooking and refund options.

Customers travelling with Ryanair today are being kept updated via its Flight Tracker on the live status of their flights. It said it’s operating the majority of its schedule but has cancelled a small number of today’s flights.

Impacted customers are being notified directly and are being given options such as a free of charge transfer to an alternative flight or a refund.

A spokesperson, said: “We are doing all possible to minimise the impact of the weather disruption for our customers and are providing those on cancelled flights with the option of transferring to an alternative flight free of charge or receiving a refund, as well as providing hotel accommodation and meals for customers who require them.

“We continue to advise all customers due to fly with us today to check the status of their flights on our Flight Tracker page for real-time information and to allow extra time to travel to the airport due to the impact of the weather on local public transport services.

“While this is outside of our control, we would like to apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused by the weather. The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is always easyJet’s highest priority.”

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “A significant number of flights are likely to be cancelled as a result of Storm Eunice. These extraordinary circumstances mean you are not entitled to compensation, but your airline is required to pay for food and drink if you need to wait in the airport terminal for your rescheduled flight, and accommodation and transport too if you are stuck overnight.

“You should contact your airline initially, which should provide vouchers for use at the airport. If it refuses to help, you can purchase what you are entitled to yourself and claim the money back from the airline afterwards. Pay by credit card if you can, and stick to sensibly priced meals and three star hotels – you won’t be able to claim for a lobster dinner or five star suite.”

Damage to property and cars

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said insurers will do everything they can to help people recover as quickly as possible if they suffer storm damage.

Home insurance, commercial business policies, and comprehensive motor insurance all cover damage caused by storms.

If you suffer storm damage:

  • Contact your insurer as soon as possible. Most will have 24-hour emergency helplines to ensure you get advice on what to do and arrange repairs as soon as is possible.
  • If necessary, arrange temporary emergency repairs to stop any damage getting worse, but speak to your insurer first. If you have to arrange emergency repairs yourself, tell your insurer and keep any receipts, as this will form part of your claim.
  • Don’t be too quick to throw away damaged items, unless they are a danger to health, as these may be able to be repaired or restored. Your insurer will advise you.

If your home is uninhabitable while repairs are being carried out, your insurer will arrange for, and pay the cost of, any alternative temporary accommodation you may need.

Commercial polices will cover damage to premises and stock. Business interruption cover (which may be included or purchased separately) will cover additional trading costs, such as hiring temporary alternative trading premises if necessary.

Comprehensive motor insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing vehicles damaged by storms.

Power cut

If you have a power cut, call 105 to report it. Don’t call your energy provider as it doesn’t control the power lines.

According to the Energy Networks Association (ENA), as of lunchtime today, around 190,000 customers were without power while the network companies had reconnected ove277,000 customers.

You are entitled to compensation if you have been without power for a prolonged period of time. You can claim:£70 as a domestic/non-domestic customer if the power was off for 24 hours (Storm Category 1) or 48 hours (Storm Category 2). Ofgem checks and verifies storm categories. You can get a further £70 for each additional 12 hours of being without power, up to a total of £700.

You can apply for compensation by contacting your local network operator. This is different to your energy supplier. You can enter your postcode here to find out who your electricity network operator is.

Events and gigs

Gig-goers to the O2 have had their tickets cancelled after part of the roof structure came away this afternoon.

If you had a ticket for an event today which has been cancelled, Lisa Webb, consumer law Expert at Which? explained that if you bought directly from the organiser or a primary ticket seller, you should be able to claim a refund for the face value of the ticket.

“However, you may have fewer protections if you purchased tickets from a secondary ticket marketplace, and you should check the seller’s terms and conditions to see what you’re entitled to”, she said.

Webb added that if the event is postponed, hold on to your tickets until a new date is announced.

She said: “If you can’t make the rescheduled date but bought your ticket from the organiser or a primary retailer, you should be able to claim a refund for the ticket’s face-value price. Again, if you purchased through a secondary seller, you should check the terms and conditions.

“If you can’t make the new date but don’t want to be out of pocket, it may be that you’ll have to resell the ticket to somebody else – but make sure the terms of your ticket allow for this.”

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