Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL INFORMATION

  1. Why has this website been created?

    This website has been created in order to inform members of the public and potential class members about the claim. The website will also form one of the ways in which the proposed class representative will communicate with the proposed class members.

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  2. Who is the claim against?

    The proposed collective action actually comprises claims against the following UK train operating companies:

    1. First MTR South Western Trains Limited
    2. Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited
    3. London & South Eastern Railway Limited

    However, as it is hoped that each of these claims will be dealt with together, we refer to just one claim.

    First MTR South Western Trains Limited is the train operating company currently operating all rail services under the South Western rail franchise. Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited previously operated the South Western rail network until 20 August 2017.

    London & South Eastern Railway Limited is the train operating company currently operating all rail services under the Southeastern rail franchise.

    Collectively, these companies are the “Proposed Defendants.” For more details regarding the trains and routes included in the proposed claim, please visit the Documents page.

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  3. What did the Proposed Defendants do wrong? What are the claims?

    If Mr. Gutmann is granted a Collective Proceedings Order, his claim would combine the individual claims of class members against South Western and Southeastern for damages arising from their alleged abuse of their dominant position in breach of competition rules (Section 18 of the UK’s Competition Act 1998).

    Mr. Gutmann alleges that South Western and Southeastern have breached competition laws by charging Travelcard holders too much for travel on their routes: specifically, it is alleged that South Western and Southeastern do not make (cheaper) ‘boundary’ fares or ‘extension’ fares available, or sufficiently available, for purchase on their services.

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  4. What is a ‘boundary fare’?

    Boundary fares allow rail passengers who own Travelcards to travel beyond the zones covered by their Travelcard to their destination of choice without paying twice for the part of their journey within their Travelcard’s eligible zones.

    For example, if a rail passenger owned a zones 1-4 Travelcard, but needed to travel from Waterloo to Reading they should be able to purchase a fare from the edge of zone 4 to Reading. However, owing to the difficulty in purchasing boundary fares and the fact that consumer awareness of their existence is very low, rail passengers end up paying for the full journey from Waterloo to Reading and, in doing so, pay twice for the part of the journey between Waterloo and the boundary of zone 4.

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  5. Who is the proposed class representative?

    The proposed class representative is Mr. Justin Gutmann.

    Mr. Gutmann has spent a large part of his professional life dedicated to public policy, market research and, specifically, to consumer welfare. His final post prior to retirement was as a Head of Research and Insight at Consumer Focus, the UK’s statutory consumer champion, and later Citizens Advice. Mr. Gutmann also spent eight years working for London Underground as Market Planning Manager.

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  6. What are the class representative’s responsibilities?

    If he is approved by the Competition Appeal Tribunal as the class representative, Mr. Gutmann will conduct the claim against the train operating companies on behalf of all class members, except for those who choose to ‘opt-out’ of the class in due course.

    During the proceedings, Mr. Gutmann will be responsible for communicating with the class and for issuing formal notices. Communication will occur via updates and announcements on this website, email correspondences, and written notices.

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  7. What is the Competition Appeal Tribunal?

    The Competition Appeal Tribunal is a specialist court based in London that covers the whole of the UK and hears disputes such as these. The Tribunal publishes its Rules and Guidance, together with information about what it does, on its website www.catribunal.org.uk.

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  8. What are ‘opt-out’ class proceedings?

    As a rule, class proceedings can be brought on either an ‘opt-in’ or ‘opt-out’ basis, subject to certification by the Competition Appeal Tribunal. In ‘opt-out class’ proceedings, such as these, the claim is brought on behalf of a defined group of persons but those persons do not have to be personally identified, nor do they have to ‘opt-in’ to the proceedings.

    UK domiciled claimants within the proposed class are automatically included in these ‘opt-out’ class proceedings unless they follow the specific steps to ‘opt-out’ in due course.

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  9. Who are the solicitors of the proposed class representative?

    The solicitors of the proposed class representative are Charles Lyndon Ltd and Hausfeld & Co LLP.

    Charles Lyndon is a boutique litigation firm with expertise in competition law. Charles Lyndon have extensive experience of the UK collective action regime gained in building this claim and other similar actions. Charles Lyndon Ltd is a company incorporated and registered in England and Wales and regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. To see their website, click here.

    Hausfeld & Co is a leading specialist law firm known for its expertise in competition litigation. Hausfeld & Co’s lawyers have pioneered the private enforcement of competition law in Europe and have extensive experience working on collective actions on behalf of consumers and businesses. Hausfeld & Co LLP is a limited liability partnership authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority in England and Wales. To see their website, click here.

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  10. Who is paying for the claim?

    Whilst Mr. Gutmann is seeking to be the class representative and run this collective action for the class, he is not able to fund a claim of this size and public importance on his own. Therefore, Mr. Gutmann is working with a specialist litigation funder, Woodsford Litigation Funding Limited, to bring the claim.

    The non-confidential version of certain documents relevant to the funding of the claim, namely the Litigation Funding Agreement, the Adverse Cost Deed of Indemnity, and the After-the-Event Insurance Policy can be provided upon request by emailing info@BoundaryFares.com.

    Mr. Gutmann has also secured £10 million to cover for the Proposed Defendants’ costs in the event that the claim is unsuccessful.

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  11. CLASS MEMBER INFORMATION

  12. Who would be in the proposed class?

    All persons who, at any point during the period between 1 October 2015 and the date of final judgment or earlier settlement of the claims purchased or paid for, for themselves and/or another person, a rail fare which was not a boundary fare, where:

    1. the person for whom the fare was purchased held a Travelcard valid for travel within one or several of TfL’s fare zones; and,
    2. the rail fare was for travel in whole or in part on the services of the Proposed Defendant(s) from a station within (but not on the outer boundary of) the zones to a destination beyond the outer boundary of those zones (including fares for return journeys).

    If you fit the description above and live in the UK, then you will be automatically included in the class, unless you choose to ‘opt-out’. However, if you meet the description above and are not resident in the UK, you will likely be required to ‘opt-in’ to the proceedings, in order to participate.

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  13. Are business included in the proposed class?

    Business are included in the proposed class. It is called an opt-out class because anyone, including businesses, who meets the class definition will be included in the claim automatically and bound by the result, unless they ask to opt-out.

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  14. I qualify as a class member – what do I have to do?

    You do not need to do anything at this stage.

    If you meet the criteria in FAQ 11, you will be automatically included in the class.

    If the claim is certified, more information will be made available regarding next steps. If you Register to receive more information, you will be contacted directly when substantive updates are available or actions are required. If you do not Register to receive more information, stay tuned to this website for periodic updates and announcements.

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  15. Is anyone excluded from the proposed class?

    The only categories of persons that are excluded from the class are:

    1. Members and staff of the Competition Appeal Tribunal assigned to these proceedings;
    2. Officers, directors or employees of:
      1. the Proposed Defendants;
      2. any entities which have a (direct or indirect) interest in any of the Proposed Defendants that give rise to significant control; and
      3. any entities in which any of the Proposed Defendants have such an interest;
    3. Mr. Gutmann’s and the Proposed Defendants’ legal representatives as well as any experts or other professional advisers instructed in these proceedings, including the professional staff assisting them.

    To be part of the proposed class, class members not permanently resident in the UK will need to “opt in” to the claim, in writing. Information on how to do so will be available on this website at a later date. Please Register to be kept up to date.

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  16. Will the claim cost me anything?

    There will not be any cost to you. The funding arrangements in place mean that class members will not need to pay anything to be part of the claim and have no financial risk in relation to the claim.

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  17. CLAIM BENEFITS

  18. How much money does the claim ask for?

    The proposed claim seeks compensation for all those who have been affected by the train operating companies’ allegedly anti-competitive behavior. The total sought is around £93 million. If the claim is successful, all persons who have an eligible claim will be able to seek their share of the compensation.

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  19. How much money will I receive?

    If the claim is successful, all persons who have an eligible claim will be able to seek the compensation for their qualifying journeys made after 1 October 2015.

    If you think you are entitled to compensation you should keep any evidence of Travelcard ownership and rail fare purchases relating to the South Western and Southeastern rail networks. A map showing who operates the train routes around London can be found here.

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  20. When and how will I receive money?

    No money is available now and there is no guarantee that money will be available in the future. The case will have to be won in the Competition Appeal Tribunal unless a settlement can be agreed as between the class representative and South Western and/or Southeastern.

    The court process can take time, so please be patient. If, and when, money becomes available, class members will be notified about how to obtain a payment. Please Register to be kept up to date.

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  21. What am I giving up in exchange for the claim’s benefits?

    If the collective action is successful, class members who remain part of the class (as opposed to ‘opt-out’) will release the Proposed Defendants from liability and will not be able to bring these issues in alternative legal actions.

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  22. Can I object to the collective action?

    Any person with an interest (including any member of the proposed class) may object to the Collective Proceedings Order Application or the authorisation of Mr. Gutmann as class representative by writing to the Competition Appeal Tribunal stating their reason for objecting by 4pm on 5 July 2019.

    Any member of the proposed class may also seek permission to make oral observations at the Collective Proceedings Order Application hearing, by making an application for such permission, with reasons, as part of his/her written objections.

    If you wish to file an objection, you must write to the Competition Appeal Tribunal stating your reasons for objecting and send it by post, or fax, to the following address:

    The Registrar
    Competition Appeal Tribunal
    Victoria House
    Bloomsbury Place
    London WC1A 2EB
    Fax: 020 7979 7978

    When writing to the Competition Appeal Tribunal you must include the reference “Boundary Fares Collective Action” and Case No. 1304/7/7/19 and/or 1305/7/7/19.

    Any third party with a legitimate interest (who is not a member of the proposed class) can also apply to the Competition Appeal Tribunal for permission to make written and/or oral submissions at the Collective Proceedings Order Application hearing on 5 November 2019. Any such application must be made in writing, supported by reasons, and received by the Competition Appeal Tribunal by 4pm on 5 July 2019.

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  23. MORE INFORMATION

  24. How will the proceeding continue?

    A pre-hearing hearing review will be held at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, Victoria House, Bloomsbury Place, London, WC1A 2RB on 23 September 2019 at 2:00pm. The Collective Proceedings Order Application hearing will take place at the same location on 5 November 2019 at 10:30am. The hearing will last for three or four days. Please Register to be kept up to date.

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  25. How can I stay updated on the progress of the collective action?

    If you’d like to receive updates on the progress of the claim, please provide your contact information by Registering on this website.

    Additionally, this website will be updated periodically, so it is a good idea to check back for new information from time to time.

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