Commuter targeted in fraud probe after getting £1,100 for train delays

Miscarriage of justice: Commuter is targeted in fraud probe after receiving £1,100 payout for repeated train delays

  • Greater Anglia accepted Karen Ward’s claims were genuine and paid out £1,100
  • But volume of claims raised eyebrows at train company and ‘inconsistencies’
  • Company may ask her to ‘repay any claims proved to have been fraudulent’ 

Having paid nearly £7,000 for her annual season ticket but suffered from disruption on an almost daily basis, commuter Karen Ward felt entitled to claim compensation.

But the City of London insurance broker was ‘shocked’ when a manager from rail operator Greater Anglia’s fraud investigation team contacted her.

Mrs Ward said that before lockdown, the service was so bad almost half of her journeys were disrupted over a six-month period.

Mrs Ward (pictured) said she fears the rail company is trying to recoup some of its losses from ‘easy targets’ as the pandemic has hit its income 

Mrs Ward said that before lockdown, the service was so bad almost half of her journeys were disrupted over a six-month period

In total, she submitted 118 claims for her commute between Ipswich and London Liverpool Street between October 2019 and the end of March 2020.

At the time, the rail operator accepted her claims were genuine and paid out £1,100.

Passengers are entitled to compensation for delayed or cancelled trains under the Delay Repay scheme – with most companies paying out for delays of more than 15 minutes.

However, it is understood the volume of claims raised eyebrows at the train company, along with ‘inconsistencies’ in her travel pattern.

Mrs Ward, 46, said: ‘The whole point of Delay Repay is to be able to claim for delays and cancellations. I do not try to get money when it’s not owed to me.

‘To make 118 claims on that particular line is not out of the ordinary. It shows what a poor service Greater Anglia is providing.’

In a letter, Greater Anglia asked ‘if it is possible you have made an error in any of your claims’ and invited Mrs Ward to ‘resolve this matter without any need for it to be investigated further’.

 In total, she submitted 118 claims for her commute between Ipswich and London Liverpool Street (pictured) between October 2019 and the end of March 2020

The company said it would ‘assess’ her case and may ask her to ‘repay any claims which have proved to have been fraudulent’ – or warned it could ‘pass your file to the British Transport Police’.

The letter did not specify which claims Greater Anglia was suspicious about and would only say: ‘Your claim pattern is not in line with what we see as standard.’

Mrs Ward had made the commute for 11 years prior to lockdown. She said: ‘I was shocked and affronted. I’m not a fraudster. The letter was frightening but I don’t like giving in… when I haven’t done anything wrong.’

She added that she fears the rail company is trying to recoup some of its losses from ‘easy targets’ as the pandemic has hit its income.

A Greater Anglia spokesman said the case was ‘under investigation’, adding: ‘We are sorry for any distress we have caused Mrs Ward.’

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