Following consultation, the Government has decided not to exempt permanently the rail, aviation and maritime sectors from certain provisions of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. However, rather than coming into effect on 6 April 2016 as intended, application of the Act will be phased in for these sectors between October 2016 and October 2017.
When the Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into effect from 1 October 2015, certain provisions (in particular sections 57(3) and 57(4)(a) in relation to compensation in the event of disruption) did not come into effect in respect of the rail, aviation and maritime sectors until 6 April 2016.
There are well established existing schemes in each of these sectors for passenger compensation and reimbursement in the event of delays, cancellation and denied boarding. Considering these schemes to be adequate and seeking to avoid passenger confusion in respect of overlapping rights, the Government issued a consultation in October 2015 on proposals to exempt these sectors from those provisions of the Act.
However, concerns were raised by regulators and consumer groups as to the principle of exempting the sectors from the Act and the implementation and effectiveness of some sector schemes. The full Government response has not yet been published. However, the Government has confirmed to consultees that it will not introduce a permanent exemption, but rather phase in application. This will allow each sector to review and make changes to take into account the Act coming into force.
To this end, The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (Commencement No.3, Transitional Provisions, Savings and Consequential Amendments) (Amendment) Order 2016 provides for the relevant provisions of the Act to come into force on 1 October 2016.
Furthermore, the Government intends to seek a further exemption until 1 October 2017 in respect of rail passenger services on provisions relating to partial refunds to allow the industry to put in place improved compensation arrangements.