SCOTRAIL has been slammed for the company’s overcomplicated complaints procedure by one of the UK’s leading watchdogs.

The company is the joint worst offender for lengthy compensation claims, demanding up to 24 pieces of information for delayed and cancelled journeys.

New Research by Which? revealed that ScotRail wants to know information about the passenger’s ticket, such as whether it was a paper ticket, the cost, class, whether it was peak time, the dates of validity and how it was paid for.

Yet most of this information can be found clearly displayed on a photo of the paper ticket, which is required to be uploaded as proof of purchase.

The damning rating comes at a time when the troubled train operator has presided over a catalogue of delays and cancellations on the Fife Circle, as highlighted by the Press’ Crush Hour campaign.

Cowdenbeath MSP Annabelle Ewing demanded ScotRail simplify the procedure for Fife’s already suffering passengers.

She said: “It will come as little surprise to many of my constituents to discover that ScotRail was rated as one of the worst five train operators in the UK in terms of the complication of the process for claiming compensation for delayed and cancelled trains.

“We have an ongoing issue with the frequent cancellation of services on the Fife Circle so I know that a great number of my constituents who commute regularly on that route will have encountered Scotrail’s overly-complex claims procedure.

“No-one should be required to provide 24 separate pieces of information just to claim back a train ticket!

“I have written to Alex Hynes asking what plans he has to review the way in which the compensation claims process works so that my constituents – and other passengers across Scotland – who suffer delays and cancellations can access the compensation to which they are entitled, without first having to navigate an unnecessarily tangled web of requirements.

“My message to ScotRail is twofold: simplify the claims procedure and sort out the need for those claims.”

Which? want to see rail compensation simplified by the introduction of automatic compensation.

The move is backed by their annual rail passenger survey, which showed a third of journeys weren’t claimed for because it was too much effort, too difficult or time-consuming.

Some rail companies – C2C, Northern, South Western Railway and Virgin Trains – are already offering automatic compensation to customers with smart tickets or ones bought on company apps, meaning passengers are automatically refunded without tedious form-filling.

However, ScotRail insist that it’s easy to claim through their Deley Repay guarantee.

Alex Hayman, Which? managing director of public markets, said: “It’s clear this fragmented and confusing compensation system leads to people losing out on a lot of money when they have already suffered enough from unacceptable levels of delays and cancellation.

“The technology exists to deliver compensation automatically but the industry continues to drag its heels, while benefitting from a system that deters passengers from claiming the money they are owed.”

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We are absolutely committed to providing the best possible service for our customers and our Delay Repay Guarantee is at the heart of that approach.

“We know how much of an inconvenience it is to customers when things don’t go to plan, and it is only right that they are compensated when that happens.

“The Delay Repay system is easy to use and we regularly remind our customers to claim for compensation if their journey is delayed by 30 minutes or more.”