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FlixBus - No Toilet and a very abusive driver


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Hello All,

I recently had the displeasure of travelling with Flixbus on a journey I won't name for reasons that will soon become obvious.

I was due to see my partner and not wanting to part with £400 to go Ryanair I decided to try the Coach for £90

When the journey started the driver announced the toilet was only to be used for urinating.

When the driver arrived at the Ferry Terminal they announced the toilet would be closed from there until the next scheduled stop, probably further. They also said there would be no stops for a comfort break and it would be a straight drive.

I have several disabilities and health conditions, one being Autism and another condition incontinence.

I explained to the driver my problem with not having a toilet and suggested it was best I alight at the Terminal and continue my journey under my own fruition. But for absolutely no reason the driver became the biggest ball of rage and anger I've seen from a staff member in the transport industry.

They pointed their finger so it was around 5cm from my nose and yelled at me "CALM DOWN!!" when i was perfectly calm already. They then began to start swearing at me. I never lose my temper and/or swear in an argument as you immediately lose.

 when I replied "Don't talk to me like that" for the driver to get out of their seat, square up to me and look down at me and yell "OR WHAT?" I realised I was in a very bad situation. More expletives were fired my way and they told me to go back to my seat so in order to give them time to cool off I decided to step away.

The driver then returned after several minutes (ironically to relieve themselves) and I tried to explain the situation again and started out with "Can we have a polite and civil conversation". I also began recording at this point on my phone.

Again I was met with things like "don't talk to me like that" and them becoming verbally aggressive.

At this point I was having no more of this and demanded my suitcase from the hold and that I get off the bus.

The driver said they had to call for permission from their control room and that "I'd never be allowed to travel again" if that was done. "If you want to be vindictive, thats up to you" I replied.

The request was granted and I was invited to sign a waiver (Which I couldn't read as the drivers writing was illegible) and then the driver began making death threats. "If my son was here you'd be 6 feet under"

I ignored this but they kept repeating themselves presumably to gain a reaction.

Eventually I just replied "You're scaring me now" and they responded "Good. You should be. My son is not here so you're very lucky, very very lucky"

I then realised my choice of clothing was incredibly unfortunate. A large hoodie with the word UNLUKCY written across the front. At this point I made an attempt to conceal this so as not to provoke the driver further by them inadvertently seeing this and somehow knocked my phone back into record mode.

The driver heard it and then hit my hand so my phone fell away onto the floor. Luckily it was not damaged. Then spouted some nonsense about recording without permission.

I decided not to pick that battle as I considered myself in danger and they probably wouldn't have listened so I left that battle well and truly alone. I was also well within the back of my mind that the driver would say he'd let me off but then refuse to stop and put me in a situation where disaster was inevitable.

I then was reunited with my bag and went back to my seat. I then heard the driver say something along the lines (To what I believe was a colleague and/or friend) "If I find a video on Facebook, I'll rip his **** head off!" and by now I was pretty worked up and knew I could be in serious trouble. But nevertheless I was thrown out at a Petrol Station somewhere on a Calais Motorway. Thinking I'd be left at the terminal... I didn't overly appreciate the 5KM walk to the nearest bus stop.

So in terms of a complaints procedure. Receiving death threats from an employee probably warrants Police Action, So the matter was reported to them but I've yet to have any contact back from the constabulary.

Having reviewed and looked around I think it's best to claim against the operator for breach of contract under Consumer Rights Act 2015 and Breach of the Equality Act 2010. After all, stopping the bus at a roadside service station for 2 minutes is easily considered a reasonable adjustment. It's no different to the bus waiting 2 minutes at a traffic light. The bus company however put the vehicle in service knowing the toilet was faulty as this was announced at the start of the journey.

Their website also says every bus has a toilet onboard so that is considered a binding term under services provided pursuant to Consumer Rights Act 2015 as I relied on it. My understanding is this also allows me to claim for consequential losses to get to my destination. Which was in the region of 300 euros. My partner and I concluded there was an event taking place in the area I travelled as every flight with every airline was extremely expensive and we've never seen the central railway station so busy on a weekend.

My main question is a couple of my friends suggested I should claim for emotional distress and physical injury (walking 5KM when my doctor says I shouldn't walk more than 200m. My body kindly reminded me there is a reason for that...). Plus being on the receiving end of words mocking my disabilities. I won't mention exactly what was said here but it's probably enough to call it a hate crime.

Nevertheless I don't want this to sound worse than it probably was and I actually don't want the driver to lose their job either. I have already said this to the company by phone.

Simply put, I'd accept the following:

Driver to take a Disability Awareness Course, Conflict Resolution Training and be educated on ones right to film in public. Plus an apology for their actions. In turn I will happily respond in kind if it is found I said something in a matter that was perceived as rude but that was not how it was intended.

Reimbursement of Tickets and Consequential Tickets booked. As I arrived earlier it might be worth arguing a hotel night stay as well.

I won't bill them for my return tickets home. However I did not use the booked ticket as I had no intention of arriving at the Bus Station to board and finding either A) The same driver and/or B) Found the tickets had been cancelled. So I want them to refund those too.

However I'd just want to ask what you guys thought if this was you or your disabled relative and whether you'd want to look at emotional stress and inconvenience? If so how do you gauge what that was worth?

I could write the after effects this has had, but it won't change anything. However I want to be very clear, having soiled a coach when a teacher refused to allow the bus to stop in my teenage years and then getting mocked until the end of my school days for it... This whole thing brought back a very unfriendly reminder of how difficult travelling can be.

In terms of how far I've got. I've logged the incident with the Police. I have started writing a letter. Just wanted a 2nd and 3rd opinion to see if I'm going about this the right way.

One day my bad luck will end... Just not quite yet it seems lol

This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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sar them for the video footage from the bus cameras

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

 

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

 

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

 

 

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I sent them a SAR for this within a few days of the incident taking place. I have today had a response which states:

"Due to data security a request for possible surveillance footage can be request by prosecutors or similar authorities only."

As the matter has been reported to the Police I have responded stating the footage must be preserved (If it even exists) and if it does, It must be passed onto the Police quoting my crime reference number.

I have also learned that drivers pointing fingers in peoples faces during any form of disagreement is not unheard of.

I've written a bit more of my letter to them but not quite finished it yet. Is there anything else I should be doing in the mean time?

I'm aware the Gov website says the CCTV owner can refuse but I'm not sure if the grounds for refusal are valid. I believe they are as I am requesting footage of an incident between myself and 2 people. . So far the Police have yet to respond to my complaint and I am concerned if footage does exist that it will be lost if I do not act quickly. So should I make a Court Order for example to retain that footage?

I have also requested footage from Le Shuttle.

This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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they are not telling the truth about the data request but you will have to go through the ICO to get anywhere and by them they will have destroyed it as they know it damns them. They have to preserve other people's rights as far as the camera and sound recordings go and tht is usually the excuse they will use to avoid the embarassment they will suffer. The driver has his rights so even the other half of your conversation may be edited out of what they are actually obliged to send you if they do decide to comply so it will be useless to you anyway.

Better off suing them and let them produce the footage as evidence to rebut your claim and see if they dare

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Referred to the ICO and a letter before claim is being sent later today.

 

Someone in the company has found this thread or it's finally come to head office as I just went into my FlixBus account to download the invoice to work out the total costs for the LBC and found my account has been deleted with no explanation... I managed to recreate the account with the same email address, so while it is entirely possible it was a glitch... It seems too coincidental to be such.

 

I've decided to claim for the following:

Both outward and return FlixBus tickets (After all the Driver said I'd never be allowed to travel again...) £85.00

Airline Ticket 223.99 (Economy Class to final destination)

TGV Ticket from Calais an Airport 75.00 (2nd Class)

Bus Ticket (Unknown Location - Calais Station) 1.70

Extra Night (Friday) in the Hotel I had already booked for the Saturday Night £75.00

Injury, Distress, Inconvenience etc ... Undecided on the amount. Probably £1,000

 

I'm going to give them 7 days to respond to the LBC which takes us dangerously close to 22nd March 2019. If they end up deleting the footage then thats tough luck on them I guess.

This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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injury, distress etc- you had better come up with a qualtifiable  amount and have plenty of case law to support that, courts are not there to make you feel better but to put you back in the position you would have been n if the defendant hadnt done you a wrong except for discrimination where compensation can be awarded to reflect the displeasure of the court to the breaching of the law. Now the vento scale may be applicable as long as you can show that you made the driver aware of your disabilities when he made his announcements and asked for a suitable arrangement.

Auitism isnt a disability per se, you will need to show how having it causes you to require adjustments or allowances for aspects of your life.

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Thanks ericsbrother, I am only requesting compensation for my losses and wanted the court to consider an award for extended damages due to the nature of the incident, I am aware it's unlikely to be awarded. That said, now you've mentioned it I believe the Vento Scale is appropriate and this be taken on as a discrimination case. One of the disabilities in question that was 'mocked' by the bus driver is incontinence. I have a conversation with the driver explaining the disability and I have that on video as well, including how they refused to engage in any constructive conversation which denied any reasonable remedy.

 

Another example of a reasonable remedy could have been the driver to drop me off that the same petrol station and I would wait there for the next available FlixBus service. I would have accepted that as the petrol station had a cafe and toilets and I would rather a significant delay to my journey than something much worse happening. To give an example I travelled some months ago on an Advance ticket on a train and the only working toilet became defective during the journey. The conductor contacted his control room and I was allowed to alight at the next station and wait for a later train without needing to buy a new ticket.

 

Having read a few things online including this pamphlet from the Equality Human Rights Commission website - https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/quantification-of-claims-guidance.pdf

 

An example of a higher award should be considered and one of the items listed in this PDF is: "Where the matter relates to a private or intimate aspect of the victim’s life, for example, the bowel habits of a disabled person with Crohn’s disease" which is condition part of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease family. I have a condition under the same family which is a cause of the issue surrounding incontinence. Having evidence the driver refused to engage in any conversation surrounding the issue and other passengers getting involved I could probably aim for the middle scale if I wished. However this will probably change how the claim is made against them I am guessing? So when filing the N1 I would assume I tick the box for an unspecified sum? So far the company has refused to engage in any conversation at all and have been obstructive. I did however give them 14 days to respond rather than 7.

 

I'm happy to go for the lower end of the lower Vento Scale as I really don't want this to be a "feel better" case and I want to honestly believe this was just a bad apple and isolated incident. But I do want it to be taken seriously enough that the company should think twice about putting defective vehicles into service in the future. Or at the very least provide a reasonable remedy for someone with such an issue if it happened again. I think I'll contact the EHRC and see what they think.

 

Do you know of any places off the top of your head where I could look at case law to read over and supply as arguments? I'll do some more googling this morning and see where we go from there.


As always thanks for your replies.

Edited by nuclearshark

This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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  • 2 weeks later...

as it was a single event then Vento 1 is probably correct. Ths covers a range of compo between £900 and £9400 so you cna either leave it to the court to decide and that way uyou have to fill out a different form ( I think it is a part 8 form, the courts service will be able to tell you) or you whack in a claim for an amount that you can find a comparator for and pay the fee accordingly.

I have successfully asked for fixed amounts but TBH they were at the bottom end of the scale so company more likely to pay up without wanting the bad publicity a public hearing can create (esp if you invite the press along)

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  • 3 months later...

Ok so some updates on this.

 

I started the process of a Claim a while ago and served the papers on the company by registered courier. They did not file a Defence or Acknowledgement of Service so I requested judgment by way of N244, N225, N215 and Affidavit.

 

Unfortunately the Judge rejected my Affidavit as it was not CPR PD 12.4.3 Compliant and has offered me 28 days to correct the mistake. However I am unsure how I need to amend my Affidavit to begin with, very little is covered on this online.

 



4.3  On an application where the defendant was served with the claim either:

(1) outside the jurisdiction7 without leave under the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982, the 2005 Hague Convention, the Lugano Convention or the Judgments Regulation, or

(2) within the jurisdiction but when domiciled8in Scotland or Northern Ireland or in any other Convention territory9 or Member State,

and the defendant has not acknowledged service, the evidence must establish that:

(a) the claim is one that the court has power to hear and decide,

(b) no other court has exclusive jurisdiction under the Act, the 2005 Hague Convention, the Lugano Convention or Judgments Regulation to hear and decide the claim, and

(c) the claim has been properly served in accordance with Article 20 of Schedule 1 to the Act, Article 9(c) of the 2005 Hague Convention, Article 26 of the Lugano Convention, paragraph 15 of Schedule 4 to the Act, or Article 26 of the Judgments Regulation.

 

What wording do I need for my Affidavit to make this compliant for CPR PD 12.4.3?

 

How do I explain the Court has the power to hear the case by way of the defendants being based in an EU Member State?


How do prove the negative of no other Court has exclusive Jurisdiction?

 

I can easily prove 12.4.3(2)(c) by way of the delivery confirmation, which was included with the Affidavit I used already.

 

Some advice on this one or pointer to where I can find such information would be great! Thanks again

This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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Do Flix have a UK office ?

 

Have moved to General legal issues as OP has issues a court. Might receive more help in legal section.

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No they don't have a UK Office unfortunately.

 

However I believe I have found why my Affidavit was defective. It seems the legislation.gov.uk website referenced Article 26 of the Lugano Convention when it should actually say Article 28.

 

So I think I now have a suitable Affidavit to request Judgment outside of Jurisdiction.

 



1) I am the Claimant in this case.
2) I served the N1 County Court Claim Form (Case Number: <Redacted> ) on the Defendant under the instructions of the County Court Money Claims Centre by way of a Postal Service allowed under Section 2, Article 14 of EU Regulation 1393/2007 and pursuant to CPR 6.8(a).
3) Article 19.1(b) of EU Regulation 1393/2007 Applies to this case with regards to the Service of Documents (N1 Claim Form) initiating proceedings as the Claim Form was sent to the Defendants Registered Business Address (also pursuant to CPR 6.8(a) ) and the Postal Service used provided a signature and proof of delivery receipt.
4) I utilized the Postal Service offered by <Redacted> and used the following service offered by them: <Redacted>. The courier collected the N1 Claim Form for delivery to the Defendant on <Redacted> at <Redacted> - Reference: <Redacted>
5) I utilized the services of <Redacted> to ensure full compliance with Section 2, Article 14 of EU Regulation 1393/2007 and pursuant to CPR PD 6B to ensure that delivery was tracked, a receipt of delivery was obtained to ensure the defendants had received the documents.
6) I became aware the Defendant received the N1 Claim Form on <Redacted> at <Redacted> signed for by: <Redacted> by way of the tracking information supplied to me by <Redacted> under reference: <Redacted>
7) There is now shown to me marked: Exhibit 1 - Pages 1 and 2 showing the Delivery Confirmation of the Claim Form from <Redacted> under reference: <Redacted>
8 ) By way of the above, I believe the evidence exhibited and statements made satisfy CPR PD 12.4.3(c)
9) There is now shown to me marked: Exhibit 1 - Page 3 showing the Defendants Registered Principle Place of Business as per their website, where the Claimant sent the Court Claim Form on the instructions of the CCMCC
10) The Defendants' principle place of business is located in Germany, A Member State under the Lugano Convention.
11) Under Article 18 of EU Regulation 1215/2012 - 18.1. A consumer may bring proceedings against the other party to a contract either in the courts of the Member State in which that party is domiciled or, regardless of the domicile of the other party, in the courts for the place where the consumer is domiciled.
12) I am regarded as a consumer in regards to Article 18.1 of EU Regulation 1215/2012, I am domiciled in the United Kingdom and this case relates to breach of contract. I therefore believe the UK Courts have the power to hear and decide this case by way of Article 18 of EU Regulation 1215/2012. I therefore believe, for the reasons stated above, that this satisfies the requirements of CPR PD 12.4.3(a)
13) The Claimant brings the Courts attention to Article's 18.1 and 24 of EU Regulation 1215/2012 whilst considering Exclusive Jurisdiction. As none of the clauses of Article 24 apply to this case in any way; and the alternative Article 18.1 does apply to this case; I respectfully ask the Court to consider that no other Court has Exclusive Jurisdiction in this matter and that CPR PD 12.4.3(b) is satisfied.
14) As per Article 28.3 of the Lugano Convention; The Claimant confirms there are no other legal proceedings taking place in relation to this matter, in any other Court System, in any other Territory or Member State.
15) I believe that the facts stated in this Affidavit are true.

 

It probably needs some tweaking. But considering how little information exists on constructing the Affidavit I'm reasonably happy to reattempt a submission.

This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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  • 3 months later...

Just a very brief but positive update on this one.

 

The Police took no further action as the driver recalled the incident, accepted that he could've handled things differently but denied any wrongdoing. The Police also advised me that no CCTV footage could be retrieved as they DO NOT have CCTV onboard the bus. Whilst they had a manifest they choose not to contact any passengers or advertise for witnesses to come forward and the matter was disposed of with No Further Action. I also have a partial identity of the driver as the Police Officer when discussing what the driver responded inadvertently gave me his last name.

 

FlixBus filed what was the most laughable defence you could make to such a claim. I don't have the exact transcript to hand as I'm currently away but it was along the lines of:



"Incident cannot be attributed to us as this was a service operated by a partner company whom we've asked for comment. If the driver actually acted this way then this is an incident for which he is personally liable. We've reached out to the claimant to discuss out of court settlement"

Yeah that'll be the buses in FlixBus Livery with German Reg Plates then?? Hmmm...

 

They hadn't reached out at this point at all and it was several weeks afterwards that they contacted me and requested the footage I have taken. I complied with this. Several weeks went by during which the Courts requested our N180 Directions Questionnaires. I submitted mine as well as serving it to the "Legal Consul" contact from FlixBus. The CCMCC ordered that these be filed by 28th August 2019.

 

FlixBus did not file their N180. After this deadline had passed, I was sent an email asking to have a phone call. I replied the same day saying I was not prepared to discuss over the phone but would be happy to consider any proposals in writing. They did not respond.

 

A second email was sent to me again asking when a phone call could take place. I ignored this.

 

Meanwhile I sent the court the following letter:

Quote

 


Dear Sirs,

 

The Defendant, FlixMobility GmbH, in case number: <Redacted> have not complied with the order to file a Directions Questionnaire on or before 28/08/2019.

I respectfully bring this to the Courts attention and ask that they consider striking out the defence as they have had over 2 months since filing their defence to file their N180 Directions Questionnaire and yet have failed to do so.

I also bring to the Courts attention that the Defendants also filed their defence outside of the 21 day period to acknowledge service. However due to an error on my side (as a litigant in person) with the N244 application to request judgment out of jurisdiction, my understanding from the most recent order was the defence was allowed to stand. It is clear however the defendants have contempt for these proceedings and are not engaging in the processes.

I therefore respectfully request the Court to consider any appropriate Sanctions.

Yours Sincerely,
 

 

 

And an order was drawn up referring the case to my local court for a hearing upon notice. This caused me a bit of a panic as this hearing could've taken place during my trip away so I sent the court a letter informing them I would be away and unable to attend a hearing and to request that be taken into account.

 

Which brings us to the good news. My support person opened a letter for me while I was away and it turned out the District Judge had already reviewed the Court Bundle back in September and struck out their defence and awarded Judgment in full of just over £1,400! From their memory, it seems the Judge was pretty scathing of FlixBus defence too!

 

I will make a new post with the exact defence and Judgment on my return next week...

 

As for enforcement... Transfer to High Court and tell the HCEOs where they can find some of their coaches??

Edited by nuclearshark

This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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Are their coaches registered (for ‘number plates’)

a) to the firm in the U.K., or to a subsidiary or contractor, and

b) in the U.K. or e.g. Germany?
 

(They’ve already tried “wasn’t us, was a contractor” already).

HCEO’s would want to show the coach was an asset of the firm, not a contractor, and would have access to DVLA’s database of registered keeper, but may not have access to the equivalent (non-DVLA, foreign) database(s).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another update. 

 

This was the order from the Court during the hearing on 20th September is as follows:

 

Quote

Upon the Courts own initiative.

And upon considering the Defence dated 14/05/2019.

IT IS ORDERED THAT

(1) The defence shall be struck out pursuant to CPR Part 3.4(2)(a) as the Defence discloses no reasonable grounds for defending the claim.

(2) Judgment for the Claimant against the Defendant in the sum of 1,450.15 to be paid by 8th November 2019.

(3) The address for service of this order on the Defendant is: FlixMobility GmbH, Birketweg 33, 80639 Munchen. Germany.

(4) Because this Order has been made without a hear, the parties have the right to apply to have the order set aside, varied or stayed. A party making such an application must send or deliver the application to the court (together with any appropriate fee) to arrive within 7 days of service of this Order.

Dated 20/09/2019
Order Typed 23/10/2019

 

Then received a phone call today from FlixBus informing me they'd settle out of Court for around 750.00 🤣

 

Needless to say I asked them if they'd received the latest documents from the Court. No was the answer. So I read out the order and politely declined the offer as the Court had already decided the case. The Representative requested a copy of the Order which I sent to them while I was on the phone. They advised me they'd get back to me on what would happen next...

 

On 11/10/2019 at 07:32, BazzaS said:

Are their coaches registered (for ‘number plates’)

a) to the firm in the U.K., or to a subsidiary or contractor, and

b) in the U.K. or e.g. Germany?
 

(They’ve already tried “wasn’t us, was a contractor” already).

HCEO’s would want to show the coach was an asset of the firm, not a contractor, and would have access to DVLA’s database of registered keeper, but may not have access to the equivalent (non-DVLA, foreign) database(s).

 

I know alot of them are German Plates. The vehicle I boarded that day was a German Plated vehicle if I remember correctly. But was in their corporate livery as most of their vehicles are. They also own Eurolines if I remember rightly.


I'm going to wait till 8th November 2019 to see what they come up with before doing anything further.

This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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Had the following email from FlixBus. Who now have offered to up the compensation to £900

 

Quote

I would like to explain our position on this issue.

 

We do believe that the bus driver should have treated you with much more care, attention and respect than he actually did. Thus, it is our will to refund you for inconveniences.

 

However, several details need to be assessed in the context of the further considerations.

 

We have also asked the bus driver for his statement on the issue. He admits some of the reproaches, but also feels having been disrespected to some extent.

 

As to the duration of regulation. We admit not having been very quick. However, we also depended on the email and phone communication with you and your availability. This also had significant gaps which prevented us from working the case further on time.

 

With regard to the claims asserted, we see cause for detailed consideration.

 

Without acknowledging the duty of refund, especially for hotel and plane expenses, we are willing to make a payment of £ 433,00 for the costs of alternative transportation.

 

For the inconveniences we are willing to compensate you with £ 400,00.

 

Our legal advisors in the United Kingdom strongly advise us to take action against the existing decision of the County Court at Salisbury.

 

Since we are interested in a quick and suitable solution, we offer you a total payment of £ 900,00. We would be very happy to find a solution of mutual satisfaction by this means.

 

Please note, that we need your statement on this offer by Monday, November 4th  1:00 pm, as we need to inform our advisors in the UK on what to state before the Salisbury Court.

 

You may use and signs the document attached.

 

Thank you

 

I suspect they plan to file an appeal for relief from sanctions?

 

Should I let them try it?

This is how I spend most of my life :ranger:

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Do you want certainty / simplicity You can accept what you wish, including their offer (and then agree a set-aside by consent)

 

or you can let them do the running, setting HCEO’s on them if you don’t receive (by the 8th!) what the court has ordered, and opposing any set aside on grounds that the court has ruled, and any application to set aside needed to be made both “promptly” and within the 7 days of service of the court’s order, and given they are a large firm with legal representation it is reasonable for the court to enforce the timescale it set.

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Hi

 

This Companies House link may be of interest:

Flixbus UK Ltd

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/11941533/officers

(look under 'People' the address matches Flixbus address in Germany)

 

 

 

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