A newly introduced bill would give customers the right to sue Amtrak to resolve disputes.
The Ending Passenger Rail Forced Arbitration Act would eliminate the current arbitration clause for dispute resolution that passengers are forced to accept when they purchase an Amtrak ticket. Customer disputes range from a complaint over a ticket price to wrongful death from an accident.
“This bill would ensure customers can pursue legal remedies in court and give them more options to resolve problems they experience with Amtrak travel,” U.S Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr., D-New Jersey, said in a statement. “In addition, it would holdAmtrak more accountable for actions and issues that occur during rail travel. American passengers and their families deserve all the protections Congress can provide them.”
Amtrak started requiring passengers to resolve disputes through a mandatory arbitration clause connected to their ticket purchase in 2019. When customers bought a ticket, most did not know that ticket eliminated their right to sue Amtrak in a U.S. court.
Additionally, the clause covered second-party tickets, such as one bought for a minor by a parent, and prohibited customers from joining class-action suits. Other transportation companies, such as major airlines, are prohibited from using mandatory arbitration clauses in their dispute resolution.