handled by the Mediator
Discover the scope of action of the SNCF Voyageurs Mediator through several concrete examples.
A customer travelled on a TER which was delayed by 30 minutes and missed boarding a OUIGO at Lyon Perrache station to Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle 2 airport. The customer then bought a ticket for another TGV.
He requested a refund of the ticket price. The Mediation officer refused to grant this request, stating that TER tickets valid for a regional route are completely different from OUIGO tickets for a mainline route, especially since the carrier was unaware that the customer’s final destination was Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle 2 airport.
Moreover, the Mediation officer noted that the customer had only 26 minutes between his planned arrival at Lyon Perrache station and the departure of his OUIGO train, whereas it was not possible for him to take the train.he trains have a 30-minute boarding time before departure, which is explicitly stated on the ticket.
The connection time did not allow for the risk of being denied boarding in case of a delay of the TER.
Customers had to travel between Béziers and Paris Gare de Lyon, via Montpellier Saint-Roch, on a TER and then a TGV. The TER, which was the last one of the day, was cancelled, so customers drove to Montpellier Saint-Roch station but still missed their TGV connection to Paris. They asked to be reimbursed for the expenses incurred as a result of this situation, namely the cost of the freeway, meals and accommodation in Montpellier, as well as the cost of the Montpellier – Paris plane tickets that they had taken the next day.
The Mediator first noted that the Customer Relations Department had reimbursed the unused tickets between Béziers and Montpellier Saint-Roch in the form of a Digital Purchase Voucher.
He also proposed to reimburse the hotel and restaurant expenses by bank transfer, as the last TER of the day had been cancelled and the connection with the TGV had been missed. On the other hand, it refused to pay for the plane tickets since the customers had taken the initiative to take a plane without having obtained the prior agreement of an SNCF agent, knowing that they could have been transferred to the first train running between Montpellier and Paris the next morning.
A customer had to travel between Bordeaux St Jean and Nancy via Paris-Montparnasse and Paris-Est. As the TGV was cancelled and no alternative solution was proposed by SNCF Voyageurs, the customer was unable to take his connection the next day to Nancy. He then rented a car. The Customer Service Department reimbursed him the amount of his tickets by Digital Voucher.
The client also requested reimbursement for the cost of his car rental.
After examining the elements, the Mediator explained to the traveler that a full refund of the amount requested (tickets + car rental) would be equivalent to the customer’s trip being free. He therefore proposed the reimbursement of the total amount of the expenses minus the amount corresponding to the TGV tickets.
The client traveled with her spouse from Amsterdam-Schiphol-Airport to Lyon-Part-Dieu, via Paris. She explained that the Thalys between Amsterdam and Paris-Nord had arrived 1 hour late and that they had not been able to reach their connection at Paris-Gare-de-Lyon for Lyon-Part-Dieu.
Thalys had taken care of their night’s accommodation in Paris, and these travelers were transferred to the first TGV to Lyon-Part-Dieu the next morning. They had obtained compensation from Thalys, corresponding to the compensation provided by this carrier in case of a delay of between 30 minutes and 2 hours. They nevertheless asked for a full refund of their tickets, including for the Paris-Gare-de-Lyon/Lyon-Part-Dieu trip.
The Mediator initially found that, even though the customers’ journey by Thalys had been disrupted, it had nevertheless been made, which justified compensation based on the length of the delay and not a full refund of the tickets.
The Mediator also noted that the customer had bought two separate tickets, one for the Thalys journey and the other for the TGV journey between Paris-Gare-de-Lyon and Lyon-Part-Dieu. He concluded that two separate transport contracts had been concluded with two different railway companies, Thalys on the one hand and SNCF Voyageurs on the other. Under these conditions, SNCF Voyageurs was unaware that the passengers had previously taken a Thalys train from Amsterdam, which had been delayed. As there was no connection between these two carriers, the Mediation officer considered that SNCF Voyageurs could not be required to refund the TGV ticket and therefore refused to grant the request.
Penalty Notice cases
A passenger was fined at Paris-Nord station for “obstructing the closing of the train doors”. When they boarded the train bound for Epinay Villetaneuse, they tried to prevent the doors from closing. However, the passenger contested the reason for the penalty notice.
The Mediator first noted that the passenger had not provided any evidence to support his complaint.
They reminded the passenger of the danger of such behaviour, which could seriously jeopardise the safety of other passengers.
Under these circumstances, the Mediator confirmed the decision of the Debt Collection Centre to uphold the penalty notice.
A passenger was fined for “invalid discount” between Marseille Saint-Charles and Saint-Raphaël-Valescure because they had not been able to present the card that would have allowed them to justify the discount applied to their ticket. They explained that he had left home in a hurry to go to their daughter’s house, and that they had their ticket validated at the reduced fare, but had forgotten the card at home to prove it.
The Mediator first reminded the customer that if they had forgotten their card, it was their responsibility to buy a ticket at the normal fare in order to offer a valid ticket for inspection.
However, having noted that the customer had a season ticket allowing them to benefit from the reduced fare, the Mediator proposed that the Collection Centre reduce the amount of the fine.
A passenger realised that they had left their bag on the platform at Grenoble station. They explained that they had contacted the police as soon as they realised they had left their bag behind, which allowed the blockade for the bomb squad to intervene to be lifted. They were nevertheless fined for “abandoned luggage”.
The Mediator of the French Republic recalled the provisions of the transport code, which prohibit any person from abandoning or leaving materials or objects without supervision. This prohibition is explained by the fact that a piece of luggage left unattended in a station can have serious consequences on SNCF traffic, since following an unsuccessful announcement made in the station or on the train, the Vigipirate plan is applied, with the creation of a security perimeter, the cessation of all traffic in the vicinity and the attendance of the bomb disposal unit.
Under these conditions, the Mediator confirmed that the penalty notice should be maintained.