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SNCF strike. What are you entitled to?

(B2) A European regulation provides fairly advantageous rules for the consumer. Advantages that the SNCF often “forgets” to apply and to inform the traveler

What are you entitled to as a passenger?

You have “the choice” between three possibilities:

  • Either the full refund of the ticket.
  • Either the continuation of the journey or a rerouting to the final destination, "under comparable transport conditions and as soon as possible".
  • Either “continuation of the journey or rerouting to the final destination, at a later date, at their convenience”.

The SNCF cannot impose a choice. It is up to the passenger to choose the formula that suits them.

When does this rule apply?

When we can " reasonably expect “until a train arrives” more than 60 minutes late to the final destination provided for in the contract of carriage “, a traveler has” at once right to this possibility. What the European regulation of October 23, 2007 provides.

To which trips does this rule apply?

On all journeys, domestic or international, except regional or urban journeys.

Doesn't the strike cancel the exercise of your rights?

No. The strike is not a case of force majeure for the SNCF. It is neither external to the company nor unpredictable. No excuses...

At what rate can you be reimbursed?

The ticket price, " at the price at which it was purchased ". This concerns not only the part of the journey not made, but also the part already made. if the trip no longer has any interest in relation to the travelers' initial travel plan ", and even " if applicable, a return trip to the original point of departure as soon as possible ».

Cash or travel vouchers?

Reimbursement “may” be paid in the form of vouchers and/or other services “if the terms are flexible”. But it must be paid in cash "at the request of the traveler". Reimbursement must take place within one month of the claim.

Can the SNCF impose an additional cost on the new ticket?

Normally no. We are talking about comparable transport conditions.

Can it consider that a bus journey is equivalent to a train journey?

Question of perspective. But it is difficult to argue that it is a comparable journey both in duration and in comfort conditions.

Are you entitled to additional compensation?

Yes, if you have not requested the refund. This compensation is legal even if you have been redirected. No exceptions are allowed, even force majeure! The European Court of Justice said this clearly on September 26, 2013 (case C-509-11). Its amount varies depending on the delay: 25% of the ticket price paid in the event of a delay between 60 and 119 minutes; 50% of this price in the event of a delay of 2 hours or more.

And in the event of a missed connection on Thalys or Eurostar?

If you purchased tickets on the website or at the station, the transport contract was concluded with the SNCF. “It’s up to her to assume compensation and reimbursement of tickets.” Says the management of Thalys in Brussels…

The SNCF refuses, what to do?

Keep records (emails, Twitter, etc.), write to SNCF mediator, or enter the european consumer center or a consumer association (Que Choisir ou 60 million consumers) or the Competition and Consumer Affairs Department.

How should you be informed?

It is an obligation. The SNCF must make public, “by appropriate means and before their implementation”, decisions to interrupt services.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

NB: Contacted by several means (twitter and email), the SNCF did not wish to express itself other than by referring to its site which does not specify these rules in any way.

Article published in a first version for Sud Ouest and supplemented

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).