Photo credit (banner): Géronimo Potier / SNCF

Actual cases decided by the Ombudsperson

Want to know more about what the SNCF Voyageurs ombudsperson does? Browse these actual case studies.

Ms R.

Fine: partial satisfaction

Ms R. renewed her regional pass in May 2017 and believed it was valid starting in June.

On 6 June, she took a train from Orléans to Amboise. The conductor found that her pass was not loaded on the card presented by Ms R. and issued her a €100 fine.

Ms R. should have waited to receive correspondence from the TER pass centre advising her of the effective date for her pass. This was explained in a letter she received on 19 May, but she must have read it too quickly. In fact, her pass wasn’t valid until July.

Ms R. immediately bought a pass for June. The Collection Centre was unwilling to cancel the fine, and Ms R. filed a claim with the Ombudsperson.

Based on Ms. R’s explanation and her purchase of a pass for June, the Ombudsperson recommended that the fine be reduced to €50.

Mr G.

Commercial dispute with Eurostar: complete satisfaction

When Mr G.’s wife broke her leg a few days before they planned to travel to London, he asked Eurostar to change the name on Mrs G.’s ticket so he could travel with his grandson. Because Eurostar tickets are non-transferable, the company refused, and Mr G. filed a claim with the Ombudsperson.

The customer name on the ticket cannot be changed, but in light of Mr G.’s circumstances, the Ombudsperson recommended that Eurostar refund the price of Mrs G.’s unused ticket in the form of an e-voucher for €122.

Ms Q.

G30 commercial dispute: declined

Ms Q. requested payment under our G30 guarantee, the feature of our Garantie Voyage programme that compensates travellers when a mainline train is delayed by over 30 minutes.  She reported that her high-speed TGV had arrived at Lyon Part-Dieu station over 30 minutes late during a journey on 1 January 2017, but customer relations refused her request because the TGV had in fact been only 26 minutes late.

Ms Q contested their assessment of the delay and filed a claim with the Ombudsperson, who upheld the refusal, explaining that the arrival time of each train is recorded automatically as it passes over a sensor in the railbed. The sensors are set to standard time, creating a reliable national benchmark for arrival times that is beyond dispute.

The bottom line

A fine for an invalid pass. An accident that prevented a Eurostar customer from using her ticket. A claim for compensation under our G30 guarantee. Every year the Ombudsperson responds to several thousand requests, striving to find an amicable solution.

And every year the Ombudsperson makes suggestions for improving customer service at SNCF, Eurostar, Thalys and Corsica Railways. Want to know more? Browse the list of suggestions along with SNCF’s responses.

Download the Ombudsperson’s annual report (PDF, French, 3.86 MB)