I would like to share my TGV Lyria experince and see if my complaint is reasonable.
A few month ago I was traveling from Paris to Zurich and I missed my train. I bought the standard ticket which could not be exchanged once the train departed. I was maybe 2 minutes late and they didn't allow me to pass the gate. I went to the custom service and then the train departed. Later I argued with them and they insisted that I should buy another ticket. I ended up paying two fixed tickets for this trip. From this I learned that next time if I know I would miss the train I should stop running and quickly exchange the ticket for free in the app.
This was not the complaint because today something even more frustrated happened:
So my friend planned to come visit me this weekend from Paris to Zurich. I bought one ticket for him on the OUI.sncf app and sent him the screenshot of the ticket. He missed the train exactly the way I did (saw the train there but couldn't enter the gate). Later that day there was another train and he went to the custom service and he was asked to buy another ticket. He paid the same money (130 euro) and bought a ticket for later time.
When he chatted with me about this I was very upset because it happened again. I went to the app and trying to figure out how to complaint. And then I saw that I could click my ticket and refund and it worked?! I chatted with my friend and said "no worry I refunded my ticket and only 30 euro was lost." At this time my friend was still waiting in the train station for the next train. Later he scaned his new ticket for the new train and it didn't work (I didn't know how he bought the new ticket), the people on the gate let him through.
Things seemed a bit positive until later that time my friend called me that he was asked by the ticket inspector on the train that his ticket was invalid due to refund? I started realizing that the ticket on my app was my friend's new ticket. We both thought it was my old expired ticket. The conversatoin with the ticket inspectors were not so successful, they assumed my friend intented to skip a ticket. They tried charging him 240 euro (I guess it's full fare maybe plus fine). The credit card machine was not working after 4th or 5th tries and they assumed my friend's credit card had no money. They asked my friend's passport and address and said that they would send the fine by mail and maybe put it on some record. My friend asked them repeatedly to provide another credit card machine and in the end one of the inspector found one and charged in CHF instead, they charged 299 CHF (209 CHF for full fare and 90 CHF for maybe fine). My friend later kept asking them whether they remove the record and the ticket inspector said yes.
The whole thing was so frustrated that I just keep thinking about it. I admitted there are issues on our side (late for train, clicked refund button). But I still felt something wrong here:
For my train experience in Switzerland/Italy/Germany I didn't see that you cannot quickly exchange the ticket when you are just late to catch the train. Also for flights it happens as well. I know the terms are written on the ticket but still I feel it wrong and a fully flexible ticket is 50 euro more and the only thing it does it's that you can exchange free 2 hours after it departs.
It's my mistake that I didn't check what ticket I was refunding. The fact is that I couldn't tell. The code was the same and only the time updated and which I missed. (update) My refund was sucessful before the train depart so my friend was using a refunded ticket and couldn't pass the gate, he didn't know his ticket was refunded and asked the people there and they let him through. From this I think it's not just our mistake and they also didn't check carefully and they have a gate!
For this trip due to all the frustrated things we've at least paid 130 (1st ticket) + 30 (refund fee) and we still didn't have a valid ticket and had to pay 299CHF on the train. And the inspector was like oh you didn't have a ticket and I would let you pay. I know it's their jobs but I would be less upset if they could try to understand what happened and not treated us as someone who didn't want to buy a ticket. It was my fault and I was very upset for the trouble caused to my friend.
I post here just want to hear your opinion/suggestion and maybe more objective. After talking to my friend my claims are more clear now:
- Confirm there is not any sort of record as we were not intent to skip a ticket. And besides we are allowed to go on the train with an invalid ticket (which we were not aware of) and this was not our fault.
- As we were not intent to skip a ticket I would like to request removal of fine. I would be ok to pay the extra 130 euro due to our mistakes but 299 CHF was too much.
- My friend was treated very bad by those two ticket inspectors who might just do their job. I would like to ask some sort of apologies but honestly I think it would be hard.
Thanks for all the comments and after syncing with my friend I've made it clear my claim and updated the above text. I would reach out to them and see what would happen.
Sep 21, 2021:
Just want to give you some update that I reached out to TGV Lyria custom services and they did reply and
Confirmed there was no fine/record as the fine was paid on board
The fine was paid in CFF but not in SNCF system so that they could not remove the fine easily and instead they offered some 100 CHF vouchers.
They acknowledged my feedback and would share the feedback with the team.
I think it's great that I heard from them and they acknowledged that it was (largely my) mistake but not intention.
Thank you all for the feedback and thanks TGV Lyria for the response.