Your rights when a long-distance train is cancelled, delayed, you miss your connection
If it is reasonably to be expected that the train will arrive at its final destination at least 60 minutes late, you must immediately be given the opportunity to choose one of the following options without delay:
If you decide to cancel the journey, you are entitled to a full refund of the price stated on your ticket. However, you will not be entitled to a refund if you have been informed of the delay before purchasing the ticket. If you choose to discontinue your journey, for example due to a delay when changing trains, you are entitled to a full refund of the price stated on your ticket. You may also claim a refund of the price of your journey back to your original point of departure, if the original ticket is no longer useful for your journey as planned.
Rerouting your journey means choosing a different transport option that will enable you to reach your destination as quickly as possible by another train or some other mode of transportation, or alternatively at a later date convenient to you.
If you are not informed of the available re-routing options within 1 hour 40 minutes from the scheduled departure time of the delayed or cancelled service or missed connection, you have the right to conclude such an agreement with other operators providing public transport services by rail, coach or bus. The railway company must reimburse the necessary, appropriate and reasonable costs incurred by you.
Continuing your journey by the delayed train gives you the right to claim compensation for the delay to your journey. You can also demand free meals and refreshments in a reasonable proportion to the waiting time, if they are available on the train or at the station. If accommodation is necessary and can be arranged, you can demand a hotel room or other accommodation, as well as transportation between the railway station and the place of accommodation.
Standard compensation for lost time
If a long-distance train is delayed when arriving at your destination, you may also be entitled to a standard compensation. The minimum compensation paid is EUR 4, and the sum must be paid within one month of the submission of your claim. However, you will not be entitled to a compensation if you have been informed of the delay before purchasing the ticket.
The minimum compensations are as follows:
- 25% of the price of your ticket if the train is delayed by one hour or more at your destination.
- 50% of the price of your ticket if the train is delayed by two hours or more at your destination.
When do you not have the right to compensation?
You will not have the right to compensation if the delay, missed connection or cancellation of the journey was caused directly by, or was inherently linked to the following situations:
The railway company is not obliged to pay compensation if the delay, missed connection or cancellation was due to extraordinary circumstances which the railway company, in spite of having taken the care required in the particular circumstances of the case, was unable to avoid and the consequences of which it was unable to prevent. Such extraordinary circumstances, that are not connected with the operation of the railway, include extreme weather conditions, major natural disasters or major public health crises.
The railway company is also not obliged to pay compensation if the delay, missing a connection or cancellation was the passenger’s own fault.
The railway company is also not obliged to pay compensation if the delay was due to the behaviour of a third party. Such situations include, for example, persons on the track, cable theft, on-board emergencies, law enforcement activities, sabotage or terrorism, which the railway undertaking, in spite of having taken the care required in the particular circumstances of the case, was unable to avoid and the consequences of which it was unable to prevent.
However, situations caused by third-party behaviour do not include strikes by the personnel of the railway undertaking, acts or omissions by another undertaking using the same railway infrastructure and acts or omissions of the infrastructure and station managers. In such a situation, the passenger is entitled to compensation.
Passengers who are affected by repeated delays or cancellations during the validity of a season pass or other similar ticket can claim compensation according to the compensation system applied by VR.
Your rights in commuter train traffic
Commuter train services are not subject to the same right to standard compensation for delays as long-distance trains. Commuter trains are identified by letters. The commuter rail connections are defined in the Government Decree.(In Finnish)
In the commuter train services, you can claim a price reduction for your season ticket when the service delivered by VR does not correspond to the promises made, for example due to repeated delays and cancellations.
However, the delays and cancellations do not automatically constitute deficient service. Train passengers should be prepared for delays, cancellations and changes in the train service caused by factors such as the weather conditions, even in the case of commuter train services. Therefore, the delays must be repeated and exceptionally difficult to constitute deficient service that would justify a price reduction.
The deficiency of the service must always be verified. To claim a refund, passengers with season tickets must have specific information about the train connections they have used and about the delays in the service. In the case of a strike, season ticket holders can claim compensation for the unused days left on their ticket.
If for example you are using an HSL season ticket in local or commuter traffic, please submit your claim to HSL. Since the HSL season ticket includes the possibility of using other means of transport besides the train, the actual possibility of using bus and coach services to replace delayed and cancelled train connections is also considered in the assessment of the service deficiency.
Compensation for financial losses in commuter and long-distance traffic
If you have suffered financial losses due to a delay or cancellation in train services, you may be entitled to compensation. This applies to both the long-distance train service and commuter train service in the Helsinki Region.
The compensation is based on and covers the actual losses caused by the delay. You may claim compensation for additional costs you have incurred by having missed a connection, for example.
The claim must contain sufficient and reliable evidence of the financial loss, such as a receipt of the additional expenses. The compensation paid for a delay or cancellation in train service can be at most EUR 5,000 per passenger.
No compensation is paid if it can be presumed within reason that the passenger could have prepared for the delay in advance based on, for example, the prevailing weather conditions, or if it seems that VR has taken all reasonable measures to avoid the damage. VR can avoid liability by demonstrating that the delay was caused by a fault in the track system or equipment, for which it is not reasonable to expect the company to be prepared. A defect in rolling stock does not exempt VR from liability.
You may claim compensation for financial losses even if you have received the standard compensation for the same delay in the long-distance train services. The amount of standard compensation is not deducted from the amount of compensation for financial losses.
Filing a complaint about a train journey
When you are notified that your train service is cancelled or delayed, first ask a representative of the railway company to enforce your rights.
If the matter is not resolved, submit a written complaint to the railway company. You should file the complaint as soon as possible.
- The complaint must clearly indicate who is filing the complaint, who the recipient is, which train service is involved, and what the reasons for submitting the complaint are. You should also explain what your demands are and what they are based on.
- In the case of foreign railway companies, check the language of the customer service. Most European railway companies are unable to process complaints in Finnish or Swedish.
- Attach a copy of your ticket and of the costs of meals and similar services to your complaint. Do not send any original documents.
- Save a copy of your complaint. If you submit a complaint by using the company’s complaint form, save a copy for yourself.
- The company shall give its reply or indicate a later date for the reply within one month after receiving the complaint. The final answer must be given within no more than three months after receiving the complaint.
- If you do not receive a reply or are not satisfied with it, you can contact the Consumer Advisory Services if the case involves a Finnish railway company, or the European Consumer Centre in cases involving a foreign company.
European Consumer Centre Finland
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European Consumer Centre Finland help consumers with problems related to cross-border trade. Our main themes are travel ande-commerce.
Take your claim to the Consumer Disputes Board or report a violation of the law to the authorities
If a carrier violates your rights as a passenger, you can file a complaint with the relevant enforcement authority. Each EU country has an authority that enforces passenger rights under the EU Regulation.
If your train journey took place in another EU-country, send the complaint to the authority of the country where the incident occurred. You should file your complaint in English or in the language of the Member State in question.
The supervisory authorities in Finland are the Consumer Ombudsman within the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority and the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom.
In Finland, individual disputes and claims for compensation between a consumer and a carrier are handled by the Consumer Disputes Board, which is an impartial and free dispute resolution body. Visit the Consumer Dispute Board’s website to find out about the situations in which you should take your complaint to the Consumer Disputes Board.
Please note that before you take your case to the Consumer Disputes Board, you must first submit a complaint to the carrier. In most cases, you should also first contact the Consumer Advisory Services.
The Consumer Ombudsman of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, supervises the marketing, contract terms and practices of carriers operating in Finland in their customer relationships as well as compliance with the Regulation on passengers’ rights, placing emphasis on the collective interests of consumers.
The Consumer Ombudsman does not handle individual compensation cases or disputes or respond individually to reports from consumers. We can process consumer contacts made in Finnish, Swedish or English.
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom enforces the compliance with the Regulation on passengers’ rights for the part of business travellers. This means that business travellers can contact Traficom in case of cancellation or delay on a long-distance train journey. Traficom also supervises the rights of passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility.