District Court: Helsinki City Transport must pay consumers compensation for local rail traffic delays

The Consumer Ombudsman has assisted a consumer – who sought a reduction to the price of the one-year Travel Card from Helsinki City Transport (HSL) due to local rail traffic delays – at the Helsinki District Court. According to the District Court’s decision, HSL must repay 10 euros to the consumer.

The dispute concerned local rail traffic delays in January and February 2010, which were caused by difficult weather conditions. The consumer had a seasonal HSL ticket for a year, which was valid at the time and entitled the holder to use local rail traffic.  The consumer demanded compensation for delays in train services. HSL refused to pay compensation on the grounds that the consumer had been able to use buses provided by HSL to replace rail traffic.

The consumer referred the matter to the Consumer Disputes Board. The Board stated that the service did not correspond to what the consumer could justifiably expect, and recommended a price reduction of 10 euros. HSL did not follow the Board’s recommendation.

As the issue of HSL’s liability was important in principle and because HSL did not follow the recommendation given by the Consumer Disputes Board, the Consumer Ombudsman assisted the consumer at the Helsinki District Court. Court proceedings began in early 2013.

In its decision of 15 May 2015, the Helsinki District Court ordered HSL to pay the consumer a price reduction of 10 euros. As grounds for this decision, the district court stated that it found crucial shortcomings in the manner in which HSL had fulfilled its contractual requirements. Although the delays cannot be considered HSL’s fault, it is nonetheless responsible for the service it provides. The district court found the requested price reduction reasonable. As HSL did not announce its dissatisfaction with the decision by the deadline of 22 May, it is legally binding.

Concerning rail traffic delays in the winter of 2011, the Consumer Ombudsman and VR have agreed on a compensation system for local traffic in the capital area. The system is still valid. At that time, HSL refused to compensate for delays. Among other grounds, it stated that the passenger would have been able to use other HSL transport services such as buses.

Further information is available on the FCCA website:
Delay in train journey