Why can’t I refund my ticket?

train tickets france

If you are trying to cancel your ticket and you do not see a Cancel button, then this means that your ticket is non-refundable and non-exchangeable. We can cancel the ticket to free up the seats or in case you need any proof for your insurance company. Please contact us here and we’ll happily to do this. However, you will not receive a refund because the fare conditions unfortunately do not permit this.

Why is my ticket non-refundable?

The terms and conditions of your ticket are created and enforced by the rail operator and not Trainline. There are certain types of non-flexible tickets that strictly do not allow refunds or exchanges under any circumstances.  

All rail operators will enforce the ticket’s refund/exchange conditions under all circumstances. Consequently, we are unable to challenge them or create exceptions. The refund/exchange conditions are not a policy that we can apply on an ad-hoc basis. Instead all refund/ exchange conditions are applied equally to all of our customers. Once you have booked and paid for your ticket, it means you have consented - by law -  to the rail operator’s and the ticket’s refund and exchange conditions. Therefore it is not possible for us to challenge this or bypass these conditions. 

Can I really not refund these tickets?

Unfortunately this is not possible. We do not create the refund/exchange conditions ourselves nor are we able to decide when or when they aren’t enforced, therefore we are not able to override the rail operator’s terms of sale. These are the terms and conditions that we ask you to confirm and consent with before you purchase your ticket. Therefore it is assumed you agree with the fare and you have entered into a legally binding contract. 

Can you make an exception? Just for me? It was a simple mistake!

We receive this question quite often and it always saddens us to give a negative response. Even if you have booked the tickets as a mistake, have chosen an incorrect date or included an incorrect passenger name, it is still not possible. If we had unlimited funds, we would make exceptions for everyone and offer refunds to as many people as possible. 

However, this is not the case for us; we earn a very small commission from each ticket sold and do not charge you any fees. Therefore it is simply not a feasible business model for us to refund our clients out of our own pockets. We kindly ask that you understand this and see that we also have to keep our heads and company above water. 

Disclaimer: We are very happy to make a commercial gesture and give you an exceptional refund if you wish to refund your ticket due to a fault attributable to Trainline or the rail operator. Please click here to contact us if this is the case for you. 

Well, can’t you just then transfer the value of my ticket to a new one?

This is another question that we frequently receive and sadly have to answer with a no. It is not possible to us transfer the value of your ticket. Why? It is for the same reason as above: the rail operator will not refund us the value of your ticket. Therefore if we transfer the value of it (e.g. by giving you a coupon) we are left out of pocket as we essentially have to pay for your new ticket. As the rail operator will not refund us the value of your original  ticket, this will quickly become a very expensive scenario for us and simply is not a feasible business model.

Can’t you just cut a deal with the rail operator and somehow get a refund?

It would be fantastic if the rail world worked this way! We would love to have the bargaining power to do this and make secret deals with rail operators so we and our clients never lose any money. Though sadly this is just not the case. It would also not be feasible for the rail operator to make exceptions solely for Trainline or for our customers. We are legally not able to leverage a refund for non-refundable/non-exchangeable tickets. Instead these are the fare conditions for a reason: the less flexible a ticket, the cheaper it is. Therefore each rail operator must also ensure some kind occupancy and revenue for their trains.

I was charged a cancellation fee. Can’t you at least refund that?

This question brings us to the same predicament as the previous one: by refunding your cancellation fee, it means we are left out of pocket. The rail operator does not refund or waive this fee for us. Therefore if we pay for your cancellation fee, we are directly paying for it. Of course it can be said that €5 or €20 is not so much for a company to spare compared to its customers. And we wholly agree with this. 

However, if we did this for every customer that asks us (this happens several times daily) we would very quickly run ourselves into a bad financial situation. We kindly ask for your understanding and that we cannot make an exception just for you. This would simply not be fair to our other customers that pay their cancellation fees and therefore goes against our transparent, honest and fair business ethic. We treat all of our clients the same, no matter how little or how much you have spent with us: we all value you equally.

So what should I do if I really, really want a refund?

If you would like to receive a refund for your tickets, we advise that you purchase flexible refundable tickets. They are indeed more expensive than non-refundable tickets, however, they save you a big headache in case something comes up! If you would like to know how to purchase tickets with flexible refund/exchange conditions, please click here to find out more.