High-speed rail is one of the main means of transportation for business travel, and the issue of refund fees has always attracted attention from all parties.

After paying attention to the issue of high-speed rail fares and refund and change fees in 2020, Zhou Shihong, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and vice-chairman of the Anhui Provincial Committee of the Democratic Revolutionary Committee, once again set his sights on the 5% to 20% refund fee for train tickets this year.

  Relevant proposals stated that the current railway ticket refund fee adopts a step-by-step scheme, and no refund fee will be charged for refunds more than 15 days before driving; all refunds within 15 days (inclusive) will be charged: 5% for more than 48 hours, and less than 24 hours. 20%, and 10% in between.

Moreover, during the Spring Festival travel period, a 20% refund fee will be charged.

Zhou Shihong believes that there has not been a public hearing on the standards for railway transport companies to charge passengers refund fees. "5% to 20% of the refund fees are not only in line with the actual cost of refund services, but also inconsistent with relevant laws and contracts."

  12306 has launched the standby ticket purchase function. Should those tickets that do not affect the re-sale of tickets continue to be charged for refunds?

Is the maximum 20% refund fee too high?

These issues are indeed worth discussing.

The so-called refund fee is not the result of the negotiation between the passenger and the CRC when signing the contract, but a standard clause unilaterally provided by the CRC.

The "Civil Code" stipulates that if the party providing the standard terms fails to perform the obligation of prompting or explaining, so that the other party fails to pay attention to or understand the terms of which it has a major interest, the other party may claim that the terms do not become the content of the contract.

From this point of view, the refund fee is suspected of being an overlord.

  What is the refund fee?

To ask whether the refund fee should be charged, we must first clarify the nature of the refund fee.

If it is used as a shipping and miscellaneous fee, the charging standard and amount of the refund fee are obviously not in line with the facts, far higher than the cost.

The true meaning of the refund fee should be the liquidated damages in civil law.

As the carrier, if the liquidated damages stipulated in the standard clauses are clearly exceeded, the counterparty of the contract has the right to request a reduction in the liquidated damages; if the passenger refunds the ticket, it will be sold again on standby soon, and the railway company will have no loss and the refund fee will be charged. Shouldn't be charged any more.

  To put it another way, passenger refunds are of course a breach of contract by passengers, but if the train is delayed or even canceled, is it not a breach of contract by the railway company?

If the railway company breaches the contract, unilaterally terminates or cancels the transportation contract, it does not need to bear the responsibility for breach of contract. It only needs to agree to refund or change the ticket, but passengers must pay for refund, and the more difficult it is to get a ticket like the Spring Festival, the more often the refund fee will be charged. higher, which is also not in line with the principle of fairness.

To put it bluntly, the high refund fee is more based on the economic interests of railway companies, not for those waiting passengers who cannot buy tickets.

  In all fairness, railway services have made great progress in recent years, and they have become more and more humane, which is worthy of recognition.

In fact, the problem of refund fees is more serious, not railways, but civil aviation.

On the one hand, high-speed rail has 12306 ticketing platforms, and the price is unified across the network, but civil aviation does not have a unified platform, and the ticket prices of various commercial platforms vary greatly; on the other hand, high-speed rail ticket refund fees are up to 20%, and can basically be refunded in seconds, and civil aviation has the highest refund. The fee is 100% and the refund time is longer.

  Whether it is a railway refund fee or a civil aviation refund fee, it must be reasonable and legal.

CPPCC members are concerned about the issue of high refund fees, which reflects the demands of public opinion.

The refund fee cannot be left to the enterprise to decide unilaterally, and it cannot be collected in an unclear manner.

Whether it should be accepted or not, how to accept it, needs to be cleared to the public.

  Chengdu Commercial Daily-Red Star News Special Commentator Shu Shengxiang

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