Ticket Refunds

You may apply for a train ticket refund if it is confirmed that you cannot travel. Refund rules are as follows:

  • As with rebookings, DO NOT go to authorised ticket agents outside of stations. You must do this at train stations.
  • At the station, look for the Ticket Refunds (退票) counter. Sometimes it may be “lumped” together with Transfer Registration (中转签证) or the regular rebooking (改签) counter.
  • Ticket refunds are subject to a handling fee which relates to the printed value of your train ticket unless the problem is on the side of the railways (for example, if a train is suddenly pulled from service).
  • Present ticket staff with your original ticket, along with the same document of identity you used to purchase the ticket in the first place.
  • Make sure the refund receipts bear a station stamp. Double-check your change, refund receipts and leave when all is good.
  • On the Internet at the 12306.cn website, click all links that say 退票 and confirm your intent to apply for a ticket refund.

Refund Handling Fees

These depend on how many days remain between the day you turn your ticket in for refunds and when you were originally scheduled to travel on that ticket. The percentage calculated is based on the price you paid for your ticket.

  • No fees: If you turn your ticket in over 16 days before you are booked to leave, you will be waived of any refund fee.
  • 5%: If you request a refund between 48 hours and 15 days from your booked departure, a 5% handling fee will apply.
  • 10%: If you need to turn in your ticket between 24 and 48 hours before departure, you’ll be charged a 10% fee.
  • 20%: Finally, if you ask for a refund within 24 hours of your booked departure, the fee will be a whopping 20%.

Upshot: Make arrangements (and change them) well in advance!

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