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can we book French rail tickets from australia

can we book French rail tickets from australia

Aug 7th, 2009, 05:52 PM
  #1  
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can we book French rail tickets from australia

we have tried to book rail tickets from Cannes to Paris for a trip on 10 Sept 09 on both the SNCF and iDGV websites from australia and each time we put in our credit card details the transaction is refused. what are we doing wrong?
jenpet is offline  
Aug 7th, 2009, 06:16 PM
  #2  
 
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Hi jenpet, are you trying to book an iDTGV train? I'm not Australian, but recently I tried, unsuccessfully, to book an iDTGV train, on both the SNCF and iDTGV websites, using a Canadian credit card and had the same problem ... I had already booked a "regular" TGV train for another leg of our trip, without difficulty, so I couldn't understand why it wasn't working. We emailed SNCF and iDTGV, mentioning that we were trying to use a Canadian credit card, and got completely unhelpful responses blaming the problem on our computer (something like "it must be a security problem with your browser, try again with another browser"). We tried multiple browsers over the course of several days but had no luck. Finally I just gave up and selected another, non-iDTGV train (I was aggravated because the non-idTGV train was at a higher cost, but we had to have the tickets for a specific date and I didn't want to wait until nothing was left but full fare tickets), and that transaction processed without any difficulty.

Then, out of the blue a whole month later, we received an email from iDTGV that said "After studying your file please note that foreign cards are not accepted in our website for security reasons except USA and European cards. So if your card is not one of these, your booking cannot be valid. We invite you to use another credit card." (I thought it was a little bizarre that it took them a whole month to figure that out? You'd think they'd know from the get-go which county's credit cards work and don't work in their system.) Anyway, based on the wording of their response to us, it seems possible that this may be your problem if you're trying to book an idTGV ... perhaps you should try a "regular", non-idTGV train and see if that works.
travelgirl2_99 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2009, 07:56 PM
  #3  
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Thanks for the response. Yes we are trying to use australian credit cards with no success.
We can see a slightly more expensive ticket available and will probably have to purchase that but just wanted to check this out before we did that.

Will post our results later, however the sncf site when we proceed through to payment looks like it will allow us to pay for the more expensive tickets.

We have found some info at this site http://www.seat61.com/France-trains.htm#How to use voyages-sncf.com as follows:

If you live in the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand:

SNCF owns the 'Rail Europe' train ticketing agencies in North America & Australasia, at www.raileurope.com (USA), www.raileurope.ca (Canada) & www.raileurope.com.au (Oz & NZ). Now do you see why they won't send to these countries? You can buy tickets from these American/Australian websites/agencies if you like, BUT (and it's a big 'but') these sites often don't feature all the cheap deals available direct from www.voyages-sncf.com, and they often charge a booking or postage fee as well. You can often save loads of money booking online direct at www.voyages-sncf.com, with no booking fees or postage costs. Tickets booked at www.voyages-sncf.com can be collected free of charge at any station in France or posted free of charge to addresses anywhere in Europe, for example, your hotel or a friend's house. The price saving can be huge: For example, on a given date I found a ticket from Paris to Venice on the direct sleeper train being sold by www.raileurope.com for $184 when a cheap $45 deal was available at voyages-sncf.com (and also available, for the record, at the UK Rail Europe, www.raileurope.co.uk). So it's worth persevering with voyages-sncf, with cheap deals that blow expensive railpasses or even budget airline fares out of the water if you're prepared to pre-book on a no refunds, no changes to travel plans basis. But you can now see why SNCF make it difficult for US/Australian residents to buy tickets direct, and why they won't send tickets to these countries. The voyages-sncf website tries every trick to bump you to Rail Europe, even to the extent of sometimes requiring you to book in French, but this page will explain how to avoid the traps and travel cheaply by train.
jenpet is offline  
Aug 7th, 2009, 09:05 PM
  #4  
 
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Good luck and please let us know how you got on. Perhaps keep in mind the advice that some credit card rejects result from issuing banks putting a hold on out-of-the-blue overseas transactions - in which case it may be best to let your card issuer know beforehand - thereagain there are usually no problems paying overseas subscriptions, Amazon etc, and SNCF is not a back alley joint in shadyland, so who knows.
farrermog is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 01:09 AM
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I am Australian and I successfully booked 2 different TGV lots of tickets on the TGV Europe site on different days. You can just google it to find the site.
Its a really easy site to use and much cheaper than the other Australian sites and travel agents. I used my Australian credit card with no probles and also printed out my own tickets for all passengers
aussie_10 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 02:25 AM
  #6  
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aussie_10 We tried the TGV Europe site - it just bumped us to sncf and same old problem. Can search trains, pick a train, even choose seats but can't pay at the end.........
Still hoping we can get a workaround.
jenpet is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 03:46 AM
  #7  
 
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Also an Aussie - I screwed up a ticket purchase on SNCF and emailed them re the problem. They were most helpful, emailed me back and we sorted out what I should do. So perhaps you could email them and see if they can help.
cathies is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 07:18 AM
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We just managed to book via SNCF by saying we were from France. It did however cost us 122eu, whereas it would have only been 89.90eu on the iDTGV site, but we have not been able to get it to accept the australian credit card (we tried mastercard, visa and visa debit with no luck on either).
Whilst it cost 32eu more, we successfully managed to get the tickets emailed to us and have printed them out.
We can now leave for europe next week knowing this train travel is booked.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
jenpet is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 02:39 PM
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great news! glad you were able to solve the problem. Hope you have a wonderful trip.
cathies is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 07:48 PM
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It is possible to book with a Canadian card or ANY other Credit Card on www.tgv-europe.com

If you are American, you will be redirected to www.raileurope.com which does not offers Prem's and iDTGV.

If you are Canadian, you will be able to get the tickets. you can also buy on www.raileurope.ca

If you are British, you can buy your cheap tickets (Prem's and iDTGV) on this site but you can also do it at the same price on www.raileurope.co.uk
Thebestoflowcost is offline  
Aug 10th, 2009, 03:13 AM
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Hi Jenpet
Just looked at your trains and I can book for 89.80(first class for 2). It was for an early departure.
Both times I booked I used an Australian Amex card, don't know whether it made a difference. We got Paris to Avignon 1st class 80euro for 2.

Did you put in Australia in the location?

Anyway glad you got tickets
aussie_10 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2009, 03:24 PM
  #12  
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I emailed iDTGV on the weekend asking them why we couldn't book the tickets on their site. This is the reply I received today:

We acknowledge receipt of your message on the payment of your order. Please note that for security reasons you can only pay by credit card French, European or American.
We remain at your disposal for any additional information you consider useful.

At least we know now it was the credit card.
jenpet is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 12:34 AM
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We are getting increasingly frustrated with SNCF because not only can we not make a ticket booking from Gare de Lyon to Dijon on the TGV on their website, but the latest was that if "you can't make that booking on the site then obviously there are no such trains, you must go from Paris Bercy to Dijon on the ter train". All other websites such as raileurope and Fahrplan show that there is a TGV every 1.5 hours from Gare de Lyon to Dijon! Can someone please tell us if it is just as cheap to get the tickets on the day from Gare de Lyon?
coplands is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 12:56 AM
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I used an Australian VISA card for our tickets in May 2008. Perhaps they have changed their rules??
cathies is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 01:09 AM
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I have also had similar problems with booking an idTGV train through the SNCF site with an Australian Credit Card - after letting my bank know I would be making an overseas transactions.I would get right to the end - trying several versions of sites - French/U.K/idTGV versions. Grrr.

Eventually I rang an English friend in frustration and put her CC details in and it all went through immediately. So,as mentioned, if your train is an idTGV, then it seems you will have problems using a CC from non-European bank. Should have tried my AMEX by the look of it.It seems very hit and miss about what is acceptable through whatever site.

Glad for those who finally managed to get the great PREMS fares - it was all worth it in the end and we are really looking forward to the trip on the TGV Avignon - Paris.
Lizzy101 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 03:52 AM
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On a similar note, a letter in this weekend's Sydney Morning Herald telling of an attempt to book a European cruise on a US site only to have the transaction refused and referred to a vastly more expensive Australian agent. (Another letter a couple of weeks ago referred to a similar case - a thwarted attempt by another Australian trying to book directly with a European cruise line if I recall.) For what it is worth, I'm thinking of alerting DFAT (Australia's Dept of Foreign Affairs & Trade) in case this sort of thing contravenes so-called trade liberalisation arrangements (hah!).

And what happens when an Australian tourist fronts at the cruise line's or agent's offices overseas and wants to book a cruise using an Australian credit card - happens all the time I'm sure and I can't imagine the sale would be refused.
farrermog is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 03:56 AM
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We used the same credit card to buy train tickets in Italy and Paris without any problems. That was at different train stations throughout Italy. It's all very strange.....
cathies is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 04:12 AM
  #18  
 
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Cathies - it is - and it's not as if we need to purchase locally for value added services which might go some way to justifying the significant additional expense involved. Or about CC 'security', as there is usually 'instantaneous' authorisation from the CC issuer who then bears the risk. So it's just about keeping the agents on side it would appear.
farrermog is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 06:00 AM
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When I booked our tickets it was on different days and both times it went through so smoothly I was stunned, it really was easy. Maybe I was very lucky I booked them at the beginning of August using my Amex.
aussie_10 is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 11:15 PM
  #20  
 
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Just in case some of you haven't seen this -

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ir-website.cfm
farrermog is offline  

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