Cheating on Railpasses?

Old Aug 13th, 2004, 11:52 AM
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Cheating on Railpasses?

My agency has sold thousands of railpasses and no one ever complained about being accused of cheating, by changing the dates (like changing a 2 to a 3 or a 7 to an 8, it can be done if you are crafty enough. Of course, I've never done it as it would be unethical! But in the last week we've received two complaints about French conductors accusing two clients of chaning their dates. Both are veteran customers who vehemently deny they changed anything, and I believe them. One had a pen that didn't work well, so she traced over the date (entering by the passholder the day they want to travel) with a different colored pen. So the conductor accused her of cheating and fined her $100 on the spot. He first took her passport until she paid. When she got off the train there were FIVE policemen waiting for her in case she didn't pay. The other client, who also said it was a pen malfunction, this time because a drop of water had fallen on the pass, didn't have enough cash to pay and the conductor, who, with her passport in his hand, escorted her to an ATM where she got money for the fine. I myself was fined for this once and I too had not changed the dates. That occured when I was taking a night train between Paris and Amsterdam via Belgium. The train was still in Belgium before midnight when the conductor stamped by pass by that date (many conductors date-stamp the date you write in; thus cannot be changed; but many don't). Later down the line weeks later another conductor accused me of changing that date to the next day, which, according to the 7pm rule on night trains, should have been the date entered. I was fined about $40 and the conductor said he could confiscate my pass. So when entering your dates on flexipasses, make sure your pen works and you have the correct date.
PalQ is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2004, 11:54 AM
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Oh, I forgot, one reason I wrote this is to ask others if they have ever had or heard of any such problems? Have you ever changed a date? (And i don't condone that!)
PalQ is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2004, 11:57 AM
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Hi Pal,

Good post.

>Have you ever changed a date? <

Nope. Not worth the hassle.
ira is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2004, 12:09 PM
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no, I wouldn't do that because I don't believe in theft (cheating is a nice word for children's games).

I think you should be careful writing in dates on railpasses and know how important that is. I don't blame a conductor for thinking the first client had altered the date if they wrote it in two different color pens. I can understand being upset if some drop of water made your pass look funny but yes, indeed, I have heard of college students doing this. I know someone who did it, a college student. I'm sure the conductors have to be rigorous about funny-looking dates on passes or a lot more of them would do it. If you've ever spent time on a travel forum filled with that type crowd (Thorntree, Eurotrip) you will know how many of those folks buying railpasses want to cheat with them.
Christina is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2004, 12:23 PM
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This happened to my friend and I 2 years ago in Otaly. We were the only young females on the train that were not Italian. We had not changed or altered our Eurorail passes but the exact same thing happened to us. The train official (who looked about 17) took our passports saying "altero" over and over again. He fined us each 100E and confiscated our passes. I will never buy another pass after my experience... the pass was over $300 and we only got to use it twice before it was confiscated. What seemed even more shady was that the train official put the cash in his packet - not his wastepack. But he had our passports and didn't admit to speaking one word of English or understanding our limited Italin so we felt we were stuck. What made me feel even worse is that we did get his employee number from him and he is a legit employee of TrenItalia. Just a mean dishonest one.
TexasAggie is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2004, 03:53 PM
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I have never cheated, but I had an unlimited pass for three months so I didn't have to worry about dates. Two boys who were backpacking were caught on a train I was on, and it was very embarrassing for them.

But most backpackers I met didn't cheat. Not worth it.
crazymina is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2004, 04:08 PM
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nope, it's offensive and disrespectful to go to another country and steal from them.
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Old Aug 14th, 2004, 11:50 AM
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Sounds as though you were caught by one of the (hopefully few) dishonest guards who knew darn well that he could pocket the fine and never get challenged on it.
I think I would have reported it to a ticket office and taken along proof of purchase and asked for them to get the pass from him and show why it was confiscated and/ or provide a refund/ replacement immediately.
Kavey is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2004, 02:27 PM
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Do you mean a scam like my encounter with a Hungarian train guard who thought he could rip me off?

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Old Aug 14th, 2004, 02:27 PM
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A somewhat related story. Last summer in Germany we had a six day pass. We had the passes stamped in Berlin. On the first day we used the pass, the conductor stamped our passes in the first day's block with the wrong date -- two days earlier!!! We didn't even notice until later that day when we showed our passes on another train and the conductor proceeded to stamp the second day's block with the correct day. I couldn't get him to believe that it was still our first day and that the other one was stamped wrong. It took going back to the office at Berlin Zoo station and showing our airline tickets and stamped passports to show that we couldn't have been traveling on the train the first day stamped. They issued us new passes and blocked out only one day.

So we weren't cheating or trying to, yet we were accused of it and nearly lost a whole day's worth of our two passes. I suggest people do carefully check that the conductor stamps with the correct date!!!
Patrick is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2004, 02:36 PM
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Please understand, I have fowarded this to the IRS!
mikemo is offline  
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