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Paris to Brive booked!

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Apr 5th, 2013, 12:26 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Oct 2012
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Paris to Brive booked!

I've probably read every word on Fodor's about booking rail tickets on SNCF and by last night, that magical 3 months before travel date had arrived. I felt prepared. Also felt totally intimidated! So many had had problems. Nick's Travel Tips which someone had posted was in front of us, but there was this nagging issue he mentioned of verification of Master Card and Visa. Trains selected, seats assigned to all five of us .. 1 senior, 2 adults, 1 youth, 1 child .. all done and we crossed our fingers as we entered the credit card. Rejected! That was my Capital One I'd tagged for foreign transaction. Next my s-I-l's American Express. Same fate. Then a call to the SNCF number I found online, confirming the hours they had an English speaking person. Nothing to do but wait it out and call this morning.

Meanwhile I started trying to research this verification process. Numerous calls later, to Capital One as well as Master Card itself, a supervisor informed me that Capital One does NOT subscribe to the verification process. Turns out that neither does Barclay Bank which held two more of our combined credit cards.

Again this morning my daughter started trying to reach an English speaking person at SNCF, all to no avail after numerous calls. Ultimately she determined she was familiar with the site and went directly to the one in French rather than the TGV one we'd used last night. She put in the Amex card, they in turn called to confirm the charge with her husband and it went through. Confirmation sent, tickets printed, all appears in order. Car has been booked for pickup in Brive. Now, at long last, we can focus on the fun parts of planning!

I'm really writing to encourage everyone to become familiar with the TGV layout but to book using the French site. It was easier and cheaper .. and best of all, it worked! Also to advise that according to my experiences, your Capital One card will most likely not work.
HadleyH is offline  
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Apr 5th, 2013, 02:01 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,632
I'm glad you got it to work but that isn't true because I used my Capital One card on SNCF a few months ago. Yes, I had to tell Cap One not to block foreign charges because the first time I tried it didn't go through, but Cap One admitted they had blocked it. After that, it did go through the next day when I tried. You don't have to have that verification thing. Maybe you should have just told them not to block a charge from France instead of going into the verification issue.
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Apr 5th, 2013, 02:13 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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I went through the same process last Sept. and was finally successful. Lesson learned----Don't give up!
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Apr 5th, 2013, 03:41 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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I had a similar experience last week. And then another slightly different experience yesterday. I have decided there is no rhyme or reason to booking trains in France from the US. Here is my experience last week, posted on another thread:

"First I tried the tgv site. It was in English, I put in all the info, the tickets were 15€ each. When I put in the credit card info (VISA - Capital One) it was rejected. I tried again. Rejected. I called Visa, they said nothing had been rejected, they didn't see any attempt to charge anything. I did it again while on the phone with them. Rejected, they still don't see any attempt.

Then I went to the voyages-sncf.com I tried putting in UK as country, got all the way to the end but it wanted an address and it had to be a UK address. Closed that window and tried again, this time leaving it in French. Got all the way to the end, put in the Visa credit card info. Rejected.

At some point during all these attempts the 15€ tickets are gone and the price is now 30€.

OK, back to the tgv site, which has remembered the info I put in and still has the 15€ price, only this time when I get to the payment page I put in American Express. It works!!!"

OK, so yesterday it was time to book the second ticket (from Avignon back to Paris). This time I put in the Am Ex card expecting it to work. Rejected! WTH! Tried Visa, tried MC. Reject Reject Reject. Gave up and went out to dinner (with a friend who used to live in France, she was very sympathetic). When I got home I tried again, with the Am Ex card - success. Today Am Ex called to verify I did make the charges but it did go through before they called. I had not notified them in advance.

So I guess the answer is - just keep trying, it does work eventually. And I'm sure for some people they get lucky and it works the first time, but I really think it's just luck.
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Apr 5th, 2013, 04:33 PM
  #5
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Join Date: Oct 2012
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I would agree about the luck factor and also the need to be persistent. I did call Capital One, Christina .. many hours before I ever tried to order the tickets, and today each person I spoke with confirmed that my account was tagged for a purchase from France. It sounded to me as though no charges had ever even gotten that far .. seemed the rejection happened back at the TGV site. I never attempted the verification process until all else had failed and it was my last resort. It was about that moment that my daughter sent me a text with the word Success! and a photo of my ticket!!

Nice to know that Cap One worked for you Christina. I remember reading your stories TPAYT and Isabel, as well as others who clearly had struggled through this process. I've had very good experiences (thus far) riding trains in France but oh how I wish this booking process was less of an issue. Reading all the Fodor's posts on this subject was a real education. Thanks, everyone .. I love the feedback.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 04:31 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 794
After similar troubles with tgv-europe and sncf, I used capitainetrain.com. Have used them now for three different train trips, each time with no problem. Same prices as sncf. If you have trouble, I would try this site. I think it's fantastic!
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Apr 8th, 2013, 09:05 AM
  #7
 
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