Problem with ordering tickets via SNCF

Old Aug 17th, 2004, 05:37 PM
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Problem with ordering tickets via SNCF

argh! I just booked four tickets for two train journeys on sncf.com, to take place on Sept. 7 and 8. Because I live in the US and they don't mail tickets here, I chose to pick up the tickets in France. Everything went smoothly until I read my confirmation email from SNCF... it seems that I have to pick up the tickets by Aug. 25 or my bookings will be cancelled--and we don't arrive in Paris until Sept. 2! It would've been helpful if that was mentioned before I paid. So now I've emailed SNCF to ask for a cancellation. I suppose I'll have to wait until right before we leave to make reservations. Hope this info can help other travelers...
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 05:43 PM
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Hi--didn't the site offer you the option of printing your own tickets?? I think you still *may* have been able to do that even after you said you would pick them up in France but if you have already asked to cancel them, I am not sure....if you are feeling adventurous, you could check and see if that is still possible on your reservation. I am very bad with things like this, but my husband and I were able to print our own tickets, so I would encourage you to see if it is not too late.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 05:45 PM
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I believe if you pay for your tickets you can pick them up til departure time. That is what I have done from the US. Have you tried to cancel them online and just re-purchase them?
Mara
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 05:49 PM
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Similar problems have happened to many other people on this board. I believe telephoning SNCF may solve your problem. Others have said that when they phoned they were able to receive the tickets by mail in the US with no problem.

Try searching for some of these older threads, or hopefully someone who had the same experience will add to this one.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 05:49 PM
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Nope, no option of printing my own tickets. I suppose I CAN just go back and cancel my reservations myself... duh! I'll do that. But I'm still glad I emailed them... they need to know that this is a problem; customers should be told about expiration dates before they make a purchase. I even read most of the "terms and conditions" before I paid! sigh...
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 05:50 PM
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PS We also printed out our own tickets, which was easy, efficient, and presented no problems at any point.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 05:53 PM
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strass, I think we used the French language website as the English one was having some problems. Maybe that provided more options, like printing your own ticket. At any rate, there are ALWAYS posts about problems with SNCF tickets. The website is a masterpiece of confusion.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 05:55 PM
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The delivery options differ based on the type of fare. You can only print the tickets on your pc if they are nonrefundable types. You cannot expect the tickets to be mailed to the US; for that, they want you to use RailEurope.
That leaves the option to p/u in France. There are two ways to do this.
1. Choose to pay later: in this case, you only have so many days before your reservations expire; you have to go to ticket window and pay for them within that timeslot.
2. Choose to pay now/online: in this case, you get a confirmation email after you complete your payment transaction. When you go to the ticket office you show them the confirmation and the credit card you used.
3. Go back to #1 - you should be able to go back into your reservation and pay for it online. Then you can pick up your tickets when you get to France, as in #2.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 05:57 PM
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I would've loved to print them out myself! But sadly, I'm not fluent in French and had to use the English version of the site.

I searched Fodor's and found that other people have had problems, and that technically we Americans are supposed to book through Raileurope, not the SNCF site. Hmmm. The SNCF site didn't say that anywhere that I noticed.

I'm so annoyed... we're talking $300 here!
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 05:58 PM
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Hi Travelnut,

I did pay for the tix online and choose to pick them up in France. But my confirmation email stated that they must be picked up before Aug. 25, and we won't arrive in France until Sept. 2. There was no mention of an expiration for pickup until the confirmation email.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 06:13 PM
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If you merely made the reservation on the website and did not pay for the tickets, you have to pick them up by that date. If you paid for the tickets online by credit card you have up until departure to pick them up.

This has come up before. It is confusing but if your tickets are paid for you are okay. It is only a reservation without pay that will be dropped if not picked up/paid for by a certain date. You can only print out certain tickets, prem fares and a few others.

When I had a problem with the website and ticket I was allowed to buy the ticket again for exactly the same price and get a credit issued at the same time. I did this when I arrived in Paris at the ticket counter.

Hopefully, SNCF will just email you back that your tickets, if paid for online, will be there for you to pick up until departure.

I will say that in many bookings with SNCF I have had only one problem and it was resolved without much problem.

Hope it works out ok for you.


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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 06:18 PM
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ggnga, now that you mention it, I did receive TWO confirmation emails. One noted the 8/25 expiration date and the other said nothing at all about expiration dates. I hope you're right! I'll wait to hear back from SNCF before I cancel my reservations.

whew! Thank God for the Fodors discussion boards.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 06:21 PM
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strass, I was posting this during the other replies before you definitely said you paid for them. I would just email and clarify with them that you did pay for them. You should be okay. I have been through this. It was very confusing until I realized that it was different for tickets that were already paid for.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 06:31 PM
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Strass, that is unusual, I wonder if it's a mistake. YOu do have a limited time to pick them up or they are cancelled IF you only reserve seats. However, if you pay for them online with a credit card, there isn't supposed to be a deadline to pick them up that is that tight.

I just looked at the web site and the "rules" it gives you for purchasing/ordering a ticket and it gave three choices--to pay and have them mailed (which they won't do to US), to pay and pick them up until the moment of departure, or to pay and confirm later online, up until Aug. 25th. I suspect you picked the wrong one which is that you must pick them up by August 25th. At least those are the options it gives on the test ticket I tried for the same date. Are you sure you actually have paid for them online? I checked how they were translating that into English and it was pretty clear that it was the same three options. The one requiring confirmation and payment online by Aug 25th was the bottom option. This is what it says:

<<You must pay and withdraw your ticket before the 25/08/2004 09h00 on voyages-sncf.com or in Automatic ticket machines (ATMs) or in SNCF stations >>

So, in that case, you can also pay online, not just at the station, by Aug 25th.

Maybe something different happened with yours, but I think that is the norm. There aren't very many ticket types you can print out yourself (PREMs or last-minute ones).
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 06:39 PM
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Hi Christina,

I just double-checked my confirmation email--the one that doesn't mention exp. dates--and it says, "We have recorded that you have paid for this order on-line for a total amount of 254E." So I think I chose the right option. But I did get that other confirmation email... I wonder if I mistakenly booked my trips twice. I better go back to sncf.com and look up my reservations!
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 06:44 PM
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Well, I looked up my reservation and I didn't double-book, and it's marked as "paid," so I think SNCF just screwed up. I'll wait to hear back from them. Thanks, everyone! Now off to drink some wine and relax...
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 07:27 PM
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HI--I assume that you printed out a copy of your "paid" reservation to include w/other confirmations that you take w/you on your trip. That wine sounds like a great idea!!
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 08:44 PM
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If you are buying a prem ticket - it will only be mailed to a european address. If you are paying full fare, you can pay with a credit card and pick up the tickets any time at any station in Paris. If you just reserved the tickets, but did not pay for them you have 7 days to pick them up and pay for them in Paris. When you buy the tickets on their website- pay particular attentionto the little circlesthat indicate how you will recieve the tickets.
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