Problems with Rail Europe booking

Feb 2nd, 2011, 04:09 PM
  #1  
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Problems with Rail Europe booking

Anyone else having their MasterCard booking - in this case for an e ticket - for a Rail Europe reservation not go through because 'it is not an international card' (!!), but the amount is charged to your MasterCard account anyway? Perhaps this is just a problem with bookings from Australia (but other international vendors have no qualms accepting Australian issued MasterCards - perhaps in this case it's a ploy to steer bookings to a local higher cost hard copy ticketing affiliate). An affiliate company in Australia which issues hard copy tickets has advised that this sort of thing seems to be happening a bit lately, but of course can't do anything to sort it out - and suggests emailing Rail Europe (but its European office likely won't even open for another 7 hours by which time the 'cheap' reserved but not successfully paid for tickets will have lapsed).
farrermog is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2011, 05:29 PM
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Rail Europe is a marketing organization and really not a good source for buying tickets. And rail passes - in most instances - are not a good deal either. Your best bet is to buy point-to-point tickets. These you can get in Europe at the station on the day of your departure. This way you can take advantage opf the many discount ticket opportunities. For example, day tickets in Bavaria to anywhere in Bavaria can be had for EUR22 for one person, or EUR 28 for up to 5 people travelling on the same ticket.

Otherwise, go to the websites of the individual country RR companies and order your ticket(s) on the Internet. For example, tickets in Germany can be bought at www.bahn.de
treplow is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2011, 05:38 PM
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Be thankful that your charged didn't go through. RE is a travel agency selling limited and highly marked up tickets. Follow treplaw's suggestions.
fmpden is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2011, 05:47 PM
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Thanks Treplow - I've read about the limitations of using RE, but this just happened to be a good deal - AUD49 with an e ticket - for a Brussels/ Paris train in early March (arriving Brussels around midday and have Paris accommodation booked for that night). If it falls through looks as if I'll have to either book a considerably higher fare through an Australian agent, try a European website such as bahn.de as you suggest or SNCF which might not like my MasterCard either, or take my chances on a walk up at Brussels Midi - what chance of getting a 'reasonable fare' to Paris at a 'reasonable time' doing that??
farrermog is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2011, 05:50 PM
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fmpden - the charge did go through, but of course I can try to have my MasterCard issuing bank reverse it.
farrermog is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2011, 07:07 PM
  #6  
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Any opinions please on the likelihood of being able to secure a reasonably priced walk-up Brussels/ Paris fast train ticket on a weekday afternoon in early March? If that does not look promising am I correct in assuming that there should be no great difficulty in being able to get to Paris by early evening via a combination of ICE and Regional trains? Thanks.
farrermog is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2011, 08:34 PM
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Pre-paid tickets on Rail Europe have restrictions (just like discounted air tickets), but they are typically significantly less expensive than walk-up prices.
travelhorizons is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2011, 06:36 AM
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Why not book it yourself at www.thalys.com ? That site is showing mid-March fares as low as $25 euro, or $34 Australian.
Southam is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2011, 08:18 AM
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A friend showed me his Raileurope tickets, Paris/Firenze, for which he paid $445.

I checked SNCF...prem fare of $264.

If that does not sound like a rip off, I have only two Eiffel Tower shares available...
RonZ is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2011, 05:00 PM
  #10  
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Travelhorizons, Southam and RonZ - thanks for the advice - I'll report back on RE. I'd assumed Thalys would divert to a higher cost intermediary such as RE and, as I've said, the particular RE fare at AUD49 wasn't that bad anyway - and I'd already had the benefit of 'local/ Australian' email advice from them on the bounce from RE Europe.

O' for the days of the (virtually) unrestricted Eurail Pass! - in my younger days I undertook immaculately planned two month and one month Eurail trips, going just about everywhere, including Greece and beyond the Arctic Circle. I've also had a BritRail Pass and have used point to point fares in Austria and Germany and the old Eastern bloc - all without any dramas. So I thought just how bloody difficult could it be to book a reasonable Brussels/ Paris ticket more than a month ahead.
farrermog is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2011, 08:14 PM
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Thalys accepted my Canadian credit card. So will SNCF in France (and in English, now). As other threads on this site have noted, RailEurope is partly owned by SNCF which explains why Americans are bumped to the higher-priced option.
Southam is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2011, 09:11 PM
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Good news! - RE Australia has just emailed to say they had a systems error and will courier a hard copy.
farrermog is offline  
Feb 8th, 2011, 05:36 PM
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A good outcome with RE Australia - after acknowledging the problem with their website RE Aust has couriered a hard copy ticket to me at no charge and I have since made two Eurostar e-ticket bookings with them without a hitch. Fares were the AUD equivalent of the fares on the Eurostar site and the modest three dollar fee for each Eurostar booking (five dollars for Thalys) worth it IMO for the peace of mind of having email access to the helpful local RE Aust office if problems emerge and for general advice. A dedicated RE Aust phone number for those with a booking number would be even better.
farrermog is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 05:10 AM
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Hi farrermog

My hubby and I have recently tried to book a TGV train trip from Paris to Strasbourg using RE Aust website. We had the same error come up "Payment failed. Please check you have properly fill in the form and make sure you use an international card. Local debit or credit card; even if it is VISA or MasterCard branded are not accepted."

We originally thought that there was a problem with our credit cards. Your original post was in February, it is now May, you think they would have rectified this problem by now.

Would you suggest that we try and contact them direct or take our business elsewhere and buy our tickets through someone else?
melly28 is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 04:51 PM
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Hello Melly - sorry to learn of your problems - suggest you contact RE Aust at the email address at the end of this para which is lifted from my comments on another thread -

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-countries.cfm

"RE Aust is to courier a hard copy ticket to me in lieu of my e ticket stuff-up which they have acknowledged was due to a 'systems error' (as per my thread 'Problems with RE booking'). Who knows whether that problem likely to happen again - Rail Plus told me it has been happening a bit recently. RE Aust has been pretty good to deal with by email - problem is no phone number if things go wrong and you'd like a quick fix and the good fare options are fading. Their local email (email enquiries to the RE site are apparently bounced to RE Aust after the Euro office opens which could be some time after) is - [email protected] "

Also see my two comments of Feb 4 on that thread about the relationship between RE Aust and Rail Plus - despite RP's unhelpfulness on the phone I assume they are in fact RE Aust/ the Australian agent for RailEurope.

You might also read, towards the end of that thread, of SydneyY2K's misfortune at the hands of European thieves.

I should have ensured the two threads were better linked/ that RE Aust's email appeared in this thread - that's fixed now. The RE Aust email contact person (whose name escapes me - Mel perhaps) proved to be quite helpful.

Good luck and please report back to let us know how you got on.
farrermog is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 08:12 PM
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Rail Europe is a marketing organization and really not a good source for buying tickets. And rail passes - in most instances - are not a good deal either. Your best bet is to buy point-to-point tickets>

well our Aussie friend has found a good deal on RE - and the bit about railpasses in most instances not being a good deal is also in my opinion sheer misinformation - any generality like that to me shows great ignorance - railpasses can be a great deal - not always but to make a blanket statement like that is a disservice IMO - I can point out many instances where railpasses even for limited train travel can be great deals.

but this has become a Fodor's mantra that if you hear it enough you believe it and repeat it without any investigation of what you are talking about.

Anyways for a lot of great info on European trains and yes even those 'always rip-off railpasses' check out these fantastic IMO sites - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

and do beware anyone who says railpasses are almost always a bad deal compared to individual tickets for IMO they simply know little of what they claim in making such a general statement.
PalenQ is online now  
May 13th, 2011, 02:41 AM
  #17  
 
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PalenQ - thanks for the web addresses. I just can't get my head around the rail passes, I think we are going to stick to point to point tickets.

I seem to be getting redirected to Rail Europe (Aus) almost everytime I enquire about the Paris to Strasbourg trip.

I have tried DB Bahn, which will not allow me to buy tickets online.

I have tried SNCF which directs me back to RailEurope (Aus)

TGV-Europe is quoting 108Euros for two 2nd class (approx $145 AUD)tickets.

RailEurope is quoting $158 AUD for two 1st class tickets (incl booking fee).

We have now tried 4 different cards! I am going to email them and see what they can do for me. I will let you know how I go.
melly28 is offline  
May 13th, 2011, 01:50 PM
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Many say to give your country of origin as the U.K. for the French sites and you print out the tickets yourself and no ramifications? did you try that?
PalenQ is online now  
May 16th, 2011, 01:58 PM
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melly - did you notify your U.S. or whatever country you live in local credit-card issuing bank and tell them to expect a foreign transaction charge? If not they could block the transaction for security reasons.

Anyone planning to use a credit card or ATM card in Europe should notify their local card-issuing bank that they are going to whatever countries they are and expect charges - if not they could be blocked as being suspicious. I always tell them also that those are the only countries I am going to and to not allow charges from any others (some stories about miscreants reading credit card numbers from ATMs and having then charges come in from say a Romanian bank, etc. - not the rule but has been reported.
PalenQ is online now  
May 18th, 2011, 05:05 AM
  #20  
 
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Hi PalenQ

I live in Perth Western Australia. I went into the bank and they checked the system and informed me that there was no problem with my cards. A few days before we fly out, we will inform the bank that our cards are going to be used in Europe.

I actually emailed RailEurope (Aus) and they have admitted that there is a system error at the moment. They have offered to courier our tickets to us at no extra charge.

I will let you know if and when we receive the tickets. Fingers crossed! Thanks all for your assistance so far!
melly28 is offline  

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