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RENFE takes credit card but no ticket; now what, buyers beware

RENFE takes credit card but no ticket; now what, buyers beware

Jul 26th, 2013, 09:16 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 301
RENFE takes credit card but no ticket; now what, buyers beware

I just used RENFE's official site (www.renfe.com) to purchase tickets from Madrid to Segovia. With minor difficulties (guessing the right format expected for the phone number, having to enter a passport number) I got to the place where one enters credit card information, which I provided. Next I was taken to picking the seats. No problem for the outbound trip, all seats were available. When I got to the screen showing seats for the return, ALL seats were marked as taken and I could not proceed. I had to get out (no BACK option) and when I tried to send a message via the form provided to their Customer Service to ensure that they will not charge me, I was prevented from doing that as the form requests a number for "Doc de Identidad" . I tried to enter some numbers (I have no idea what they expect there, it's unsecure communication), but I keep getting the following message "Debe indicar la letra de su DNI". ...

Does anyone know how to beat this system? I will monitor my credit card and will contest the charge if they do charge but this is incredibly frustrating. Who needs this hassle? Obviously I don't have the tickets and I don't even know what to do in this case... Any suggestions?

RENFE users beware, this antiquated, unfriendly application does NOT work.
Suzanna is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 04:56 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 175
If you wrote down the confirmation number, you can get your tickets at the train station. Renfe is a pain in the Ass to deal with. We had to try and book over a dozen times before the card went through. There are other services, Petrabax and Rail Europe but it is more expensive. Good luck!
Travelbound44 is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 05:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,339
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 06:54 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,602
At one time I had a problem, sent an e-mail to RENFE and they answered right away
( my e-mail was in Spanish but it should not
make a difference).
danon is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 07:22 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,685
Suzanna, I've had the same thing happen to me and the charge never went through. That was in April. I just tried to get tickets on renfe.com again last week and got all the way through to the payment part and it would not accept any of THREE credit cards I tried. Did you get to the part where it tells you it is authorizing the card? If not - I doubt it went through.

I am done with renfe.com - I have wasted hours trying to get tickets there over the past couple of years. Last week, after my final wasted hour I simply went to petrabax.com and got the tickets I needed. You pay a bit more, but it was quick, easy, and I had my tickets within minutes.

If for some reason the charge went through for the tickets - there is a "live help" thing you could try on renfe's site.
rialtogrl is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 12,105
I've tried their "live" help, it's not live at all, it's more like a google search. Renfe sucks, period.
clarkgriswold is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
I've never had a problem with Renfe.com when using my Barclays card, but we recommend Petrabax.com to our clients because of the CC issue. And yes, the website has been a pain since they switched from the old system they used to use (up to three years ago) to their newly redesigned (and constantly updated) web site.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 08:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,685

Renfe.COM sucks, period.

It is easy to buy a ticket in a station with the automated system or station agent, but unfortunately that's not goin gto happen for those of us who want the good promo fares and can't just run down to the station. Maybe one of these days the website will catch up to the 21st century.
rialtogrl is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 03:26 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 301
I contacted my credit card company and the charge did NOT go trough. After that (and after carefully reading the many very helpful pages describing what else might happen when you use RENFE at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g1...ts.Online.html ), I decided that I will not check of the box for seats. The purchase went through and I actually got the tickets. it is an incredible royal pain to use RENFE and many other Spanish websites for buying tickets...

After the purchase in EUR (with a card that has no foreign exchange fees) I checked the charge and it was $53. I then checked Petrabax. The same tickets would have been $64, $11 more, which is about 20%. I used Petrabox for other tickets and while it is a lot simpler to use, the website had many times its own annoying problems.

I just have one more ticket to buy and I will be happy when that's successfully done.
Suzanna is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 05:08 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 12,105
"It's easy to buy a ticket at a station..."

Yes, except when they decide to change the 7:55pm train to a 6:30pm train ths month, with just a miniature-message on their website that stalls when you try to "click to read further".
clarkgriswold is offline  
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