Exchange and Refund questions on reservations in France

I am getting confused on rules regarding change / refund of reservations associated with a France rail pass. The website says that the reservations are changeable and refundable (less 7% charge), but I am getting conflicting information from your phone agents. I will greatly appreciate answers to the following questions:

1. EXCHANGE of Reservations

The website states that the reservations are 100% changeable : "If you purchased a paper ticket, you must perform the exchange locally at the train station. Go to the ticket window and a railway representative will be able to assist you with the exchange procedure."

Is this correct ? Can I do this without any penalty ? What if the train station officials refuse to do it ?

2. REFUND OF EXCHANGED RESERVATIONS

Please help with the following scenario. Suppose I have a paper reservation for June 10. On June 9th, I exchange it at a train station in Europe for a reservation on the same train and route for June 30th. Can I do this at no charge? Then, suppose at a later date, I am no longer able to use this paper reservation. If I send it to you and you receive it by June 24th, will I be able to get a 93% refund ?

3. REFUND OF RESERVATIONS WHILE IN EUROPE

Some agents have told me that I need to send the paper reservations back to you so that you receive it 2 days before the departure of the train, even if I am in Europe at the time when my travel plans change. Another agent told me that I have to call you from Europe and cancel the reservation on the phone before train leaves, and then mail the paper reservations after I return to the US.

Another agent told me to follow the instructions on the website (see below), get my reservation cancelled and stamped at the train station ANYTIME BEFORE the train leaves, and then mail the paper reservations when I return to the US. This seems to be most consistent with what is actually written on the website, but I would like a confirmation (I have a France rail pass with associated TGV reservations all as paper tickets/reservations).

FROM WEBSITE:

• - I’m already in Europe and I want to exchange or refund my train ticket. How do I proceed?


To obtain a refund for a paper ticket/reservation, then a railway official at the origin station must cancel your seat and they must stamp the back of your ticket/reservation “Not Used” before the original train departure time. Our partners at the European Railroads will not allow us to process a refund unless this step has been taken.

You must mail us the original unused ticket for the refund to be processed. When you’ve returned from Europe, mail us back your train ticket by sending a letter to our Customer Relations department.
Rail Europe
Attn: Customer Relations
9450 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 400
Rosemont, IL 60018
.

Please help !
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) May 28, 2014 16:00
    Hi Sam,

    A ticket or reservation's exchangeability and refundability are dependent on the specific train and/or fare being purchased. How and when you would go about requesting an exchange or refund would also depend on the specific train and/or fare being purchased.

    Only certain fares would be able to be exchanged locally in Europe at the station. Otherwise, an exchange would often have to be requested in advance, prior to departing for Europe.

    Refunds on tickets or reservations issued as print-at-station or print-at-home documents would generally be requested by sending an email to customercare@raileurope.com. Refunds on tickets or reservations issued as physical paper documents would be requested by sending those documents to the address you indicated above in your question.

    You can view a fare's rules and guidelines by clicking on 'View' listed with the fare when you pull up the results of your search. You would then click 'Read More' next to the options under where it says 'Ticket Flexibility'.

    If you have questions about the refund/exchange procedure for a specific product scenario, you would send an email to customercare@raileurope.com or call us at 1-800-622-8600. If you send an email, please indicate the specific product/routes you're referring to.
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  • Dear Jeff:

    I have written to customer service several times. I get a form letter reply like the one below that does not address my specific questions on my specific reservations.

    "Thank you for your interest in Rail Europe. I am happy to assist you today.

    You can find all of the information about refunds, cancelations and exchanges on our website by using the following link: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-help/c..."

    Therefore, I will very much appreciate your help.

    When we booked our paper reservations, ticket flexibility says "semi-flexible" and "100% refundable and exchangeable before train departure". We purchased the reservations base don this fact. Unfortunately, we did not click "read more" till I read your post (and no one from your customer service ever told us this, either on the phone or in an email).

    The Read More section, which I just read, says "Reservation can be exchanged in France at the train station before train's departure.

    Paper: Reservation is 100% refundable up to 2 business days before train's departure date."

    So, while my first question is answered, I still have the following questions that I posted:

    2. REFUND OF EXCHANGED RESERVATIONS

    Please help with the following scenario. Suppose I have a paper reservation for June 10. On June 9th, I exchange it at a train station in Europe for a reservation on the same train and route for June 30th. After reading the "read more" section, I assume that this can be done at no charge - correct ? Then, suppose at a later date, I am no longer able to use this paper reservation. If I send it to you and you receive it by June 24th (which is more than 2 days before the departure of the new changed date of reservation), will I be able to get a 100% ( - 7% charge) refund ? No one in your customer service can answer this question.

    3. REFUND OF RESERVATIONS WHILE IN EUROPE

    The "Read More" section states that "Paper: Reservation is 100% refundable up to 2 business days before train's departure date." but no further details are provided.

    Some agents have told me that I need to send the paper reservations back to you so that you receive it 2 days before the departure of the train, even if I am in Europe at the time when my travel plans change. This is inconsistent with your website. Another agent told me that I have to call you from Europe and cancel the reservation on the phone 2 days before train leaves, and then mail the paper reservations after I return to the US - but your website does not describe this procedure.

    A third agent told me to follow the instructions on the website (see below), get my reservation cancelled and stamped at the train station ANYTIME BEFORE the train leaves, and then mail the paper reservations when I return to the US.

    I assume that based on what is written in the "Read More" section and your website, I will need to get this cancellation done at least 2 days before the date of travel. This seems to be most consistent with what is actually written on the website, but I would like a confirmation (I have a France rail pass with associated TGV reservations all as paper tickets/reservations - I can send you my itinerary directly if you can give me your email. I have already tried our customer service for several days with little help).

    PLEASE HELP.

    FROM WEBSITE:

    • - I’m already in Europe and I want to exchange or refund my train ticket. How do I proceed?


    To obtain a refund for a paper ticket/reservation, then a railway official at the origin station must cancel your seat and they must stamp the back of your ticket/reservation “Not Used” before the original train departure time. Our partners at the European Railroads will not allow us to process a refund unless this step has been taken.

    You must mail us the original unused ticket for the refund to be processed. When you’ve returned from Europe, mail us back your train ticket by sending a letter to our Customer Relations department.
    Rail Europe
    Attn: Customer Relations
    9450 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 400
    Rosemont, IL 60018
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) May 28, 2014 18:25
    In that case, you would have to call us at 1-800-622-8600 for assistance, as we are not able to assist with inquiries such as this through this medium.

    Questions relating to the refund/exchange procedure for a specific product/ scenario, refund amounts, and any other costs that might apply, would have to go through phone or email. With regard to your specific inquiry; however, you would call us instead of emailing.
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  • I’m sad
    Jeff - I am sorry to let you know but I have had terrible experiences with inconsistent answers on the phone. Please re-read my original post and you will see the different answers that different agents have given me, most of them in conflict with what your website says.

    You were my last hope....:-(
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  • HI Sam,

    We are sorry to hear that you have not received consistant information with regards to the after sales policy of tickets. In order to provide you with the correct policies, we would need to know the fare booked, date of travel, routing, etc in order to provide you with the proper information.

    If you do not have tickets booked, then we can only give you the general information with regards to the after sales policy for tickets.

    As previously mentioned, we are not able to provide that information in this forum as this is used mostly for general questions. If you have questions for your booking specifically, please contact us in our call center and one of our Travel Consultants will be able to assist you further with your request.

    Thank you,
    Jen
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  • Hi Jeff:

    Finally, I received some consistent answers which I will post here later so other people can learn.

    But I have another important question for you.

    I need to change a France domestic train reservation (bought in combination with France Pass) at Paris airport. Where can I change this reservation? At any ticket counter? Or only at EURAIL Aid Office ?

    Where is the Eurail Aid office located? Your website is contradictory: It says Terminal 2 RER station here:

    http://www.eurailgroup.org/Eurail%20P...

    but it says Terminal 1 RER station here

    http://www.eurail.com/plan-your-trip/...

    Which is correct?

    I wish someone would check for such inconsistencies.

    Thanks a lot.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) May 30, 2014 14:43
    Hi Sam,

    Currently, passholder reservations on domestic French trains are able to be exchanged locally at the ticket window in the station before departure. Any reservations purchased through us would not be able to be exchanged at a Eurail Aid Office.

    The actual rail station at the Paris CDG Airport is located in Terminal 2. There is an automated tram that will transport you between terminals.

    Both of the links you posted are not from our website, so I would not be able to account for what is said on either of those pages.

    This messageboard is that of Rail Europe's, and our website is www.raileurope.com. We are the United States-based seller of European tickets and passes for the North American market. The term 'Eurail' refers to a brand of rail passes that we sell as the North American supplier.
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  • Hi Jeff:

    Thank you. This means that I can go to any ticket counter at any station in France to exchange my reservations (or get them cancelled / stamped "not used" ), correct?

    I do not need to go to the Eurail office - and indeed, they would be of no help anyway..

    I apologize I confused Rail Europe with Eurail.

    Sam
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  • Jeff, one more question.

    The TGV station at Paris airport is indeed in Terminal 2, but I understand the RER station where RER B starts (to go to Paris Gare de Lyon) is at CDG Station 1 which is in fact in terminal 3 (see http://parisbytrain.com/charles-de-ga...). Is this your understanding as well?

    Will I able to change my reservations booked through you at the local RER B ticket counter at CDG Station 1 and not have to go to the TGV station at CDG Station 2 (in terminal 2) ?

    Many thanks for all your help.
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  • Hi Sam,

    I am unsure of exactly which terminal the RER line goes out of at the airport as we do not book those tickets here. However, according to the information that we do have, it leaves from Ternimal 2. It is listed as Aeroport Charles de Gaulle 2 TGV.

    As this is also what we have stated for the TGV trains departing from the airport, I would recommend going to Terminal 2 at the airport to board the RER train. The RER train may stop at other terminals at the airport like other cities.

    Since I am not sure what tickets you have purchased through us, I cannot give you further information as to exchanges on your ticket. You can contact us at customercare@raileurope.com with your booking number and we can look into that for you.

    I hope this information is helpful to you and that you are able to get to the station of which your train is departing from.

    Thank you,
    Jen
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