Thursday, September 15, 2016

How To Do Train Ticket Refund (SNCF)

A lot of my friends were in awe when I said I've successfully done a SNCF Train Ticket Refund. I did not know it is such a complicated process (some say impossible) but it did take 3 months for them to refund me. Here is exactly what happened. 
I bought a ticket for 2 from Avignon Centre to Aix-en-Provence on 02/06/2016.  As my card which is used for the payment was expiring in a month (which was during my travels), I opted to have the tickets sent to me via post. There wasn’t any problem during the purchase. 
Avignon, Aix En Provence, Train Ticket, SNCF
Avignon- Aix En Provence Train Ticket

However, after I read the customers' reviews from TripAdvisor, I regretted my decision and quickly email the customer service hoping to change the ticket retrievement method. That was less than 30 minutes after the transaction. 45 minutes later, the customer service replied that the tickets were already sent out to my house in Malaysia (Wow, I was amazed at the efficiency!) and it is impossible to change the ticket retrieval method once an order was confirmed. They could not send me an e-ticket ( that would duplicate my order). Thus, He recommended me to buy a new ticket at the train station and send a refund request to 
Carrer Fluvia 65 METROVACESA PARC 22@
EDIFICIO B PB recepción
and includes the following:
  1. The six digit reference number for the tickets I can't collect
  2. The new ticket I purchased and used
  3. My full contact details (full name, address and phone number). 
I was really frustrated because apparently it was already 8pm in France when I bought the tickets and I doubt that they had sent the tickets out. 4 days later, I asked them again about when can I get the tickets. I was told that the tickets should arrive 10 days before my departure and I was given this link in case I didn’t receive the tickets. And once AGAIN, he confirmed that the tickets were sent to my address in Malaysia.
I waited. When I still haven't receive the tickets after 3 weeks, I contacted the customer service to ask for clarification and solution. However, this time, they did not reply. 

On 01/07/2016, with the company of my travel partner, we went to the SNCF boutique Versailles-Chantiers during our day trip to Versailles Palace. The staff told us that we shouldn’t have opted for the postage as it is impossible for them to send tickets out of Europe. I was really upset because they shouldn’t have let me choose this option if it is a "mission impossible", let alone "Malaysia" is listed in their Country drop-down menu. Well, what to do now? We had to continue our trip, so we bought new tickets. 

The next day (02/07/2016), we went to the Saint Lazare station SNCF boutique again to ask for a refund. The staff was very helpful and thank God for once, speaks fluent English. He helped us to make a "Pre-refund", which allow us more time to apply for a refund. Otherwise, we would not be able to ask for a refund after the trip. Then we were told that we need to have a bank account in France to get the refund, and to get back the money we have to log in to the SNCF website to write to the customer service with the title “ask for refund”.
SNCF refund

On 04/07, I emailed the same customer service I contacted before the trip (but no replies from this customer service until 11/08) So, after our trip, I wrote to the customer service on 08/07 and 09/07 respectively but there wasn’t any reply. Besides, on 10/07, we went to Paris Saint Lazare station again but unfortunately, the boutique was closed on Sunday. We didn’t realize it was Sunday LOL. 

SNCF, train ticket refund
This was shown when I tried searching for my
bookings. However, no refund was received as
21/07 was the day I flew back to Malaysia. I went to Paris Saint Lazare station again, with the hope of getting refunded on the spot, as I have prepared all the details and brought the documents with me. Unfortunately, the staff told me that it was not possible, and I have to send the tickets and reference number to “SERVICE RELATION CLIENTS SNCF 62973 ARRAS CEDEX 9”. I wrote a letter to sncf including my stories and personal details, attaching the tickets (which I bought in France) and bank statement (which I printed out after checking on the website).

SNCF, Train Ticket Refund.There was a post office nearby (the staff was not really kind, even though she could speak English). I bought an envelope there and found the postbox with the help of other customers and passersby. Praying fervently, I threw the refund application letter into the postbox.
On the same day, I received the email from the customer service, replying to the inquiry I sent on 09/07. I replied him telling that I have sent to the SNCF in Arras, and after that, I received no more reply from this customer service.
On 11/08, I finally received a reply from the first customer service. I was asked to post the tickets to the same Spain address again to process the refund. I replied that I have sent it to Arras, France. In the following reply, the customer service reply that SNCF in Barcelona office will not work on this claim anymore and from then I have to deal with the claims department in Sncf Arras. Besides, He recommended me to contact SNCF directly on 0033 892 35 35 35 and press #85 as soon as I hear French in order to be transferred to an English speaking operator. Are you kidding me? I am not gonna spend more Euros to make international calls. LOL. So I decided to give up on my 46 euros.

To my surprise, on 06/09, I received an email from SNCF with a reference number saying that I will receive the refund soon. I seriously doubted it after having to go through so much trouble for it. Hence, I asked again. Yup, turned out that it was the reply from SNCF Arras after receiving my claim letter! They promised that the refund will be done soon as they had received all the details needed for it! 

Finally, on 09/09, I received the refund in my Malaysian Bank (46 euros exactly, though a small loss of RM10 due to the exchange rate)

This marked the end of my fight lasting 3 months (Hooray!) . It was really tiring but I am very grateful to get my money back. So, here is my advice:
    •    Don’t opt to have your tickets delivered to home, especially if you are staying outside of Europe. Retrieve it from the yellow machine in the station with your credit card if there is no e-ticket available.
    •    If you didn’t receive the ticket, do the pre-refund immediately. (Though it seemed to me that the staff from each station do things differently)
    •    Prepare all your personal details and document beforehand (especially bank statement and booking order)


This article is co-written by Miss Happy Feet's contributor and travel partner, Cheah Jeanne. 

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Thank You for Reading! 
This post is based solely on my personal experience. 
Feel free to share your Ticket refund experience with me by commenting below!

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