27 March, 2008

Trainline.com: Faites compliqué

I am hoping to travel up to London next week to visit the Russian exhibition at the Royal Academy. thetrainline.com seem to have other ideas. I've used their website several times before with no problems. True, it is irritating that they charge you to get your tickets, even if you collect them from the station (50p), and they charge if you use a credit card as opposed to a debit card, and of course they "helpfully" add a £2 charge for travel insurance which you have to remember to unclick. But still, you can usually find your journey at a good price.

But they now don't seem to want my business. I have tried to buy a ticket to London from Abergavenny using three different cards, two debit with accounts with ample funds to cover the £35.50 I wanted to pay, and one credit card with a huge unused credit limit. But no, each time the card was declined. I tried on the phone. Tom tried with his cards. No one can tell me what the problem is and as the cards are from three different banks and have funds and have worked on the internet and in shops, petrol stations, museums and so forth before and since, I can only assume that something is wrong with trainline.com and not with me and my money.

Of course at first when your card is declined, you assume it is you, or that someone has emptied your accounts without your knowing and, even when you know this isn't the case, somehow you feel vaguely fraudulent. All of which makes a quick search on the net to see if anyone else is experiencing similar difficulties rather gratifying.

See for example, a comment on The Scotsman's website from last October and a page of complaints from the people on The Weekly Gripe.

I am now going to go to the station and buy a ticket direct which will no doubt be more expensive. And I will not be using trainline.com again. I'll find someone who will take my money. What I wonder is, is anyone at trainline taking any notice? Not according to the other people with this problem. The customer services lot always act like it's you and your bank that are at fault which is what I was told. Clearly it isn't and surely they'd work this out if there are lots of people making the same complaint. Their loss. I shall still travel to London and will be able to get my tickets in the future from someone else.

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