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Refund of international train ticket booked at SBB


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kim11
kim11
574 posts
top member
Jun 8, 2022 - 3:54 AM

I booked two of us on SBB .ch site for first class standard point to point tickets departing Mittenwald, ending in Wengen on 1 July. Due to the crowding and other issues with G7 happening during our planned Mittenwald stay (bad us for not knowing this) we have decided to go to Weggis instead. Now I need to cancel and be refunded for the Mittenwald - Wengen tickets. SBB website says that "international" tickets booked on SBB website can only be cancelled and refunded by calling and talking with a customer service agent. The number the site provides (calling from US) is +41 848 44 66 88.

I have tried this number over 10 times and get "not a working number" or "cannot connect your call" sort of messages. I am familiar with international dialing and have used the proper "exit code" (011) to call from the US.

I sent an email to service (at) SBB .ch and received an auto-reply "It is not possible for us to process your request in this way. " and told me to call the phone line that doesn't work.

I also filled out a form in the "complaints and praise" section of the SBB site describing my issue. This was the only other contact information I could find. I received an auto-reply saying it would take at least four days for anyone to respond. Okay, I have time before I lose the value of the tickets but also wondering what the promised response will be and how long all this will take to sort out. These tickets (expensive) need to be cancelled with refund ordered prior to departure day.

Does anyone know of any other way to reach these folks? I have lots of other travel details to sort out and anxious to get this one off my plate :-)

I've learned my lesson about booking "international" tickets through SBB. If you start in Germany book through Deutsche Bahn. Or coming from other locations book through the rail company at your origination.

Arno
Arno
15588 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 8, 2022 - 12:57 PM

Hi Kim,

That's indeed their main phone number. Really strange it does not work. I found another number, which is the SBB Handicap Call Centre: +41 (0)51 2257844. If the other one keeps failing you can give it a try. They may not be able to help with the cancellation, but they may be able to forward you to the right people. Or give you an alternative number.

kim11
kim11
574 posts
top member
Jun 8, 2022 - 7:53 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you for that Arno. Unfortunately I get same result "Not a working number".

It seems that all calls into SBB are blocked from access with a US-based cell phone or land line.

kim11
kim11
574 posts
top member
Jun 9, 2022 - 5:34 AM in reply to kim11

I have researched and found many other SBB phone numbers described as accessible from out of country. All result with same "not working number" response.

Have also found 2 more email message contacts, both of which respond with message to call the non-working phone numbers.

I have purchased 350CHF train tickets that now seem impossible to cancel and refund. This is outrageous. Can anyone help?

Arno
Arno
15588 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 9, 2022 - 8:44 AM

Hi Kim,

It's frustrating, and difficult to understand what's causing this. One more suggestion is to call Switzerland Travel Centre, which is the SBB web shop for tourists. Their contact details are here: www.myswissalps.com/aboutus/partners/sbb. They deal with foreign customers all the time and you've probably purchased passes from them in the past. You didn't purchase your tickets there but perhaps they can help or can arrange a call back.

Alternatively: there are online communication services like Skype which offer calling international landlines as well. I never used it but perhaps that works somehow.

You probably already know this, but there are many web shops to purchase point to point train tickets from. They may be more geared to international travelers than the local operators. Our ticket pages list several optoins: www.myswissalps.com/traintickets. But that's for later. I hope you'll manage to get this sorted.

kim11
kim11
574 posts
top member
Jun 9, 2022 - 11:07 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you Arno!

I *think* (hope?) I've got this resolved! I received an email from service (at) sbb .ch saying that they will be processing a refund for these tickets. I was very pleasantly surprised as the previous correspondence from them was "It is not possible for us to process your request in this way" and referred me to the non-working phone lines. I will keep a close watch on my credit card statement to see if it actually happens!

Your idea of using Skype to possibly get around the fact that US-based phones are blocked is very interesting. I did not try that but will keep that idea close at hand if I ever encounter anything like this again. And will also put the Switzerland Travel Centre in my list of contacts should the need arise.

Of course, as you say, best to avoid the problem entirely by not booking through SBB! I have learned my lesson and will consult the link you sent me to plan the rest of our travels.

Thanks so much!!

Arno
Arno
15588 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 10, 2022 - 5:07 AM

I'm glad to hear this Kim, and thanks for the update! Things should work out fine now. Once the process has been set in motion, the money should arrive sooner or later :-)

kim11
kim11
574 posts
top member
Jun 10, 2022 - 5:27 AM in reply to Arno

Thank you again Arno and you are up and working early!

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