Hello, has anybody tried to get a refund of Eurail passes bought via Rick Steve's website? The passes are marked "promotional" (bought on Black Friday) and would normally be non-refundable, but what's normal these days.
Please see the two links on our rail home page: www.ricksteves.com/rail. While promotional Eurail-brand passes normally are not refundable, Eurail has now announced exceptions to the rule. You must return the passes to Rail Europe to get the refund; address on our link.
Thank you, Laura. I will follow your advice and post the results here. Warmest wishes to all at RSE in these difficult times.
After a few days of trying, we connected with Rail Europe via chat on their website. We were instructed to mail in our passes (which we did) and to receive an acknowledgement within a few days (which we didn't).
We were also told that our "promotional" passes will be refunded at 85% and that there's an additional 7% surcharge. So right now they have our passes and our money. There has been no response to our attempts to follow up. The wait continues...
Give them a few weeks before checking up. (If you had tracked delivery, then of course hang onto that info.) The bank processing alone can take several days - refunds are always slower than charges. Right now, Rail Europe has to prioritize refunds for dated tickets that have more immediate deadlines, which supersedes handling them in the order received.
After being a fan of the Eurail Pass decades ago, then relishing the hunt for discount point-to-point tickets on Web sites intended for locals (remember Prems fares in France?) and finally returning to the faithful Eurail Pass for the freedom it offers (despite the price), I have to concede that this situation demonstrates the stupidity of issuing paper passes. Electronic tickets can be canceled and refunded remotely.
We're in the 21st century! Major European railways such as SNCF, DB, and SBB have supported electronic tickets for years. Would it be so hard for Eurail to devise a paperless pass, even if it were optional and if it were only accepted by the most modern railways? Would it be so difficult to send a library of 4 or 5 QR codes to a customer's Apple Wallet or Google Wallet, each covering a popular railway operator? The requirement to show a matching passport would prevent abuse.
At this time, mailing back a paper pass is going to be especially slow as the US Postal Service grapples with sick workers and (justified) demands to increase safety measures for the remaining workforce. If you use a private courier service, who knows what is happening with domestic air cargo capacity right now? (The question also affects bulk transportation of airmail.)
As for the mechanics of a credit card refund transaction, there's no difference in effort for the merchant. The flag on the terminal or in the software is changed from "purchase" to "refund". Between the card processor and the card issuer, it might take a few days for the transaction to be posted to the cardholder's account, but the refund transaction itself required no extra work of the merchant.
You can observe this yourself when you return an item to a supermarket, pharmacy or other local store. You insert, tap or swipe your credit card, or tap you phone or smart watch, just as usual, and that's it. (There is of course some record-keeping work for the merchant, but that effort, if slow or complex, is self-imposed. It has nothing to do with the use of a credit card.)
I couldn't agree more. Protecting these awkwardly-sized paper documents for two months (the duration of our passes) is a big hassle. We even tried to buy a jacket with a pocket large enough to hold the passes (in their protective envelope procured from Office Depot). No luck. Passes are too big. We go to Europe every year, and we usually buy rail passes. If there are two lessons we learned from having to cancel this trip, they would be 1) buy airfare directly from the airline and 2) buy tickets on the spot, just before departure. Best wishes to RSE forum readers.