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Thread: Purchasing tickets Paris to Avignon, May 2011- Refused

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    7

    Default Purchasing tickets Paris to Avignon, May 2011- Refused

    Hello Paris By Train,
    I am a Canadian resident. I have followed your instructions in the "TGV tickets without fees" and have run to some difficulties. When I've endered my credit card information, I repeatedly get an "error, transaction not completed" message, and my purchase is declined. I contacted TGV Help and they have told me that idTGV tickets cannot be purchased using a North American credit card. This is not mentioned in your information (or I"ve missed it) and is not indicated on the TGV site.
    You are allowed to enter all of your information, receive the scheduled trains (only idTGV trips come up), choose "area" and journey, only to be refused at payment... no prompts or information re: foreign cards. I have also tried entering my country as "Great Britain" and you suggest and the transaction is still refused. (Which shouldn't matter as these are printable tickets)...I was told by TGV Help, quote: "Please note that foreign credit cards are refused for IDTGV trains.You have to choose another type of train or pay your reservation with a french credit card." Is this a new development to bar North Americans from pursuing the strategey you outline in your "Without Fees" article? Any tips? I want to secure the best-priced tickets Paris-Avignon for 4 adults, 1 child... by purchasing as early as possible. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    7

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    I should have added that I was using the: http://www.tgv-europe.com/en/choose-country/index.php site to book these tickets, as indicated in the article...
    Thanks,
    guelphgryphon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    524

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    I'm interested to hear of your problem. I'm not exactly sure what the difference between iDTGV and regular TGV is, but I think it's just some sort of internal marketing system that SNCF have. idTGV and regular TGV tickets coexist on the same train. Maybe SNCF just keep the idTGV for the domestic market. Advance purchase TGV is just as cheap as idTGV, anyway

    What date in May are you trying to book? You can only book regular TGV tickets 3 months in advance, although idTGV seem to be available further in advance than that. For example, today is the 10th of February, so I can see both idTGV and TGV tickets available for the 10th of May but only idTGV for the 11th.

    If this isn't your problem, you could try booking direct on the SNCF website http://www.voyages-sncf.com/ - in French but not really that hard to figure out. Last year I successfully booked TGV tickets on that website using an Australian credit card. Don't change your country away from France or it will redirect you back to tgv-europe. Your ticket delivery options are limited to print-at-home or collect-at-the-station-by-showing-your-credit-card - they won't deliver outside of France. Print-at-home is more secure anyway (although less flexible).

    Last option if none of that works is to book through rail-europe. They have access to the cheap fares but they are an agency, so you pay a commission fee.
    Last edited by scirocco; 02-10-2011 at 04:56 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default idTGV tickets can't be purchased with a "foreign" credit card....

    Thanks for the feedback... It seems that idTGV tickets, which are available up to 6 months prior to travel date, are not available to be purchased with a foreign credit card (again confirmed with TGV Help today). What's frustrating is that this restriction is not clearly indicated anywhere on their webisite(s). You are allowed to enter all your information, view chosen trips, choose comfort category (zen) and request payment all the way to entering your card details only to receive a general, "technical" error message that does not indicate (or clearly communicate) their card restriction policy. TGV Help intitally said the problem was related to my card input data (card is blocked for 24 hours if incorrect info is entered), so I tried my wife's VISA card and then even tried another computer- all at the recommendation of the TGV Help folks... it wasn't until about 8 messages later they disclosed (figured out) the restriction on foreign cards for idTGV tickets (though I'd clearly indicated I was Canadian and booking from Canada). I have also tried the http://www.voyages-sncf.com/ website, following the French instructions (and entering France as my country), as you've suggested, and the same result: "error-transaction not completed". Therefore, you might consider updating your webpage to indicate that idTGV tickets can't be purchased using a "foreign" card.. even within the 6 month period.
    We want to travel on May 28th, First Class, Paris-Avignon, so it seems that I'll have to wait until 90 days??? out (Feb 28th) to attempt booking tickets. Similarly, I'll have to wait until 90 days out to book our return trip on June 26th.
    Thanks for your assistance. Love your site... Great information..
    guelphgryphon

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Ah, French bureacracy, gotta love it. I had similar problems trying to buy a French SIM card for my phone only to find that the phone companies don't accept foreign credit cards (even though I had a French address to deliver to...

    Hopefully the guy that runs this site (Ben) will read your post and update the instructions. They really should have mentioned the 3 month cutoff.

    Anyway, I don't think you'll be disadvantaged by having to buy regular TGV tickets. From looking at travel dates less than 3 months in advance, the non-idTGV tickets seem to be just as cheap. When it's less than 3 months till your travel dates, a ticket category called TGV Prem's will become available. These are first class and seem to be similarly priced to the idTGV first class tickets. I was definitely able to buy this type of ticket with a foreign credit card last year.

    Do keep us posted if you continue to be refused. I'm travelling to France later in the year and would like to know if SNCF have maybe changed their policies to disallow all foreign credit cards for all types of tickets.
    Last edited by scirocco; 02-10-2011 at 08:58 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    7

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    So here's the thing.. As an experiment, I went onto the TGV site and entered a Saturday that's within the 90 day booking period.. (ie instead of our travel date of Saturday, May 28th, I entered Saturday, May 7th to stay inside the 90 day window)... idTGV trips as well as regular TGV trip options came up. However, assuming that we wanted to take the 11:16 trip (our preferred travel time since we're travelling with a 4 yr. old child) the fare difference is astounding... 214 Euros for idTGV vs. 731Euros!! for the "regular" TGV... Assuming that these tickets are on the same train, that's preposterous... PREM tickets, though similarly priced to the idTGV tickets, seem to be only available at limited, "off" times and offer much less flexibility from a planning standpoint... though with price differences like those above, you're almost forced to accept the PREM times. Very frustrating that they will not allow the purchase of the idTGV tickets with a foreign credit card. (and would love to know the reason why...EU residents only??) Perhaps something for your site to work on to see if there's a way around this.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    524

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    Something strange is going on. On the voyages-sncf site, if I look at the 11:16 Paris to Avignon, train 06111 on the 7th of May I can see a first class TGV Prem for 40 euros. That is as cheap as you're going to get in first class for that journey. I'm not sure why you aren't seeing that.

    Did you scroll right down? The idTGV tickets for the 11:16, train 02915, come first (first and second classes for 34.90 and 42.90 euros), then underneath are the non-idTGV tickets. 35 euros (2nd class Prem), 54 euros (Reduced Leisure), 91 euros (TGV Pro 2nd) and then "Voyagez in 1er classe!" TGV Prem for 40 euros per adult. You should be able to buy any of the tickets on train 06111 which is the same physical train as the idTGV one.

    For the 40 euro price range you have to accept some restrictions in flexibility. 40 euros is about half the normal fare.
    Last edited by scirocco; 02-11-2011 at 03:06 AM.

  8. #8
    Frank is offline Paris Train Senior Advisor
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Regarding the refusal to accept credit cards, I looked on the iDTGV site, under "Help," and scrolled down to the "Paying for your iDTGV tickets," Section 4.2.3. It states that iDTGV accepts credit cards (Mastercard, Visa) from the European Union, US, and various non-EU European countries. Unfortunately, it seems as though iDTGV does not accept Canadian-issued credit cards.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Strange indeed!! (I should have mentioned that the prices I quoted above was for 5 passengers). I went back on the TGV site this morning and got the results that Scirocco got- entirely different from my previous search! This has happened before when I was trying to get my credit card to work... same input data and different trip and price results.... strange.
    Thanks Frank for the idTGV payment information. Can hardly believe we're excluded from the "accepted" card list... esp since we have one of, if not the largest French-speaking population outside of France.
    I'll let you know how I make out when I actually get to booking the tickets in a couple of weeks. Thanks for all the advice.
    guelphgryphon

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
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    Finally, success! A few facts. Canadian credit cards cannot be used to purchase idTGV tickets, why I'm not sure. I waited until I was within the 90 day (in fact, exactly 90 days) booking period for 1st class tickets and was able to get non-idTGV options for our Avignon trip. As per scirocco's comments, I got 1st class PREMS for less than the idTGV price... However, I rechecked the site over the next few days and these PREMS do go very quickly, because only 3 days after booking our tickets, PREMS were no longer available for our time and the next available tier of tickets was MUCH more expensive... We still have our return trips to book, so I'll be doing those on exactly the 90th day prior to travel to be able to get the best selection and price (hopefully PREMS again) My Canadian credit card was accepted for the 'regular' TGV (ie. non-idTGV) trip booking. Thanks to all for the comments and help....

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