Report: #318964

Complaint Review: AMTRAK - Washington District of Columbia

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: San Diego California
  • AMTRAK 60 Massachusetts Ave. NE Washington, District of Columbia U.S.A.
  • Phone: 800-525-2550
  • Web:
  • Category: Amtrak


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At Thanksgiving (2007), my son who attends college in San Luis Obispo boarded the Amtrak train. The train was to go from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles, he would change trains in Los Angeles and be in San Diego (total trip approximately 10 hours). The trip took over 14 hours! What Amtrak fails to tell its passengers is that for 2 hours they sit on a side rail north of Santa Barbara waiting for a northbound freight train to pass - apparently freight trains have the right-of-way. Had we known this, he would have taken the bus to Santa Barbara and caught a train.

So fine, he gets to San Diego exhausted, the food was horrible and incredibly expensive, but he's home. Needless to say, he did not want to ride the train back to college and was able to get a ride with a person going to San Francisco and they dropped him off.

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, prior to my son's departure, I called Amtrak to cancel his ticket as he would not be using it. The representative told me that they could not make a refund, but we could call and reschedule at any time within one year. I was then given a 4 digit confirmation code. That's it, I wasn't told to hold on to the ticket or anything, just call and reschedule and give the reservation agent the confirmation code.

Fine...now speed forward to Spring break 2008. I call Amtrak to make a reservation for my son (on the train that does not require a change of trains in either Santa Barbara or Los Angeles) and was told that my son had to have the ORIGINAL ticket from Thanksgiving in order to board the train. The 4-digit confirmation number meant nothing to them and no one told me that we had to have the original ticket! The reservation agent "Cathy" was not helpful in any manner and she made the reservation stating that if we found the ticket, my son could exchange it at the train station, otherwise we would have to pay for a new ticket. I told her that was not acceptable and asked to speak to someone regarding the information provided to me in Thanksgiving when I canceled the ticket.

I was transferred to "Carol" a customer service representative (after being on hold for over 45 minutes). Again, I relayed the same information about canceling the ticket, getting a confirmation number, etc. and reiterated that I was not informed that we had to have the original ticket, I would have held on to it. She became snotty and stated that all transportation requires you to have the original ticket and the ticket is like cash.

When I pointed out to her that had I been traveling by air and did not have a ticket, with proper ID, the airlines would have re-issued the ticket at the counter. She got all huffy and stuck me on hold while she "researched this". I explained to Carol, just like I explained to Cathy what I was told at Thanksgiving and again, I was told that the 4 digit number meant nothing to her and there was no record in the original reservation "file" that I had even called to cancel the reservation. She said if I found the ticket, they could give me a refund (I was told the exactly opposite, that I could NOT get a refund!) or it could be exchanged for another ticket. I told her that I was specifically told that a refund could not be given.

The bottom line is that I was outright lied to and Amtrak's employees could absolutely care less that you are out money. Amtrak's customer service is atrocious and no one tells the truth. Obviously they do not check ID of persons boarding their trains. ANYONE can steal your ticket and use it. If you do not have your original ticket whether it is lost, stolen or whatever, it is money thrown away. Hold on to your tickets like gold!

At the end of the call (I was SO ready to hang up on snotty Carol) I asked who I could speak to and make a complaint and was given Amtrak's address in Washington, DC. From reading all of the ripoff reports about this same thing happening with other individuals, it is time for Congress to pull the plug on passenger railroad subsidies.

T. Smith
San Diego, California

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/18/2008 10:32 AM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/amtrak/washington-district-of-columbia-20002/amtrak-hold-on-to-your-tickets-they-are-like-cash-and-cannot-be-replaced-washington-dist-318964. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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