Saint Louis, Missouri
Not resolved
2 comments

My fiance & I were supposed to leave to go to Killeen, TX tonight (12/26/2012) from St. Louis, MO. We purchased our tickets thru Amtrak on October 26...our train was supposed to leave at 8 PM tonight. At 12 this afternoon, my fiance got an automated call that said our trip has been canceled due to "service disruption". That was $436. He called them back immediately and after holding for 15 minutes, they told him that it was because of the snow storm, but that we could go to the train station & get our money back in cash since that's how we bought our tickets. We arrived at the Amtrak - Texas Eagle (STL) around 1:30. They told my fiance that they didn't have the cash at the time & gave him their number, telling him to call back around 7.

We got home & he tried calling them to see if we could go to the station that was in Kirkwood & get our money back there. However, when my fiance called the number that the Amtrak employee gave him, he discovered that this specific number connected to their customer service number, as if we dialed their 1-800 number. He waited on the line while I Googled the Kirkwood stations number and after 20 minutes of holding, the representative (who was very rude & "matter-of-factly" spoken) informed him that the Kirkwood station is not staffed by employees (it's basically just a terminal) and that we're more than welcome to drive to the Little Rock, AR station to get a refund. Keep in mind, there is 9" of snow on the ground in Little Rock, which is why our trip was canceled to begin with. Anyway, we were afraid that the employee actually had no intentions to give us our money back, and we were hoping to get the refund before Enterprise closed as we were hoping that we could still hit the highway this evening, so we went back up there at 4. They told him again that they didn't have it yet, and then they took his phone number & told him that they would call him at 7.

So, we went home....waited & waited. 7:45, still no call. We tried calling the 314 number that was previously given to us, but it AGAIN connected to the 800 customer service number. Obviously, somebody working in California cannot tell me whether or not the drawer in St. Louis has enough CASH in it for my refund. Thus, we made our THIRD 20-minute commute back to the STL train station and waited in line behind 4 other people. By the time the line got down to 2 people, the lady who had been talking to my fiance on previous visits saw him & yelled thru the window that they still didn't have the money, as the customer whose turn it was walked up to the window, by the way. She then paused & turned, yelling to the other woman in the office area, asking her if she had $436 in cash in her drawer, then turned back to us & told us that they still didn't have it.

Instead of leaving the line, i stood there. When we got to the window, I asked the lady how close they were to having the money. She typed something into the computer & then told me that she had $236. She said that the money they expected to have they didn't get because the train that was EXPECTED to leave out at 7 couldn't leave because of the snowstorm. Understandable. I asked the lady if there were any other trains leaving tonight. She told me that there was one leaving at 11, but that there were only 8 people on it. She then said that there was one reservation that had not yet been paid for, and it was over $500, but she wasn't sure how they were going to pay. I asked if they would be able to contact the customer and she looked at me as if I asked her to touch my fiance's genitals. I understand that it was a far-fetched request, but in my opinion, it was the least they could do.

I then asked her if there was an 800 number that I could call. She gave it to me but was very "sarcastic" toned. She said, "Yes there is, 1-800-USA-RAIL.....www.amtrak.com." Despite the extra, unrequested and unnecessary information, I politely thanked her & told her that we would be waiting for the 11:00 train to come.

I walked over to the seating area, dialed the number, and remained on hold. The wait time at the beginning of the call was "approximately 4 minutes". I waited 10 minutes. Literally.

While I was waiting, a gentleman entered the area that the lady whom I was working with was at. I obviously couldn't hear any of their conversation, but his presence is important to note.

When the representative finally answered, I politely explained to her our dilemma & asked if there was any way for our refund to be posted to one of our debit cards. She was very polite. She listened, seemed to understand my frustration, and seemed to really want to help me. She placed me on hold so that she could "call her customer service".

Prior to her placing me on hold, the gentleman previously mentioned walked out of the employee area (behind the counter), through the lobby where I was sitting, and then returned back to the employee area after maybe 2 minutes. Approximately 3 minutes after returning to the employee area, he called me up to the window. He asked me if I was the person waiting for a refund and at this time, the representative returned to the phoned. As the man was reviewing our tickets & looking up our reservation information, the representative was apologizing, explaining to us that it is up to the train station to determine how refunds are given. As she finished her sentence, the man, whom had not walked away from the register, opened the drawer & counted out $436. Right there. In our face.

-_-

While the employees at the STL Amtrak station remained polite, the fact that I had to go through so much for a refund was ridiculous. The majority of the employees in this company are insensitive to customers' time & money...they have no compassion for the inconvenience that they cause and it is a complete turnoff. I have ridden on Amtrak numerous times, and EVERY SINGLE TIME, there is either a problem with the trains being late, a problem with the trains breaking down while on the track while en route, and/or the conductors/employees on the train themselves are extremely arrogant & rude. I refuse to deal with them ever again, and if you are looking forward to arriving to a destination in a peaceful, comfortable mindset, Amtrak is NOT the way to travel.

Product or Service Mentioned: Amtrak Train Service.

Monetary Loss: $436.

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Anonymous
#728620

We are on the Texas eagle at this moment. Started in chicago and going to Austin.

We got a roomette which was a great idea. Not that we got a peaceful sleep really but it was nice to be able to lie down - even though it's like sleeping through a 9 hour earthquake. I would recommend earplugs and an Advil pm. Meals are included and were pretty good.

The only thing I didn't really like was being seated on purpose next to others when there were many open tables. We met nice people and enjoyed their company but we also would've liked to be able to have our own private conversation. There have been many delays along the way due to freight trains and broken railroad crossings so we will arrive about 3 hours late making this a 32 hr trip and too late for us to pick up our rental car. Regarding scenery, well, there's not that much to see as the trees are pretty close to the tracks.

Evidently the prettiest section is the ozarks but we passed that area in the middle of the night. I'm not complaining. Overall it's been relaxing. Probably wouldn't do it again though.

Maybe if we were going to Colorado next time. :)

Anonymous
#588084

I love Amtrak and have traveled more than 22,000 miles by rail. Sure there have been occasional issues, just as there is with any service industry. And from my own personal observations after having traveled all over the U.S. by train, the Amtrak staff are saints considering what they put up with from rude and ignorant passengers. Like the ones who want to blame Amtrak for a train being canceled because of a snowstorm. Try getting cash back on the spot from an airline if a flight is canceled. You would have been told that they'd get you on the next available flight and you would have slept in the airport for two days waiting. It sounds to me like the employees made the best of an unfortunate situation.

I've been stuck on a train in Chicago on my way from L.A. to Virginia in heat so bad that it warped the rails, and after several hours Amtrak called the passengers into the station and arranged for taxis and hotel vouchers where they put us up for the night. They got us on the next available train the next day. 98% of the passengers understood that this was just part of life and treated it as an adventure. Then there was the other 2% whose sole goal in life seemed to be to make life as miserable for every service employee within 20 miles. One woman who was put up at the same beautiful hotel as we were proceeded to take it out on the poor front desk clerk who had nothing to do with it. I intervened and told her to *** and behave like a civilized human being.

Some people would *** if you hung them with a brand new rope!