Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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That's Not Actually Reassuring

I've just got off the phone from having spent 30 minutes talking with an Amtrak Guest Rewards "travel specialist."

After I gave her my reservation number, she confirmed that Amtrak had changed the car number and said I needed to go to a staffed station to have the ticket reissued. I told her, "I did go to the Amtrak staffed station in Emeryville, California on Saturday, June 27, and spoke to an Amtrak agent in the Amtrak station behind an Amtrak counter, and she said the computer says I owe you $1900 and they can't print the ticket." [The repetition was to drive home the fact that this was Amtrak employees saying this, not just some travel agent or random person off the street.]

The AGR agent was confused by this. She asked me again which station. "Emeryville, California; station code EMY," I told her. She put me on hold for a while and called that station.

After talking to Emeryville for a while, she came back and said, "There's no problem. There's a note on your record that says that we changed the ticket and that you are using Rewards Points to pay for it. You can go back to Emeryville and print the ticket."

I said, "I'm not going to Emeryville for a while now. I only went there because I had several different errands there this weekend. I'm more likely to collect the ticket from San Jose now."

"What time?" She asked.

Now I started to get a little exasperated. "I'm not sure!" I said. "It depends on when I can get away from work." I resent the implication that the only way this can be done is if one specific Amtrak employee has been briefed in advance by someone to handle the case.

The AGR employee apologized again for my inconvenience and said that she sees no reason in the records at her end why they shouldn't re-issue the ticket, and said that if I have any problem with San Jose, I should call the AGR desk again, or have San Jose do so.

"So you're actually telling me that I had better go to a station only on a weekday between 8 AM and 8 PM Eastern time, right?" I said. She agreed with that. Sigh.

I will get to a station -- probably San Jose -- when I can next get to one, and try once again to exchange this ticket per their request. Maybe even today if my workload is light enough to afford the time to drive from Fremont to San Mateo via San Jose, the long way around, you might say. But I'm not especially reassured, and I fear that when I get there, the agent is going to say, "$1900, please" and we'll have to go through this all over again, and spend 30 minutes or more waiting for one part of Amtrak to say the magic code words to another part of the company so that they can actually issue the ticket.

I've been polite enough so far, but I'm going to get a lot less polite if they screw this up again. What I'm asking them to do should not be difficult, and it's something they asked me to do. There's something screwy with their computer system if it keeps telling them that passengers traveling on points still owe them money.

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