Author Topic: Beware buying GNR train tickets online with PayPal  (Read 1029 times)

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Beware buying GNR train tickets online with PayPal
« on: July 16, 2017, 01:33:23 pm »
I bought two sets of tickets online at the Great Northern site this morning, expecting to pick them up at the machine at Brookmans Park station in half an hour. The payment options were 1) PayPal, and 2) credit card. I chose PayPal, paid, and then received a confirmation email with a transaction code. The email said I could collect the ticket in half an hour. An hour later I went down to Brookmans Park station to get my tickets. At the station ticket machine I followed the onscreen prompts for picking up pre-paid tickets, but came a cropper at the prompt to "please insert the credit card used to purchase the ticket". I pressed next, because I paid with PayPal (the first option on the GN site) and I don't have a credit card for my PayPal account. I was then taken back to the start page. I read through the info on my print out, which I had with me, and saw it reads "To collect your tickets from a ticket machine you will need both your collection reference and any credit or debit card. So conflicting information between what is printed on the booking confirmation and what appears on the screen at the station. I tried again with one of my credit cards. It then asked for my transaction number. I tapped it in and it started to print. At that point a big red cross came up on the screen saying transaction void 'please contact ticket office' (which is closed on a Sunday). So why does Great Northern encourage people to pay with PayPal for collection at the local station when the machine at the local station won't process the transaction? A question I have asked on Twitter.

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Offline Nimbus

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Re: Beware buying GNR train tickets online with PayPal
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2017, 04:23:00 pm »
They need better software testers!

I had the issue where the machine would not dispense off-peak tickets for the first off-peak train of the day. They answered my complaint with a boiler-plate response along the lines of their continuously improving their systems. Presumably, getting things right first time would impact their ability to follow this mantra.

After that issue, I too ordered on-line, to work around it, but avoided PayPal as I wondered about validation issues when collecting tickets. Having been a software tester, I'm suspicious like that!
 

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Re: Beware buying GNR train tickets online with PayPal
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2017, 04:47:03 pm »
After that issue, I too ordered on-line, to work around it, but avoided PayPal as I wondered about validation issues when collecting tickets. Having been a software tester, I'm suspicious like that!

I have learnt my lesson. Back home, I went through the process again (without buying) just to see if there was a warning during the transaction that people buying with PayPal would not be able to print their tickets out from the station ticket machine. But, unless I missed it, and I did look carefully, there is no warning. So they should really say that if you want to collect from the machine you should not use PayPal.

It will be interesting to see what I am told when I go in person to collect my tickets from the ticket office. I hope they don't need to see the card that I didn't use to pay via PayPal. If they do I will be really stuffed.
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Re: Beware buying GNR train tickets online with PayPal
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 08:57:13 am »
An update on the PayPal train ticket saga. The guy at the Brookmans Park station ticket office was able to issue my tickets without any problem this morning. It took less than a minute. And if the machine does refuse to print out tickets for trips on the day of travel you can claim your money back using the online form on the Great Northern money back guarantee page.
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Offline Angel

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Re: Beware buying GNR train tickets online with PayPal
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 09:31:09 am »
I presume that so long as you've got your reference number as proof of payment you can get on the train anyway and get your ticket from, either an inspector or office.  The problem with that is if you have a connection to catch.
As you said, 'lesson learnt'!
 

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Re: Beware buying GNR train tickets online with PayPal
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 09:47:08 am »
I presume that so long as you've got your reference number as proof of payment you can get on the train anyway and get your ticket from, either an inspector or office.  The problem with that is if you have a connection to catch.
As you said, 'lesson learnt'!

Perhaps that would work. And perhaps the ticket inspector has a way of finding out whether a ticket associated with that proof of payment and reference number has already been printed out or not. In future I will use a credit card to buy tickets in advance. Far less stressful.
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Re: Beware buying GNR train tickets online with PayPal
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2017, 01:38:20 pm »
Stress, yeah. I've started travelling to London for activities (classes) which have withered locally under prolonged funding drought. Relatively poor service for Welham Green and Brookmans Park means a 2.5 hour overhead to what might be a 60 or 90 minute session. Return to Essex Road and find all trains to WGC cancelled for the next hour due to shortage of drivers, but Hertford/Letchworth fully served. Use one of theirs to make it out of the tunnel to Finsbury Park and catch a semi-fast to Potters Bar on the off-chance of overtaking the previous WGC slow. Unlucky. Spend best part of an hour festering at Potters Bar while further Hatfield/WGC trains call, but nothing for us intermediates. Might we risk travelling on to Hatfield and connecting with a returning previous WGC slow, or will we be challenged or find no connection.

When travelling into London, if we cannot obtain a ticket, and arrive at Kings Cross via Underground for the last leg, will LU barrier staff be inclined/able to understand/issue a National Rail ticket? Worry induced me to change my plans last time this happened at WMG, where I had been instructed to travel without ticket as the machine was under repair, so I exited at Great Northern's Essex Road rather than LU's Kings Cross.

With a pre-purchased ticket, what happens if the machine is down when I arrive to collect it? Should silly me add another five minutes buffer to trudge to and from the WMG office on the off chance it will be open to help me?

My classes require considerable concentration, and I find myself pretty wound up by the time I arrive!
 

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Re: Beware buying GNR train tickets online with PayPal
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2017, 06:23:05 pm »
The last time I bought a ticket online, I couldn't collect it as the machine was out of order and the ticket office was closed as it often is. If you buy an advance ticket it's best to collect it before the day of travel if you can.
 

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Re: Beware buying GNR train tickets online with PayPal
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2017, 09:22:09 am »
You can get a paypal mastercard card linked to your paypal account. this may solve any problems.

https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/accesscard

 

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Re: Beware buying GNR train tickets online with PayPal
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2017, 10:08:52 am »
You can get a paypal mastercard card linked to your paypal account. this may solve any problems.

https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/accesscard

Yes, I have two cards linked to my PayPal account. But they are not the cards used to buy the ticket. There are two issues. One is that the machine asks you to put in the card used to purchase the ticket when retrieving them at the station, whereas the email confirmation when you buy a ticket with PayPal online says you can use "any card" to retrieve the tickets at the station. The second issue is that when I tried to use any card it voided the transaction and told me to go to the ticket office (which was shut). It's just a sloppy system that doesn't seem to have been thoroughly tested from a UI POV.
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Re: Beware buying GNR train tickets online with PayPal
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2017, 04:31:30 pm »
An update. I filled out the refund form on the GNR site and posted it freepost. Three days later, my PayPal account has been refunded with the cost of the uncollected/unused ticket. So that works well. I've since been able to collect a ticket, paid for with PayPal, and using one of my credit cards (which was not used in the purchase). So the system does work. Perhaps it was having an off day when my purchase was voided - we all do. But they do need to ensure the messages on the machine and email confirmation are consistent; one asks for the card used in the purchase, the other asks for any credit card.
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