Sarah Stevens-Rayburn and her husband find a mysterious charge for travel insurance on their Amtrak Vacations bill. They never asked for insurance. Can they get a refund?
Glen Brewer is an unashamed railroad enthusiast. He runs
a website that specializes in 19th century trains. And that made his email to me about his recent flight so noteworthy.
The complimentary amenity kits on Amtrak’s Empire Builder service from Chicago to Portland and Seattle and Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle vanished forever last month.
Q uestion: I’ve been trying to resolve a problem with Amtrak, and have spent hours on “hold.” I need your help.
I recently purchased Amtrak tickets to Reno, Nev., on my American Express card. I paid $156 for the roundtrip ticket and in return, I received 11,000 rewards points, which allowed me to buy another roundtrip ticket.
There was a misunderstanding when I booked the second ticket, and my first ticket was somehow canceled.
I didn’t find out about the cancellation until I went to the train station in Emeryville to get my tickets. An Amtrak agent said I would have to spend another $236 for a ticket.
Since then, I’ve spent countless hours on the phone, including a three-way call between Amex, Amtrak and myself, to try to get this sorted out. They’ve asked me to mail proof of payment and proof that I’ve taken the trip, which I have done.
I just received a message from Amtrak that they will not refund the ticket. I have disputed the charge with American Express. Now what? —
Mel Jung, San Rafael, Calif.
Answer: When the erroneous cancellation was discovered, Amtrak should have found a way to reinstate them at the same price. That would have fixed the problem and prevented you from having to spend half an eternity on the phone to chase down a refund (your time is more valuable than that).