trains – Frustrated TGV Lyria experience

I would like to share my TGV Lyria experince and see if my complaint is reasonable.

A few month ago I was traveling from Paris to Zurich and I missed my train. I bought the standard ticket which could not exchange once the train departed. I was maybe excatly 2 mins late and they didn’t allow me to pass the door. I went to the custom service and then the train departed. Later I argued with them and they insisted that I should buy another ticket. I ended up paying two tickets for this trip. From this I learned that next time if I know I would miss the train I should stop running and quickly exchange the ticket for free in the app.

This was not the complaint because today sth even more frustrated happened:

So I bought one ticket for my friend same from Paris to Zurich, who missed the train exactly the way I did (saw the train there but couldn’t enter the door). And then he went to the custom service and again he was asked to buy another ticket. He paid the same money (130 euro) to buy a ticket for later time.

I didn’t know how he bought it but I was very upset because this happened again. I went to the app and trying to figure out how to complaint. And then I saw that I could click my ticket and refund and it worked ?! I chatted with my friend and said “no worry I refuned my ticket and only 30 euro was lost.” Things seemed a bit positive until later that time my frend called me that he was asked by the ticket inspector on the train that his ticekt was invalid due to refund ??? I started realizing that that ticket that on my app was my friend’s new ticket. We both thought it was my old expired ticket. And then it was some back-and-forth not so successful frustrated conversation with the inspector and also some credit card not working issue made it even worse. Luckily in the end the inspector found another credit card machine and my friend paid sucessfully again (otherwise I don’t know what would happen).

The whole thing was so frustrated that I just keep thinking about it. I admitted there are issues on our side (late for train, clicked refund button). But I still felt sth wrong here:

  1. For my train experience in switzerland/Italy/Germany I didn’t see that you cannot quickly exchange the ticket when you are just late to catch the train. Also for flights it happens as well. I know the terms are written on the ticket but still I feel it wrong and a fully flexiable ticket is 50 euro more and the only thing it does it’s that you can exchange free 2 hours after it departs.

  2. It’s my mistake that I didn’t check what ticket I was refunding. The fact is that I couldn’t tell. The code was the same and only the time updated and which I missed.

  3. For this trip due to all the frustrated things we’ve at least paid 130 (1st ticket) + 30 (refund fee) and we still didn’t have a valid ticket and had to pay again on the train. And the inspector was like oh you didn’t have a ticket and I would let you pay. I know it’s their jobs but I would be less upset if they could try to understand what happened and not treated us as someone who didn’t want to buy a ticket. It was my fault and I was very upset for the trouble caused to my friend.

I’m not sure if I have valid claim or it’s just due to my/our stupidness but I would try to reach out to the custom service team to see what would happen. I post here just want to hear your opinion/suggestion and maybe more objective.