Several readers have recently told The Connexion that they are struggling to get through to Eurostar’s customer service department to resolve a query or manage their booking.
One reader, who preferred not to be named in this article, said: “For a while Eurostar phone and form enquiry on-line services have seemed to be completely overwhelmed and unable to respond to customers.
“I did not receive a reply for one week for the [website contact] form and spent several hours trying to get through to them on the phone to change a ticket, without success from either method.
“I tweeted them and sent them a message on Facebook, getting an automatic reply saying that they're overwhelmed.
“My problem was finally solved through Facebook Messenger. This was after receiving several automated warnings where they admitted that they're currently experiencing problems.”
Another reader, semi-retired bookkeeper Carolyn Norris, who has a second home in Paris, had also struggled when “trying to solve a simple issue with my Eurostar account.”
She said that she was unable to speak to anyone by phone or through the website contact form. “Something should be done about it. I expect better customer service,” she added.
‘Once my messages were picked up, the service was impeccable’
A third reader, who is a frequent Eurostar traveller and who also preferred not to be named, said that she experienced difficulties getting a replacement ticket for the return leg of a business-class journey.
“The train on which I was booked was cancelled by Eurostar at very short notice. Most of my email messages seeking to change the travel date went unanswered.
“And when I finally did get an answer, it was to tell me that it was too late to replace the ticket. They offered to refund the difference between a single and a return, which I refused as it would not be enough for me to buy another business-class ticket.
“Eurostar finally agreed to allow me to use my old ticket, but when I tried to book a new trip, I ran into problems as my cancelled ticket was no longer in the system. My messages were met by the usual ‘we are too busy’ response.
“However, once my messages were picked up by a person, the service was impeccable. Full five stars for the human being who solved the problem.”
“I have found Eurostar pretty good on customer service when one is dealing with its staff. They have allowed me to travel later when I had to return home to pick up my passport. They have always picked me up and delivered me when I was on crutches and in a wheelchair. They have even allowed me to board their train from Lille to Brussels when my TGV for Brussels had broken down in Lille.
“The real problem is its website. There are problems with the design, but also with the updates which are not carried out consistently. You can get two different prices on the same day, depending which page you are on. And prices can go up (or down) whilst you are booking.”
'We estimate that by Christmas we will no longer have a backlog'
When contacted about the issues with reaching customer service, a Eurostar spokesperson told The Connexion: “The answer rate at our contact centre has improved significantly and we estimate that by Christmas we will no longer have a backlog following strikes and delays throughout the summer.
“We are continuing to make improvements to our digital tools to enable more customers to manage their needs quickly and easily online; earlier this month we introduced a Chatbot and we are trailing live chat in December.
“We are also prioritising any urgent requests for a fast turnaround.”