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My husband and I purchased 2 Deutsche Bahn tickets from Brussels to Cologne and the train was canceled. The Passenger Rights states that you are entitled to a refund however they only refund to a bank account with an IBAN and BIC numbers. We live in the US and our banks do not use these types of numbers. I purchased the tickets with my credit card but they won't refund back to the credit card. I have emailed DB and they have not responded with a resolution. Has anyone else had this problem? What can I do?

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    You could open a European bank account online through Wise.com and see if DB accept that?
    – Midavalo
    Jan 25, 2023 at 16:27
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    It seems wrong to me that someone who has had a train cancelled should have to open a bank account just to get a refund (and probably pay currency conversion fees). I'd be inclined just to dispute the charge with my credit card.
    – MJeffryes
    Jan 25, 2023 at 16:30
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    Don't have a solution but just to be clear: IBAN is widely used across Europe (and credit cards are suprisingly rare – from a US perspective – in Germany and a few other countries like the Netherlands). Personally, I got a refund from ÖBB on a French bank account. Not very helpful for you of course as you are based in the US but I suspect the problem is not that common precisely because refunds are not limited to German bank accounts.
    – Relaxed
    Jan 25, 2023 at 19:00
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    That's odd. I had bahn cancel a train on me and they refunded it to my US credit card without problems. How did you pay for the ticket ?
    – Hilmar
    Jan 25, 2023 at 21:16

4 Answers 4

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If you are in Germany, you can get a refund in cash at any "DB Reisezentrum" (Deutsche Bahn ticket service counters in railway stations). You can just walk up to the counter, hand in your tickets, and on good days, they will do the bureaucracy for you. (On bad days, they will make you fill out this paper form.)

If that's not feasible for you, you could go through the regular paper or digital refund process with DB and enter the banking details of someone you know who holds an IBAN account, and let them forward the money to you through a different channel, e.g. Paypal.

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  • "enter the banking details of someone you know who holds an IBAN account, and let them forward the money to you through a different channel, e.g. Paypal." That sounds suspiciously like being a money mule. I get it's different if you know the person, but it's very similar to common scams. Jan 26, 2023 at 21:49
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A secondary problem will be that you may lose money in currency conversion since you paid in dollars but will be refunded in euro and could lose out as a result.

Since they are not responding to your attempt to resolve the problem, I would contact your credit card company to dispute the charge. Once DB is contacted by your card network about the issue, they may suddenly work out a solution, since there are penalties from the card network for failing to refund customers in the event that a service is not delivered.

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    I don't think disputing the charge is helpful. The refund for a delay is usually 25% or 50%, not the full amount.
    – o.m.
    Jan 25, 2023 at 18:10
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    @o.m. Question is about a cancelled train. If the resulting delay is more than 60 minutes (in other words there is no other train within the hour), you can also choose to cancel your trip and get a full refund. It's only if you decide to continue your journey (take another train or alternative means of transportation provided by the railway company) that compensation rules apply. Note sure how that would interact with credit card rules.
    – Relaxed
    Jan 25, 2023 at 18:47
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    @MJeffryes Thing is, DB was presumably still ready to render the service. Outside of very specific connections or wide disruptions, a cancelled train often means nothing more than a couple of hours delay to wait for the next one. EU law does give the OP the right to cancel their trip as a result but as far as the credit card is concerned, that's not exactly the same as not delivering a service at all, more like a delayed flight with a non-refundable airfare. Also, wouldn't the original transaction be in euro too?
    – Relaxed
    Jan 25, 2023 at 18:55
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    @Relaxed If the tickets are for a specific train (which they presumably are since a refund is being offered) then the service is not being rendered. This is the same as if your flight is cancelled: the airline can offer you a different flight but you don't have to take it, you can choose to be refunded.
    – MJeffryes
    Jan 25, 2023 at 22:38
  • @MJeffryes, you can also get a refund if the stated delay causes you not to start the trip. Or even turn back after the first missed connection. It is complicated, and the best suggestion is to go to the service desk in a large train station. They pay cash.
    – o.m.
    Jan 26, 2023 at 5:29
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One possibility is to create an account with a service that provides you with a BIC/IBAN and the possibility to transfer to your american account, like Wise (formerly Transferwise).

By opening a Wise account, and then creating an account in Euro within Wise, you get access to BIC/IBAN details that allow you to receive money transfers from any European bank.

You might need to add some money of your own to activate your Wise account, but the money is still yours to transfer out.

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Might be well too obvious, but just to state it: You can obviously also get a voucher instead from DB (also online/via the passenger rights form).

Usually one should not choose this and obviously it may not be helpful if you do not plan on traveling again with DB, but well.

Vouchers are AFAIK valid for 5 years.

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