To think it's your responsibility to check you have the right ticket?

(57 Posts)
YoureAllABunchOfBastards Thu 16-May-13 19:16:23

Just listened to a bloke get shirty with the train guard - he had an advance ticket for a different train, not valid on this service, so he had to pay full price.

It isn't the guard's fault - it says quite clearly that the ticket is only valid on a particular train. And no point complaining about cost - trains are pricey, that's why people buy advance tickets!

Every time I have travelled by train recently I have heard the same bloody argument!

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 16-May-13 19:17:38

some people are as thick as mince.

LynetteScavo Thu 16-May-13 19:21:17

YABU, just because I thought an expensive Virgin ticket would be valid on a cheap midland whatever train. (DH told me afterwards it wasn't, even though I'd had to stand.) It should be. So ner.

And once I forgot how to read the 24 hour clock and tried to get on a plain at 10.30pm instead of 8.30pm. I can't quite believe I've actually admitted this on a public forum

Yes, he should have known. But is an absolute scandal how much you have to pay for a train ticket with any flexibility.

LynetteScavo Thu 16-May-13 19:29:40

<<Sits in thick as mince corner>>

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 16-May-13 19:39:41

blush sorry lynette.

Xiaoxiong Thu 16-May-13 19:40:48

It's not the guard's fault, but equally, it's so easy to balls these things up even when you check and check again.

There are two stations in Windsor, approximately 100m from each other: Windsor & Eton Riverside, and Windsor & Eton Central. One is a Southwest trains line, one is FGW. Both go to London (Waterloo and Paddington respectively). However, the signage in each station is all twee and lovely with just a tasteful National Rail symbol outside.

The number of totally flummoxed tourists who have bought tickets to "London terminals" who are told by a totally unsympathetic guard that they cannot get on at this station to go to London but have to either buy another ticket at £17.50 each, or sprint 100m down the road to get on one of the two trains an hour at that station, also to go to London...I do feel bad for them sad

SomethingsUp Thu 16-May-13 19:42:57

I've been on wrong trains before, I am generally very apologetic as it is usually because I've been confused and was struggling to find the correct train.

They've always been really good to me, no extra charges or anything.

edam Thu 16-May-13 19:43:28

Train tickets are a con - ludicrously expensive and hideously complicated. Back in the days of British Rail my Dad re-opened an entire station - Birmingham Snow Hill - for the same amount of money it would cost you to get a footbridge built these days.

LynetteScavo Thu 16-May-13 19:56:01

It's OK, Hecsy, I can't actually believe I was so ridiculous myself. In my defense I was young, and was made to wait for the next 'plane at 6am....and I still struggle to spell 'plane properly, which make me officially thick as mince. grin

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Thu 16-May-13 22:06:25

He was in first class so presumably not on the breadline.

I was only in first class because a) advance ticket cheaper than standard and b) someone else is paying

The best bit was when he demanded 'Can I speak to someone on the train about this who is senior?' And the guard replied 'you can speak to me, because I'm in charge of this train'.

WafflyVersatile Thu 16-May-13 23:42:33

you should check your ticket and if you do get it wrong you should have the good grace and lack of arrogance to not blame the guard for it. Everyone makes mistakes and if he didn't act like such a spoilt, bad-tempered arrogant twat he might have had a more pleasant journey.

I bet he knew he was on the wrong train too, just doesn't think the rules should apply to him, hence making a scene about it and feigning indignance.

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 16-May-13 23:45:54

I feel sorry for the train conductors, some people speak to them like shit.

A conductor on a FGW train last week was so bloody nice ( very kind to an elderly lady confused by the tickets) that I emailed FGW to say how wonderful he was, they responded and said they would pass on the comments. They were probably amazed to get such good feedback,

Monty27 Thu 16-May-13 23:46:40

I do think though that when people buy a ticket, the ticket vendor doesn't listen properly and passengers are sometimes sold tickets that are unsuitable to their needs.

Buying a train ticket has become a science grrrr angry. Not that I have had 'the wrong ticket' myself, but I use a mainline London station every night and hear it all the time. In fact, probably every day.

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 16-May-13 23:47:03

That sounded arrogant, what I meant to say that they are probably used to getting just complaints.

God I am sick of that train and am very thankful I don't have to pay for it personally. 156 quid anytime return.

PatPig Thu 16-May-13 23:47:09

You do have to get on the right train on an advance ticket. If you get on the wrong one you will be charged. This seems fair,because nobody forced you to buy an advance ticket in the first place - flexible ones are available.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Thu 16-May-13 23:48:14

tickets can be so complicated, it's easy to make mistakes.

yyy not good to have a go at the staff but not surprising that people get riled.

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 16-May-13 23:48:30

That said every train I have been on always says that advance tickets must be for that particular train. So people do have plenty of warning, and it does say it all over the ticket.

piratecat Thu 16-May-13 23:59:14

am quite sure people use their advance purchased ones thinking they might get away with it. maybe some do. silly to chance it though.

Naoko Fri 17-May-13 00:06:41

The ironic thing is that if you just admit you missed your named-on-ticket train and you're very sorry when you get onto the next one, the guard will almost always tell you it's fine. Have punctuality issues, I should know.... So if he hadn't been such a knob about it he'd probably have gotten away with it.

BandersnatchCummerbund Fri 17-May-13 00:31:50

Sure, but a bit of compassion doesn't go amiss, and British train tickets are grotesquely expensive. I would be absolutely crying if I had made a simple mistake and lost a vast sum of money because of that when it would make no difference to the guard's day or the train company's profits to just accept the ticket. (Obviously this assumes that the passenger doesn't treat the guard like dirt, which would be different.) Everyone makes mistakes.

Walkacrossthesand Fri 17-May-13 00:37:50

I went to London for an overnight trip, bought my ticket from the automatic machine and accidentally bought a cheap day return rather than an ordinary return (only a couple of quid difference in price, off peak). Didn't realise until the platform turnstile rejected my ticket on the homeward journey - had to buy a single, which almost doubled the cost of my trip. Won't make that mistake again...

Mrsdavidcaruso Fri 17-May-13 01:27:57

Sorry Bander but you cant blame a Train Manager for not showing compassion if you make a mistake, My BIL is a TM and on certain routes
will have to deal with 20-30 passengers on a single journey who all say they made a 'mistake' he even has people who made a 'mistake' on the same train the week before and who assumes my BIL is too thick to recognise them.

Dont Blame the TMs for not showing compassion, blame the small minority of passengers who set out to defraud the train companies and give the honest passengers who have made a mistake a bad rep

squoosh Fri 17-May-13 01:50:21

YABVU

The train companies make buying the correct ticket deliberately complicated, they also make the buying of the most cost effective tickets deliberately complicated. I despise their sneaky tactics.

As for the general cost of train ticktes, extortionate.

I firmly believe that scam like tactics go on.

Once again, YABVU.

FudgeyCookie Fri 17-May-13 07:01:40

I don't think scam like tactics go on hmm

DP is a booking office clerk for SWT. The amount of shit he gets from customers about ticket prices is apalling! Everyone I have seen at a SWT and also a FGW ticket office has tried to help as much as possible - sometimes tickets are cheaper if broken up eg start destination to a station further up the line, then another ticket from that station to your final destination. Of say more helpful then scam like!

Also, people are rude. No thank yous, no pleases, try web argue that they looked up the train fare three or four weeks ago and it was cheaper - that's an advance ticket then my friend!

I think if everyone saw a breakdown of their ticket price they'd realise how much it costs to run the oldest railway in the world - infrastructure, track access charges, rail staff, engineering contractors, emergency money for when things go wrong (i.e. all the track that was washed away twice in two days at Cowley Bridge last year), dragging stations into the 21st century and restoring them sympathetically to undo the horrendous mistakes of the past (Birmingham New St and Kings Cross spring to mind), plus upgrading and compensating for a total lack of investment previously which means some infrastructure is knackered early on - we had an epidemic of not investing properly in long-lasting infrastructure in the 20th century.

Plus delay minutes - did anyone see that BBC documentary and how much delay minutes cost? It's a good stick (in the sense that people will do anything to avoid getting delays) but it costs an arm and a leg.

And I'm sure there's loads more I've forgotten... how about fixing vandalism? People breaking fences, throwing stones at train drivers (delay, cost of fixing windscreen), graffiti... the list is endless, sadly.

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 17-May-13 07:26:37

I rarely have seen ticket office or train workers be rude, but I have seen lots of extremely rude customers. There is no need for people to be rude to them, they didn't franchise the railways and put the prices up.

I don't think you can rely on a conductor to be discretionary when you have a wrong ticket, presume they are mystery shopped like everyone else.

Tickets are not that complicated, however that said it is worth breaking your journey up, I.e. for some reasom it is cheaper sometimes to buy a gloucester - didcot, didcot - london than a straight through ticket (for season tickets anyway).

And YANBU OP. There's no reason why a non-vulnerable adult cannot understand and apply the concept of different tickets (can understand an elderly person getting confused - my Dad still thinks it's British Rail!).

GetOrf They are mystery shopped.

Tau Fri 17-May-13 07:28:26

Not everyone has a solid grasp on ticket systems and that doesn't make you stupid, The ticket systems are horrendously complicated. I have at least once been SOLD the wrong ticket, and another time we had reserved seats but they had also been reserved for someone else (same train, same time, same seats). So it's not as if train companies are infallible!

Years ago I was on a train going back home. It was late, dark, and we were travelling between two big cities. (not in the U.K.)
The ticket conductor came to check tickets. Opposite of me was a young girl/woman (looked about student age). She had the wrong ticket. It was immediately obvious that the girl was foreign and hadn't understood the ticket system. She needed to buy a new ticket but didn't have that much money on her. The ticket collector said that she'd have to get out in the big city where we were just stopping (at night, alone, in a strange country without enough money).
The girl started to cry. The ticket collector wasn't in the least bothered and insisted she'd get out. The girl cried harder - she was clearly panicking. So I ended up buying her ticket - couldn't bear the thought of her being stranded there without knowing what to do. Wouldn't want that to happen to my child, nor to anyone else's. She asked my address and send me the money back a few days later.
But I honestly think this ticket collector was an asshole and should have shown some compassion and sense. Who knows what would've happened to the girl if she'd had gotten out there?

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 17-May-13 07:31:39

I think perhaps train tickets are just complex wherever you go. Tickets are complicated in switzerland and france as well ime.

I wish we had double decker trains in this country.

slhilly Fri 17-May-13 07:42:19

The reason why tickets have become so complicated is at least partly because some eedjit train operators decided it would be profitable to introduce airline-style ticketing policies to trains.... sorta missing the fucking point that trains are inherently different from planes in consumers' eyes.

5madthings Fri 17-May-13 07:43:01

Yes you should check the tickets but actually recently ds1 went to london and thenncame back a few days later. I booked his tickets in advance online for certain trains etc yet whennit came to the returnnjourney hos ticket had the wrong date on it. The ticket office people just gave him a pass to travel and were actually very nice. But i was puzzled as i had booked the tickets. Anyway i still had the email.confirmation of the booking etc which quite clearly gave the dates and times i had booked...so somewhere after booking there was an error and the printed tickets (collected at ticket machine on outward journey) were wrong.

If ds1 who was travelling on his own was made to pay i would have been very cross tho as it was the ticket people were fine about it. I guess technically as ds1 wouldnt have had enough money for the new ticket the could have called me but i could have given ds1 our email details and he coukd have logged into our email on his phone and shown them.the email.booking confirmation.... Very odd that the tickets printed wrong tho.

ZenGardener Fri 17-May-13 07:45:43

Meh, I live in Japan and the train tickets are set so very easy to understand. A return is twice the price of a single and ticket prices are the same no matter when you travel or when you buy your ticket.

I find the system in the UK absolutely confusing as hell.

Mrsdavidcaruso Fri 17-May-13 07:48:42

I dont know what country that was Yau but that happens a lot in the UK
'vulnerable' girls in floods of tears when told they would have to get of the train.

Happened to my BIL last week young girl late at night wrong (cheaper) ticket no money for extra fare, when berated by another customer who offered to pay the girls fare and threatened to report my BIL - he had GREAT satisfaction information the angry passenger that the same girl had done the same thing the week before and was known to other TMS for doing the same thing on other occassions.

I personally was on a train opposite a foreign girl who was speaking perfectly understandable English on her mobile, when the TM came round for tickets suddenly she speaks no English at all and started to cry, I had great pleasure in informing the TM that the Lady did actually speak English - she demonstrated that by calling me a Bitch - she got thrown offno ticket and no means to pay for one.
As I say there are too many scam artists and dishonest people for TMs to take anyones word even if a genuine mistake is made.

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 17-May-13 07:50:17

My dd doesn't listen to any of the announcements on the trains.last year she got on the wrong train going in the wrong direction and didn't realise. I got a call 'mum I am in Wales'.

Luckily the train staff were very kind and let her travel back on her ticket.

Hasitfallendownagain Fri 17-May-13 07:59:21

I imagine the guard, who does this every day, is often easily able to spot those who have made a genuine mistake, and those who are just trying it on.

The thing that does annoy me is the self-service ticket machines; specifically the way they just have a small selection of (expensive/inflexible) tickets on the first page. People see a button with the destination they want to go to and just press that, when often there is a cheaper ticket that they could buy, but you have to go through several screens for that. It's confusing when there are so many options, and even more confusing when you can't actually see all the options at once to enable you to choose the one that suits best. I used to be always helping befuddled people standing bewildered in front of the machines grin

Groovee Fri 17-May-13 07:59:47

It's also helpful if people read and listen to what train they are on. I was on a train which hadn't fully left the platform when it pulled to an emergency stop because some numpty pulled the emergency cord when they realised they were on the wrong train. If they'd had a brain we would be stopping at the next station in seconds where every train stops too. That cost them £150 for doing that!

RocknRollNerd Fri 17-May-13 08:03:03

Meh, I live in Japan and the train tickets are set so very easy to understand. A return is twice the price of a single and ticket prices are the same no matter when you travel or when you buy your ticket.

Yep - it certainly used to be the same in Germany. I once was faffing about my weekend plans and enquired having been quoted DM30 for a return how much the single would be. The guy looked confused and explained that of course it would be DM15. I then explained that in the UK it could be anything between probably 10 and 35 - he was baffled and said 'but don't you charge by the kilometer, how can a single cost more than a return' and got all his colleagues over to listen to the tale of crazy English train pricing grin.

Ariel21 Fri 17-May-13 08:03:51

It's horrible when you get on the wrong train. I'd like to think that guards would take pity on me. They rarely do.

5madthings Fri 17-May-13 08:09:05

HA ha at listening to the announcements most of the time its of such poor sound quality you cant understand what they are saying anyway!

samandi Fri 17-May-13 08:16:20

If train tickets weren't so expensive and complicated then more people would travel by train. We drive pretty much everywhere because we refuse to pay the extortionate fares and booking three months in advance each time is unrealistic. It can work out £200 cheaper or more per journey, which can be over £1000 a year.

samandi Fri 17-May-13 08:16:43

But yes, it is your responsibility to check you have the right ticket.

Startail Fri 17-May-13 08:23:09

Our local trains now have weird restrictions on not using two evening trains on cheap day returns, and I can never remember which. It isn't all rush hour ones confused

It would often be much cheaper for me to drive to work than to get the train. The only reasons I get the train are that it is much quicker (due to the dreadful road alternatives) and I have a health condition that make driving long distances for commuting a stupid choice. Sometimes I can get cheap-ish advance tickets, but they're increasingly rare (even booking several weeks in advance it'll come in at nearly £25 each way) and the main issue is that they're utterly inflexible.

If you want any flexibility, you have to pay an absolute fortune (which goes up considerably more than inflation every year on the route I use). The bastards messed about with the off-peak definition last time making any train you might actually want to use in the morning a peak time train (even if it gets you to your destination at 3pm). If you miss your booked train on an advance ticket you are actually better off buying a full price first class single ticket, because the price difference between that and a full price single is less than the price of a sandwich and a coffee (which they'll provide in first class).

Thing is, for commuters it can be really, really difficult to sort out inflexible advance tickets in advance. How can you know that something will come up late that afternoon, or that a meeting will overrun 10 weeks in advance? Nor can you take advantage of finishing early. It's just absolutely shit. It's even worse when you've paid £60+ to sit on a train with a bunch of loud, drunk arseholes for just over an hour (which happens regularly). A stag do getting pissed and being rowdy on the 8am in train you're getting to work is no fun at all.

I would never buy a train ticket to go anywhere as a family. It is always much, much cheaper (and often more pleasant) to drive. I loathe trains.

I also suspect that fewer people would try to chance it if the ticket system weren't so ridiculously complex.

Tau Fri 17-May-13 09:10:28

Mrsdavidcaruso: I don't think the vulnerable girls in tears on the train happen a lot. I have no doubt that there are girls who do this in an attempt to deceive, but I used to travel on the train a lot and I've only seen it happen once. As I said in my message, the girl asked for my address and she send me the money back only a few days later. With a thank-you note.
Of course I could not be sure that she wasn't tricking me, but I would always risk getting scammed rather than risk placing a girl like that in a potentially dangerous situation.
If the girl is known for such behaviour, fair enough, confront her. But if you are not sure, you cannot take the risk.
I think train ticket collectors ought to give people the benefit of the doubt. Some do, but many just assume that everyone is trying to trick them into getting free rides.

Tau Fri 17-May-13 09:16:54

Tickets and how to manage public transport is hard. Some people get it wrong. I find that many train and bus personnel are helpful and considerate, but by far not all, Some are downright aggressive and rude.

My son has been shouted at in an aggressive way by a bus driver in London because he didn't show his ticket clearly enough. Of course he should have, but we are not from London, and my son is not exactly socially savvy. He had held his ticket up like he'd seen other people do and apparently the bus driver couldn't get a good enough look. Or perhaps he just picked on my son because my son is a male teenager. .

The bus driver apparently thought that my son was trying to hide a wrong ticket and he reacted very angrily. My son couldn't understand what the driver was shouting, and he didn't understand why he was being shouted at. He just stood there, confused and startled, which caused the driver to shout even louder and more incomprehensible. It was very intimidating. I couldn't understand the words either, but I got the gist of it and send my son back to show his ticket. On seeing the correct ticket, the driver just sneered at my son and then suddenly started the bus so my son nearly lost his balance.

Why is it okay for a bus driver to behave like that?

ajandjjmum Fri 17-May-13 09:23:40

The trouble is train managers assume everyone is a cheat and a liar. Perhaps understandable as they are confronted with many cheats and liars, but sometimes all of us make genuine mistakes.

We have always travelled probably an average of once a month to London from the Midlands, to Great Ormond Street. I booked fixed trains as it reduces the cost (which is significant and obviously a cost we had to cover), which meant that we were either running like mad if the appointment schedule had over-run, or hanging around in London for ages. The Virgin Train managers were - almost without exception - totally heartless when we missed the odd train, despite being shown the hospital letter confirming appt. times etc.

One TM did let DD travel on her ticket, despite the fact that she had picked up DS's travel card and not her own! He was lovely - but it was a genuine error.

MrsKoala Fri 17-May-13 09:32:49

IME there is an assumption (in not just rail but i find in every 'bureaucratic' situation) that you are expected to know the process in detail and use all correct terminology. If you don't ask specific questions you do not get vital information, but if you don't know the system you do not know which questions to ask.

I have had trouble at Euston traveling to MK because of this. It did not occur to me that 2 operators would be going to MK. I just queued and asked for a ticket. Was asked no questions and unbeknownst to me bought a Virgin, but tried to board a London Midland. Then when told it was the wrong ticket, i asked where to get a Virgin train. The inspector said 'no idea' <helpful> and i went back up to the concourse to see the next Virgin train was in 2 hours. I had to then queue and change the ticket where i was informed i should have specifically asked for a Midland. But how was i to know. And i'm a bloody native. Imagine not speaking English.

The staff on the trains I get are all fine. Very professional. Sometimes the train announcements are quite amusing. I don't have a problem with the train managers or other staff at all. I have a problem with the pricing system, which is absolutely not their fault.

Mrsdavidcaruso Fri 17-May-13 09:41:05

Tau - you were lucky and I am afraid according to my BIL who has been a TM for 5 years it does happen a lot. You may travel a lot but have you made at least 4 journeys a day for the last 5 years and spoken to every passenger on that train like my BIL - he sees a lot more than passengers
and believe me its a common scam so TMs like my BIL cannot give the benefit of the doubt- it's their job on the line if they do.

I am glad you were able to help one of the genuine passengers and I am glad you got your money back, BUT unless they prosecute the train companies never get THEIR money back and genuine passengers lose out when they are in trouble.

As I said dont blame the TMs for not believing people, put the blame
on the people who try every trick in the book to get out of paying fares, even genuine passengers might try it on if they see other people getting away with fare dodging - so examples have to be set.

Even I got on the wrong train once I was going to my Nans funeral, I did explain even searched for the TM when I realised what I had done so he knew I wasn't trying it on but was asked to pay extra - it was a mistake but it was MY mistake not the train company so why should they lose a proper fare?

Xiaoxiong Fri 17-May-13 09:47:41

MrsK that's exactly the situation we have here but with SWT and FGW both going between the same stations. It's absolute bullshit.

The thing I have a problem with is when there is no guard and the ticket office is closed, as it usually is outside of peak times when there is a queue a mile long - you use the self service machines and it has:
open return
day return
off-peak day return
super off-peak day return

And when you click anything but "open return" it just says "RESTRICTIONS APPLY" with no detail of what those restrictions are! No signage on the machine, no posters in the station, no one to ask.

Of course once I travelled on the train daily for years, I gradually learned the byzantine restrictions - but it's hard to avoid the suspicion that they don't explain what the different tickets mean at point of sale because they want to herd everyone into buying an open return just to make sure they can travel, which is nearly 4 times as expensive as the super off-peak day return.

bakingaddict Fri 17-May-13 10:19:32

I don't think all train guards and TM's are totally without pity. I remember my DH getting drunk and missing the last London Virgin train to Liverpool. They told him to take the Manchester Train and organised for one of the guards who lived in Liverpool to drive him over and this guard pretty much dropped him to the doorstep. Such a nice thing to do when they could have shrugged their shoulders and laughed at him for being a drunken arsehole.

memphis83 Fri 17-May-13 10:28:20

I missed an advance train partly because I was chatting and also because the tannoy was crackling. I had to pay an extra £127, totally my mistake so I had to suck it up.
My friend works at the local train statio and gets verbal abuse daily and has been shoved about a couple of times too due to people missing their trains.

ajandjjmum Fri 17-May-13 12:49:29

I'll give you another example of inflexibility in a Virgin TM. DS was volunteering in the Olympics last year, and was travelling from the Midlands down to London for a shift. Mostly he stayed over, but this time it wasn't possible.

Being a lovely Mum, I'd bought the ticket online for him, and gave him a lift to the station, where he picked up the ticket from the machine. When we got to the train, he couldn't find the tickets he'd just collected anywhere - being a total plonker had obviously not put them away and had dropped them.

The train was leaving, so I went to find the TM to explain the situation, while DS retraced his steps. I explained what had happened, showed him the receipt and number that we had used to collect the tickets (on what was a midweek, lunchtime train, so quiet), and he wouldn't let him travel without purchasing a new ticket.

He sent me over the the Virgin ticket office, and they told me that the only person who could let him travel was the TM, so he must have known he was wasting more of my time.

Yes - it was our mistake, but it was a genuine mistake that could easily have been checked, but the guy had absolutely no desire to try and help his customer.

I remained polite.

Mrsdavidcaruso Fri 17-May-13 15:34:57

You call it inflexibility you may have had a receipt and number and yes the guy could have checked that you paid for the tickets BUT there was no proof that having collected the tickets that you did not pass them to someone else and then try and claim that you lost them - again this happens a lot - do you think that they should just take your word?.

Of course on a quiet train he might have found the person who had the original ones (either being found by someone or passed by someone) But depending on what you had to show him there could be a doubt as to wether it was you who found a receipt and tried to use that to 'prove' you purchased a ticket - again thats something that people do.

You then expect the TM to get into a he said she said argument and that is not their job to do that.

ajandjjmum Fri 17-May-13 16:32:58

It was a very quiet train - he could have checked but chose not to.

Furthermore, my name was on the receipt and credit card information, so he could have checked that out with me.

I think it must be a very de-humanising job to be honest, as clearly you end up not believing a word anyone says to you.

No argument necessary, just a 'want to help' attitude rather than a 'can't be bothered to try and help', but clearly that's asking too much.

Having paid twice, DS did get to London in time to do his volunteering, so he didn't let anyone down.

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