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Speedferries-a warning!!

(18 Posts)
miggy Wed 26-May-04 13:38:19

There has been mention of this company here-new dover-boulogne route and they do seem to be good prices BUT I booked friday crossing months ago. Due to work commitements, I needed to change to the later boat. I have spent 3 days and about 400 phone calls to get through to the call centre, its constantly engaged or a recorded message saying "all our agents are busy, call later" that then cuts you off-no option to just hold and wait. Finally got through today and was thrilled to speak to a human being-that is until they told me that to change the booking would be a £10 amendement charge-fine, clearly states that on website and confirmation- but ALSO a surchage based on the difference between the price that I booked at and the price if I was booking today-£96 !!!!!! to cross 4 hrs later. So not £10 but £106. Am very very angry and am going to contact trading standards. In the meantime-be careful!

LIZS Wed 26-May-04 13:49:38

Miggy

Do you mean that the add on fare difference is not stated on their website ? It is normal for other companies like easyjet to surcharge the fare difference and an amendment fee but should be clear when you book. If it isn't there definitely complain.

Janh Wed 26-May-04 13:54:07

miggy, I can understand your fury, but I suppose technically you are rebooking, and their price structure clearly charges more the nearer the departure date you get...does the easyjet website spell it out? speedferries works in exactly the same way as them. It must be on the website somewhere, I can't believe they'd leave themselves open to Trading Standards fines.

secur Wed 26-May-04 14:13:05

Message withdrawn

LIZS Wed 26-May-04 14:19:33

Sorry but the website does state the amendment fees, including the charge for the fare difference, under the Terms and Conditions which you are deemed to have accepted in booking originally. See this page and scroll down to "Amendments"

miggy Wed 26-May-04 14:22:47

The point is that I am happy to pay the £10 amendment fee. As stated on my booking confirmation "all reservations may be changed up to 3 hrs prior to departue by contavting our call centre. An amendment fee of £10 will be charged. Please refer to speedferries terms and conditions for more information"
I agree that if I had booked an off peak crossing and wanted to change to peak crossing, there should be a surcharge. But 4hrs! They did also say that the same would apply if you missed the crossing. This is completely unlike any other ferry company and if that is their policy it should be clearly stated and it isnt
I have actually spoken to another member of the call centre staff since. She said that she agrees with me and that they will probably be changing this policy (prob had lots of aggro!)
We travel to france a lot and have used every ferry company/tunnel and this policy is not normal and people need to be aware of it. I would not have booked had I known that and I am sure that many other people would like the information

miggy Wed 26-May-04 14:24:34

Liz-thanks had checked that already. But you wouldnt expect 4 hrs to cost £96 would you?

LIZS Wed 26-May-04 14:32:29

No, I agree it is a big difference and I'd be p***ed off too. I wonder whether it would have cost the same 3 days ago when you couldn't get through ?

annh Wed 26-May-04 14:38:00

Sorry, but if Speedferries are operating in the same way as some of the budget airlines then I can quite understand why there is such a huge price differential for any change where a large amount of time has elapsed between the original boking and the time of change. Book a cheap flight with Ryanair or East Jet and then try changing it by just a couple of hours close to the date of departure and you'll probably end up paying the same sort of price differential. This probably isn't the same policy as operated by the other ferry companies but then none of the others are offering £96 crossings in the middle of summer as Speedferries are doing!

Janh Wed 26-May-04 15:17:46

miggy, this wording is quite plain: "Please note that an amendment fee of £10 will apply and that if there is a difference between the original fare and the fare for the amended travel you must pay SpeedFerries the difference." I doubt if the 3 days it took you to get through would have changed the fare by more than a couple of pounds.

It would be plainer if they put it in capital letters on the front page, or at least had an easy link to their terms and conditions there (I couldn't find one), but most companies have some catches in the small print and as you say <<This is completely unlike any other ferry company>> - well, yes, it is and you don't get the early-booking cheap fares with the others.

Janh Wed 26-May-04 15:19:24

It isn't the 4 hours that cost £96, it's the weeks since you first booked. If you hadn't booked then, and were booking today for the first time, this is the price you'd pay for that crossing.

Janh Wed 26-May-04 15:22:52

I doubt if they'll change the policy btw - what they will probably do is spell it out more plainly.

Early booking = cheap, late booking = dear (still less than a normal high season crossing though, I bet?) and changing late = late booking. Seems fair enough to me!

miggy Wed 26-May-04 18:55:14

Ok I think we have to agree to disagree here. Personally I dont think that the wording "Please note that an amendment fee of £10 will apply and that if there is a difference between the original fare and the fare for the amended travel you must pay SpeedFerries the difference." is unambigous. With most ferry companies, you do get cheap deals by booking in advance, we often book 2 or 3 crossings in jan to get cheap prices, these are then fully amendable at no charge, unless you change from low to high season, in which case you pay the difference. This is what I (and I think most people used to booking ferries) would imply from that wording. It may be the case that low cost airlines operate that policy but this is not a low cost airline. Ferries are traditionally more flexible in crossing times, partly because people are often driving long distances. There was an uproar when the tunnel started charging a £30 fee to change crossing times on prebooked crossings-but that was clearly stated. I just feel that this is misleading.

miggy Wed 26-May-04 18:56:41

Oh and no not cheaper more expensive-total price now would be £196, I can book the tunnel for £128 which is in fact what I shall be doing. £196 for 3 day return is very expensive.

SoupDragon Wed 26-May-04 20:05:34

IMHO, "if there is a difference between the original fare and the fare for the amended travel you must pay SpeedFerries the difference" is ambigous at all. If it had said "might have to pay SpeedFerries" or "at the complete discretion of SpeedFerries", that would have been ambiguous IMHO. The fare for your amanded travel date *is* different so they're charging you for this.

I agree that it's not nice, it's unfair and it may not be what other companies do but they did clearly state that they would charge. It's also well worth warning others about this too.

Janh Wed 26-May-04 23:05:08

It's not unfair though!!!! It's the whole principle of Speedferries! It *is* different from the other companies! miggy, you made the assumption that you could have both the cheap early booking fare and the freedom to chop and change. You were wrong. They have not misled you, you just made a potentially expensive mistake.

Have they allowed you to cancel then, for a £10 admin fee? That seems reasonable. Am amazed that you can book the tunnel for £128. The Guardian did a channel-crossing survey at the weekend and I don't recall the tunnel being that cheap. (Have just looked for article but can't find it )

Janh Wed 26-May-04 23:08:10

<<It may be the case that low cost airlines operate that policy but this is not a low cost airline.>>

No, but it was set up to operate exactly like a low-cost airline. It is a no-frills low-cost ferry company, it was set up on that basis - the cross-Channel version of easy-jet. I don't understand why you can't see that.

Janh Thu 27-May-04 10:12:19

Found the Guardian article - here!

It quotes £293 for Eurotunnel for 2 weeks peak season. Speedferries' equivalent was £125???

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