Ticket mix-up on British Airways flight leaves customer at ‘wit’s end’
Pricewatch: Eir leaves customer without phone service and another without a modem
Reader found out that the e-tickets she’d booked were actually flying Dublin to Heathrow and then from Gatwick to Seville. Photograph: iStock
A reader called Jennifer Prendegast was close to her “wit’s end” when she contacted us on behalf of a young Irish karate team who needed to get to Seville for a major tournament this week.
“I booked the Irish karate team on a flight for the European Championships. They’re flying from Dublin to Seville and, as British Airways (BA) don’t fly direct, it was advertised as having one connection,” she says.
So she booked the journey via London, leaving a three-hour gap for the team and their minders to have lunch. It was all done on a single e-ticket with “the intention being that they could check their bags all the way through. We are a small organisation and needless to say I booked non-changeable, non-refundable tickets”.
Fast forward a few weeks and she was making some final arrangements. “To my horror I found out the e-tickets I’d booked were actually flying Dublin to Heathrow and then from Gatwick to Seville,” she says.
Gatwick and Heathrow are anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes apart depending on the time of day, so the group would need the Dublin plane to land bang on time and have their kit came onto the carousel fast and then make it through Heathrow like ninjas, to to get their flight to Seville from Gatwick. There would certainly be no time for lunch.
“I immediately rang BA – on October 28th. I spoke with a very nice agent who agreed it seemed very strange that I could book that as a single e-ticket and said he’d generate a code to find out how much it would cost to change to a Dublin-Gatwick flight. He said it would be in the region of €80-€120. He agreed to change all the passengers for that amount, plus one parent travelling with us on a separate booking reference.”
He said he would call her back with all the new details. The call never came.
“I rang again the following day and spoke to a lady who said they couldn’t do callbacks to Irish numbers which is why I hadn’t heard. She was in the middle of going to her manager (after I’d explained everything from scratch) when the call dropped. I rang straight back, couldn’t get her, but got another agent who guaranteed the flights would be changed in the next 48 hours.”
Again she heard nothing.
“I rang again on October 30th to check progress and was told that the issue had passed on to her manager, who had passed it on to their investigation team. I explained that I’d been guaranteed flight changes by now but the very nice lady said she couldn’t do any more as the investigations team had taken over.”
She was told it would be the end of the next week or the Monday of the following week at the latest before she would find out what the outcome of the investigation team’s work was.
“The lady was very pleasant, even calling me back, as they were able to ring an Irish number, I waited until near the end of that Monday – November 11th – and rang again.”
She said she spoke to a woman who was was ”very pleasant and told me it was their team in Cape Town dealing with it. Her manager was sending an urgent email to them to get them to ring me, and I’d hear back within two hours.”
Again she heard nothing.
“The team are flying out on the 20th and I am getting panicky. I cannot get BA to send me an answer, even though I am chasing them continuously. Is there any way you can help? I’ve spent a fortune on 1890 numbers at this stage.”
We got on to BA and the good news is, all is now well. It seems that a three-and-a-half hour window is enough to make it from Heathrow to Gatwick which is why the booking was allowed. “We offer a wide range of connections on our website to allow customers to choose the best option for their travel plans,” a spokesman said.
But the airline accepted that in the circumstances the mad dash across London might not be ideal and it changed the teams flights from Dublin to Heathrow to Dublin to Gatwick.
“ We’ve been in contact with our customer to assist in changing the connection in London free of charge, as a gesture of goodwill,” the spokesman said. “We wish the karate team good luck in the European Championships! “
And so does Pricewatch.
Slow progress on high-speed broadband from Vodafone
A reader called Delores was given the runaround by Vodafone before she eventually decided to make contact with us.
She has been a Vodafone customer for many years and in early September she rang them to see if she could get higher speed broadband as it’s now in her neighbourhood . A deal was struck and her contract was changed to include the new broadband offering as well as television channels.
“Our plan was to get rid of Sky. I was informed in early September that I would receive a text message within the next five days, to set up an appointment for a technician to come to house. I was told someone had to be home.”
She never got the text. She went on holidays and returned at the end of September and rang Vodafone to be told she had not got high-speed fibre in her area after all. “I told them our neighbours had but I accepted what they said that day as I was busy.”
Vodafone rang her back a few days later to tell her that she did have high-speed fibre in her neighbourhood. “Again I agreed to a new contract and we did it all over, and again I was told I would get a text and a technician would come out to set up our new fibre and give us a new modem. I was told how to return our old modem.”
No text from a technician ever came. She now had no internet access.
There were multiple calls but no resolution. A new modem was sent but to no avail.
More calls were made and more promises to fix the problem were made. She says she was sent “from one department to another, left on hold forever and every time you feel someone will actually fix the problem.”
She says she has talked to between 12 and 15 people and she never gets call backs. All she wants now is her old broadband back.
We contacted Vodafone and received the following statement.
“We understand that this was a frustrating experience for this customer. We have reached out to apologise directly and to resolve the issue. At Vodafone we are focused on working to ensure that our customer service delivery is at a standard we are proud of. On this occasion the service delivery fell short of this standard.”
Switch to GoMo leaves customer without phone service
Last month a new kid arrived on the mobile network block calling itself GoMo. It made quite a stir with its promise of all calls, texts and data for €10 a month. The only catch appeared to be that people joining GoMo would have to bring their own mobile phones as the company was offering 30 day sim-only plans.
Actually there was another catch – the €10 offer was only open to the first 100,000 customers who signed up.
We suspect that many people signed to the company which is owned by Eir.
A reader called Jennifer was one of those people. She had been with Vodafone and made the switch with her old provider confirming that the number had been ported to the new network. Within hours her old number had stopped working.
“I can’t tell you how much this impacts my life,” she says. “But as a young disabled person with heart failure I rely on my phone so much . My daughter who is only 11 has had to go to school since Friday without her phone just in case my number goes down. “
It gets worse.
“I rely on the internet in order to do food shopping etc and can do none of these things as my bank wants to send a 4 digit code each time I use my card for security purposes, but my old number does not work. Also, as you can imagine , there is much communication and WhatsApp groups that my phone is used for with two young daughters. I have spent hours everyday since October 30th trying to get a response from GoMo,” she says.
“I thought I was getting places. On Friday someone from GoMo sent me a direct message on Twitter but I do think they are just stringing me along with a message and then as soon as you reply they just leave you hanging.
She says what appears to have happened is her number was ported on October 30th but another number was assigned to her.
She was told that the company needed to reverse the port and reactivate it on the sim of her old provider and then it would have to be re-activated on the GoMo network again.
But she contacted us last Monday in desperation as nothing had happened. We got in touch with Eir and within 24 hours she had her old number back.
In response a company spokeswoman said: “GoMo launched last month and it has been an incredible success so far with tens of thousands of Irish people choosing to move to GoMo. With such a huge demand, a small number may experience a less than smooth join journey and porting of numbers can fail no matter the network. We are working to ensure a smooth journey for all; to do this we have increased our care support.
“In this instance, the customer wished to retain her old number, which she has the option to do. The port took place as requested and scheduled two weeks ago, but due to a technical issue, the port failed. We have been in contact with this customer, apologised for the inconvenience and reinstated the mobile number she wished to use.”
Case of the missing modem leaves Eir customer ‘really annoyed’
Sadly, we have another Eir story this week and it is up there with the most bonkers of them.
On Friday October18th a reader called Alan registered online for the new Eir TV/broadband/home phone package, priced at €79.98 per month, but with a six-month discounted price of €55 per month. The package was to involve the provision of the TV service through an Apple TV box along with Eir broadband service.
“On Monday, October 21st a parcel arrived by courier, which my wife signed for,” he says. “ Upon opening, I unpacked a nice new Apple TV box. Nice, I thought, and very quick. I assumed the modem would follow in a separate delivery over the next few days, and set aside the Apple TV pending its arrival.”
A few days passed, and there was no sign of any second delivery with the modem, so he called Eir support on Friday, October 25th, to ask when he would be receiving it.
“To my surprise, she said I had already received it, and it had been signed for on 21st October by my wife. I said, no, that the only thing we had received was a parcel containing the Apple TV box, which my wife had indeed signed for. The lady in Eir was insisting that we had received it, and after a little to-ing and fro-ing, she seemed to accept that all we had received was the Apple hardware, and assured me she would arrange for the modem to be sent out.
“Another week passed, and still no sign of the new modem arriving. I was getting concerned at this point, because when I checked online, it was telling me that by first bill would be due soon. I logged on to their website, got chatting to someone online at Eir, explained the whole situation again, and was told that a courier would contact me the day the modem was out for delivery. Yes, I said, but what day would that be? I was told that my service would be active on November 7th, and so I should receive it before that. Then, on November 5th, I again logged on to the webchat, to say I had still not received the modem, and could they please let me know when it would be dispatched. Again, I was told I would have it by November 7th.”
The next day he called Eir and spoke to the same person who had assured him in October that she was arranging to send out the missing modem. “As per previous conversation, I explained that we had received the apple hardware, but had still not received the modem.
“Unbelievably, she started the same story that we had already signed for it. I again explained to her, and reminded her that we had already spoken on this very topic (I know the folks in call centres are under pressure, and by no means would have expected her to remember me, but once I reminded her, she did acknowledge that we had already spoken).
“I asked her why the modem had not been sent out after our previous call as she had promised, and again she reverted to the line that they had already sent it out.”
He says at this point he wanted to cancel the order.
“She said that’s fine, but you’ll have to send the hardware back, to which I said that’s not a problem, just let me know in writing how you want me to do that, because I am certainly not sending a very valuable Apple TV box anywhere without some sort of written instructions. After a period on hold, she came back to say they would send a letter out regarding this. Then I said, I hope you’re not expecting me to send a modem back given that I didn’t receive it. She said I would have to send the modem back, and that if I hadn’t received it, I would have to take this up with Nightline. At this point, I must say I felt a little bit weary.”
He told her that Eir already knew he did not have the modem and that was why he was calling them.
“She said I would have to take this up with Nightline. I said, I have no contract with Nightline, and that they delivered one parcel which we did sign for, and which contained only an Apple TV. She said she believed me, but in any case, it’s something I would have to take up with Nightline, and if I didn’t return a modem I would be charged for it.”
He contacted us as he was worried Eir would use his direct debit mandate filled in when he applied for the new service to take money for hardware that they did not send. “I am also worried that they will find a way to charge me for the Apple TV box, which I don’t want/need, and want to send back, but given their form, I don’t have any faith in them.”
He concludes by saying that he is “really annoyed about the whole thing, and the amount of time and effort I am after wasting over the past few weeks, all to no avail”.
Annoyed would not even begin to cover it if we found ourselves in this situation so we contacted Eir again.
We received the following statement:
“Thank you for highlighting this issue, our care team have been in contact with the customer to resolve the problem. The team have investigated the issue and we are reviewing the delivery process with our courier partner. We have apologised to the customer for the confusion and delay, he is satisfied with the outcome.”
Nothing convenient about this fee for motorist
We got a mail from a reader called Adrian who spotted what he thought was an “interesting charge” when he was sorting out his parking for the month ahead.
“I was signing up for one-month’s car parking in Maynooth in a Kildare County Council car park,” he writes.
The county council in question uses Apcoa to police its parking and the cost he was asked to pay for the month was €60. Well, it was actually more than that.
“At the very end of the process, just before payment, an additional €3 was added, bringing the total to €63,” he says. “And how was the extra €3 described? It was called “a convenience fee”! Enough said really! Is this most meaningless use of our second national language ever?”
He says he felt short-changed and adds that for anyone who finds themselves “short-taken, as it were, it should be pointed out there is no convenience, public or otherwise, in the carpark.”
We got in touch with Kildare County Council to see what convenience were motorists getting as a result of this charge.
We got what can best be described as a terse statement. “The convenience charge is as it states. The convenience is to purchase for parking in advance and on-line and is similar to other parking apps. The charge is per transaction. The motorist does have the option to pay at the parking machine if they wish.”