Teresa Ryan booked a package holiday with Budget Travel last March. "When they emailed me the voucher for the hotel I realised I put my partner's first name down incorrectly," her mail starts.
“The first name on his passport is Joseph but I put down Garry (which is the name he goes by),” she explains. “I only noticed it about three weeks before we travelled. I emailed them immediately – that was on a Sunday. The next day Monday I phoned them four times. Each time I got an answering machine. Eventually about noon that day I got a phone call from a girl in Budget Travel, she said that she had just picked up my email. I explained the error and asked what could I do.”
Our reader was then told she would have to pay €110 for the name change on flights and €400 for name change for the hotel. “I had no problem with the name change on the flight which I did pay but I did have a problem with paying €400 to change Garry to Joseph on the hotel voucher. I asked for a breakdown of the €400 and why it was so expensive. She explained when you change your accommodation, dates, names, etc that’s what it cost.”
Teresa argued it was only a first name and “as it was on Budget’s headed paper they could edit it and email it again. She said as the name was changed I could be bringing another person with me and she quoted the terms and conditions and told me that I should have read them. I thought this was mad. I was not prepared to pay another €400.”
So she didn’t. When the couple arrived at the hotel and booked in they gave reception the voucher with the name Garry on it. “They greeted us when we arrived, gave us our key and said ‘Joseph let us know if you need anything during your stay and we hope you have a great holiday’.”
So there was no fuss and – it appears – absolutely no need to spend €400 on having the name changed on the documentation. “I emailed Budget Travel when I got back and explained that the hotel had not questioned the name and I was glad I had not paid the €400. They ignored my email and I have heard nothing since.”
She also points out that when people book with the web site they are given 15 minutes to complete their transaction. “I would argue it would take a half an hour or more to read the terms and conditions that Budget Travel rep referred me to.”
This does seem somewhat unfair to us. So we contacted Budget Travel which was, as it turns out, entirely unapologetic.
“The change fee of €400 is clearly outlined in our terms and conditions, the customer accepted these during the booking flow and also received a copy with their invoice,” a spokeswoman said. “The fees we charge are to cover the cost of changing names on travel documents as the majority of hotels will not accept clients where the names on the voucher do not match the names on the passports of people checking in, so to avoid complications and charges upon check-in, we strongly advise to do this advance. It is very fortunate for these clients that they were accepted at check-in without incurring any fees for names changes, especially since it was a full first name change and not a spelling error or change of a letter. The fees we charge are in line with our competitors and clearly outlined during the booking flow which the customer accepted.”
That’s that then. You have been warned.
Readers have spotted two pricing anomalies in Tesco
The first left a reader by the name of Eleanor “baffled”. She was in Tesco in the Millfield Shopping Centre in Balbriggan recently and was browsing the tops.
“They have the same top in five different colours,” she says. Stressing that they are “exactly the same top bar the colour”.
The green top had a sterling price of £10 which converted to €12.50. The pink version cost £10 too and that too converted to €12.50. However, the white, navy and peach versions of the top, which also cost £10 sterling but were priced at €14. Our reader asks if this is allowed. "No one in Tesco could give me an answer as to why there was a price difference. They had the same base price in UK but two different prices in Ireland. Very same tops, same everything bar the price. Surely this should not be the case."
Then a reader called Seamus sent us a mail. He said Tesco was running a "special offer" on two 454g tubs of Dairygold at present. "The price was €5 and Tesco claimed this would save shoppers 98 cent," says Seamus. "The problem is that the normal price for one tub for many months has been €2.69 – not €2.99. This means the saving on two tubs is really 38 cent not 98 cent. I expect that the single tub price will return to €2.69 after June 20th when the special offer ceases!"
We got in touch with Tesco to find out more
In response to Eleanor’s query a Tesco spokeswoman said the store was “really sorry to have caused this mix-up in store”. She said the F&F range is “priced at purchase which is set in line with the currency rates at that point in time – which can be up to six months before they arrive in store. We’re mindful of this and work to minimise currency fluctuations and do our best to update price tags regularly to ensure that customers benefit from great value on F&F all year round. We have rectified the situation with the customer and arranged for a full refund and gesture of goodwill from F&F to be sent to Eleanor with our apologies.”
As for the Dairygold query she said that from time to time “suppliers pass on commodity price increases which we work to minimise in order to provide consistent value to customers. We do our best to minimise cost fluctuations on products but in this case it has resulted in a rise in the retail price of the product which is in line with the wider market.”
She said the commodity price increase passed on from the supplier coincided with a multi-buy promotion. “This offer will conclude in the coming days following which the price will revert to €2.99. We acknowledge the customer’s point of view and apologise for any confusion caused. We will work with our commercial teams to minimise promotions coinciding with price amendments going forward.”