straightfeed

Car sizes

95 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

BF are now using a data base called Carweb to check car dimensions.

Every time I book on line I get the ticket plus a mail telling me my Citroen Berlingo is taller than the manufacturers data. That's interesting as I measured height at 1.800m. Checked  my car handbook showing heights ranging from 1.801m with no manufacturers roof bars up to 1.860m with the bars. Citroen sales blurb even shows  these dimensions.

When I bought the car there were no roof bars. Nothing sits on the roof.( I have got the internal roof bars-brilliant)!

In the email its all set out like a Ryanair telling off with dire consequences of not being able to sail. What do I do pay up £42 to stop any anxiety or pay for the 3 cm of air above my car that BF deem I must pay.

So what happens in reality. At checkin the staff in the kiosk look puzzled,look at the roof, shrug the shoulders then off we go.I'm not asked to pay for the air above my car!

If you get a request to pay extra it maybe down to some website data base that BF use. Its not negotiable or maybe corrected until you get to checkin.

SFD

 

Edited by Jim
Removal of inappropriate language.

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I don't understand your problem. Height up to1.83metres is accepted as standard. 

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The problem is that he being mildly hassled by BF because they are using a faulty data source.

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I also have a Berlingo and can only assume  that the data base they are using is based on Berlingo's on the Continent which

all seem to come with the roof rails as standard , as does the steering wheel on the  left . If you notice in the manual  the diagram of the vehicle shows it with roof rails in most of the illustrations . I still can't see why this would be a problem as I have the rails plus roof bars with box  and never have any problems ,plus never have to go up the internal ramp . 

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The paradox being that Renault have my Master down as 6.21m... BF say it's 6.19m, it doesn't change anything but hey I want my 2 cm's back!

They've also introduced an added field. It used to be that motorhomes & van conversions were measured as up to 6m then up to 7m etc and priced accordingly. BF now have an up to 6.5m which we've found to be cheaper than the old all encompassing 6-7m offering. I've also been lead to believe that an added height field will be added to the booking engine to include an up to 3.5m rather than the current 3m & 4m on offer now, no doubt to appeal to those who buy a "low line variant rather than the high line bed over the cab variety.

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7 hours ago, wortley said:

I don't understand your problem. Height up to1.83metres is accepted as standard. 

My car is 1.800m. They take it as above 1.83m as their car data says its higher. Above 1.83 is the next charging size.The car data they use doesn't take into account that Citroen quote and show a varying size, depending on roof bars-1.801-1.860m. I presume the database is using the upper dimension. Thus the warning email. Every time It says call  the BF number. They say its  £42 please, its over the limit. But its not. Thus we set off with uncertainty or we pay up.

SFD

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15 hours ago, straightfeed said:

BF are now using a data base called Carweb to check car dimensions.

Every time I book on line I get the ticket plus a mail telling me my Citroen Berlingo is taller than the manufacturers data. That's interesting as I measured height at 1.800m. Checked  my car handbook showing heights ranging from 1.801m with no manufacturers roof bars up to 1.860m with the bars. Citroen sales blurb even shows  these dimensions.

When I bought the car there were no roof bars. Nothing sits on the roof.( I have got the internal roof bars-brilliant)!

In the email its all set out like a Ryanair telling off with dire consequences of not being able to sail. What do I do pay up £42 to stop any anxiety or pay for the 3 cm of air above my car that BF deem I must pay.

So what happens in reality. At checkin the staff in the kiosk look puzzled,look at the roof, shrug the shoulders then off we go.I'm not asked to pay for the air above my car!

If you get a request to pay extra it maybe down to some website data base that BF use. Its not negotiable or maybe corrected until you get to checkin.

SFD

 

To be fair, I thought this was a little harsh at first, but two things came to mind. First, it may seem a little odd to charge for just a few CM, but there must be a line drawn somewhere. We may think that it makes no difference when it comes to loading the ships, but don't forget many of BFs ships are aging now, and there are far more large SUV/4x4 types of vehicle around now that there were 20/25 years ago, so if you do not declare the correct size then on ships like Bretagne, people will start to be left on the dock when then run out of space - especially this time of year., like the old-days. Not what you want at the start of a family holiday really!

 And secondly - airlines charge you for every gram you take, and we accept that. I wouldn't expect them to be OK if I took 25kg in a case declared as 22kg!

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It would probably be worth putting this one in writing to BF Customer Services to get their view and, in turn, they could raise it with whatever database supplier they are using to get it corrected if needed. 

They don't just use the data for pure height either. When we travelled on Normandie Express last year I had to call up to book in order to take the dog on a day trip offer. Despite that fact that Mrs Jim's Astra and my Qashqai are both within the 'car' dimensions, the system actually classified them differently and we ended up taking the Astra because the Qashqai was deemed as 'too big' for any of the remaining capacity. Oddly, in the end both places we were parked would have fitted both cars.

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These kind of services just query the registration plate and return a value. If BF are using this in their call centre now, I wonder how long it will be before we just enter our registration online and don't have the option of specifying (or telling a little porky pie!) our own dimensions.

With regards to what Jim said, I would agree, but the people who maintain the services are constantly getting feedback and updating/correcting dimensions - BF are not the only company who will be getting feedback like this from their customers....

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Thanks all for the input but to reply to HF_UK. MY Berlingo is actually physically 1.80m.(the lower dimension in my handbook). The max allowable for my MPV is 1.83m without paying more. So I'm under the 1.83m limit and therefore having booked it as such it will fit as they have accepted my booking under the 1.83m height.

I'm not trying to fool anyone. I have discussed it with BF Customer Services. I don't hold any expectations.

I hope BF settles this data base and no one gets unknowing over charged. PPI springs to mind! Just joking.

I was cheered up the other day in the checkin queue when wife and I had fun counting the number of times the couple in front opened each of the 4 doors and hatchback and both repacked/sorted/rearranged everything in other bags. Clearly not working together. Counted 20 moves before they settled down. Larf!!

SFD

 

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1 hour ago, straightfeed said:

Thanks all for the input but to reply to HF_UK. MY Berlingo is actually physically 1.80m.(the lower dimension in my handbook). The max allowable for my MPV is 1.83m without paying more. So I'm under the 1.83m limit and therefore having booked it as such it will fit as they have accepted my booking under the 1.83m height.

I'm not trying to fool anyone. I have discussed it with BF Customer Services. I don't hold any expectations.

I hope BF settles this data base and no one gets unknowing over charged. PPI springs to mind! Just joking.

I was cheered up the other day in the checkin queue when wife and I had fun counting the number of times the couple in front opened each of the 4 doors and hatchback and both repacked/sorted/rearranged everything in other bags. Clearly not working together. Counted 20 moves before they settled down. Larf!!

SFD

 

I understand your issue straightfeed yes, that does need to be looked at really doesn't it. I went off on a bit of a tangent because I have heard so many people complaining about the new service/pricing itself.... But I would imagine they perhaps have to feed back errors or 'near-the-mark' situations like yours to the supplier at regular intervals...

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Right gents, brace yourselves for another of Iain's anorak attired anecdotes...!

Average return price aboard Bretagne with your motor is £280 with a 2 berth insider there and back...Squeezing just one extra car onboard every overnighter to St Malo will generate BF a low end estimate of around £110,000 a year not including a trip to Les Abers, a lap around the wines & spirits or nodding off in front of the next Marvel instalment. 

Just think what it would do to BF's turnover if through more scrutiny on vehicle lengths they managed to do this with just 2 or 3 cars over all of their routes in both directions every day?

I can see their motivation behind a bit of a clamp down even though at this early stage it's not as accurate as it could be.

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I don't think that's the issue though Iain. The issue as I understand it isn't BF charging appropriately for vehicles that exceed the 1.83m height limit.  The issue is BF allegedly making faulty rulings on whether a vehicle does exceed the limit based on use on an inaccurate data base.

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I think this is another example of the law of unintended consequences....

From my experience (which is that I used to write the software which calculated the vehicle availability for individual sailings on a number of different ferry operators in the 1990's) the garages on these ships tend to have a certain amount of "High-Vehicle" space and "Low-Vehicle" space (Hi-V and Lo-V as we used to refer to it).

The ship's specification will determine that the tallest vehicle that can be carried safely in Lo-V will be 1.83m (or 6' in old money).

When vehicles are booked, any vehicle that is above the Lo-V limit will reduce the Hi-V availability by the vehicle's length. On the other hand, if the vehicle is below the Lo-V limit will reduce the Lo-V availability by it's length (until there is no Lo-V left, when any remaining Hi-V space can be allotted instead).

However, a certain amount of the Hi-V space is pre-allocated to freight - and most (if not all) trailers will be booked into Hi-V. So Hi-V space is at something of a premium - hence the additional cost. 

A big problem that we discovered loading-staff often used to get was that there were fewer Lo-V vehicles turning up for a sailing than were booked, and more Hi-V vehicles. Often this was because customers who made the bookings did not know how tall their car was, or forgot that they had roof-bars  - or decided to use a roof-box at the last minute, and didn't tell the operator.

Bear in mind that this was before the days of on-line booking - so each booking was taken over the phone. To save time, and to stop these issues, we compiled a list of car types and allocated them to Hi-V and Lo-V based on the manufactures stated dimensions. This meant that the question about the height (and length) of the vehicle did not even need to be asked.

Now, of course we have online bookings, and customers are doing the work of the Res-Clerks. It rather looks like we have the same issue.

I would imagine that if you make the booking over the phone and explain that the actual height is 1.80 - and so below the 1.83 threshold they will be able to override the standard height and let the booking through.

 

 

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Right on the nail Gareth. More scrutiny is not the issue Jonno. Being asked to pay for something that is clearly and honestly wrong is not right at all.

Look at todays news on Europcar concerning overcharging.

BF open themselves to overcharging on their own tariffs. How many will payup as they have never measured their vehicle or questioned BF method of charging what they've been told the dimensions are by a third party. I wonder if CarWeb cover claims against them over erroneous information.

Get me a lawyer.

SFD

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A simple dangling board at check-in (and two boards at different heights at neighbouring cabins to cover both height limits) would solve the problem and anyone whose car hits it is warned (online at the time of booking) that they can not be guaranteed a place on the sailing. I'd fall foul of the rule with one of my cars (Ford Tourneo Courier - not available yet in the UK in passenger form so not on the database probably) as its radio antenna would strike the board but that would be allowed to pass as they can be removed or in my case taped down if needed. Ed 

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5 minutes ago, Halfcrown said:

I think this is another example of the law of unintended consequences....

From my experience (which is that I used to write the software which calculated the vehicle availability for individual sailings on a number of different ferry operators in the 1990's) the garages on these ships tend to have a certain amount of "High-Vehicle" space and "Low-Vehicle" space (Hi-V and Lo-V as we used to refer to it).

The ship's specification will determine that the tallest vehicle that can be carried safely in Lo-V will be 1.83m (or 6' in old money).

When vehicles are booked, any vehicle that is above the Lo-V limit will reduce the Hi-V availability by the vehicle's length. On the other hand, if the vehicle is below the Lo-V limit will reduce the Lo-V availability by it's length (until there is no Lo-V left, when any remaining Hi-V space can be allotted instead).

However, a certain amount of the Hi-V space is pre-allocated to freight - and most (if not all) trailers will be booked into Hi-V. So Hi-V space is at something of a premium - hence the additional cost. 

A big problem that we discovered loading-staff often used to get was that there were fewer Lo-V vehicles turning up for a sailing than were booked, and more Hi-V vehicles. Often this was because customers who made the bookings did not know how tall their car was, or forgot that they had roof-bars  - or decided to use a roof-box at the last minute, and didn't tell the operator.

Bear in mind that this was before the days of on-line booking - so each booking was taken over the phone. To save time, and to stop these issues, we compiled a list of car types and allocated them to Hi-V and Lo-V based on the manufactures stated dimensions. This meant that the question about the height (and length) of the vehicle did not even need to be asked.

Now, of course we have online bookings, and customers are doing the work of the Res-Clerks. It rather looks like we have the same issue.

I would imagine that if you make the booking over the phone and explain that the actual height is 1.80 - and so below the 1.83 threshold they will be able to override the standard height and let the booking through.

 

 

Very interesting point. Armorique kind of goes against the grain there though, because they deliberatly made the top deck (deck 5) low enough (about 1 meter lower) than Cotentin, so Arctics could not go up there.... various reasons have been suggested, but a skeptic may say so as to prevent her being stolen and used by a more freight-heavy BF port, with a double level linkspan. However, it is still what would be considered 'high space' at least for passenger vehicles. Very handy in the summer, when they shove a lot of small campers and so on up there when it is busy.

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Halfcrown-its the car reg that they use. They would ask the same over the phone. That pops up the Carweb info.

In fact when we last checked in the staff member started to process the cabin ticket, then noticed his computer (I would guess with a flash saying nab this bloke, car is over 1.83m) turned and looked at the car, shrugged his shoulders. NO CHARGE.

Madness

SFD

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I think the reason for the upper low headroom deck on Armorique was to allow the accommodation block to be built over it without compromising the stability of the vessel. Cotentin has an identical hull and lower structure but a full height upper vehicle deck to accommodate freight. The trade off of course is that she has a much smaller accommodation block and less passenger capacity and facilities. That is why converting Cotentin to have more passenger accommodation is rather problematical - too much weight high up in the ship necessitating compromises elsewhere.

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49 minutes ago, Gareth said:

I don't think that's the issue though Iain. The issue as I understand it isn't BF charging appropriately for vehicles that exceed the 1.83m height limit.  The issue is BF allegedly making faulty rulings on whether a vehicle does exceed the limit based on use on an inaccurate data base.

That's true...squeezing another aboard would be more to do with length. Makes you wonder, Carweb are owned by HPI the company which all used car buyers rely on. It's also the VRM database which is used alongside the DVLA & MID attached to the PNC.

 

 

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Just been reading the sales blurb that came with my Citroen.

It says Citroen information is supplied in good faith but the buyer should check with a dealer.

Have CarWeb used such information merely in good faith, not having checked it?

SFD

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3 hours ago, Halfcrown said:

The ship's specification will determine that the tallest vehicle that can be carried safely in Lo-V will be 1.83m (or 6' in old money).

The thing is, though, they can't really  expect people to park in areas as low as 6'1"" as lots of people are taller than that these days so they would need to issue hard hats.  There must be a reasonable margin for passenger safety so I suspect setting the bar at 6' is just a money making ruse.

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True, except when it comes to hoistable decks once all the passengers have left their vehicles - assuming any vessels still have such a feature. Ed 

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Don't forget that many people drive hatchbacks and opening the hatch can easily bash against the overhead depending on where you are parked.

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