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About Altranter

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    BFE Member
  • Birthday 29/09/1966
  1. Regarding vouchers instead of refunds, and possible changes in government regulations, I am not sure whether Brittany Ferries would be considered a British or French company when booked through its UK website. This is what it says in the booking conditions: By making a booking, you will be entering into a contract for ferry travel with BAI SA, which acts through its appointed sales agent BAI UK Limited, a company registered in England and Wales under company number 01080495, and whose registered office is at Millbay, Plymouth, PL1 3EW. It then goes on to say that the contract will be governed by English law. "These Booking Conditions and any dispute or claim in connection with your booking will be governed by the law of England. You and we both agree that the courts of England will have exclusive jurisdiction to resolve any dispute or claim arising" I also have a feeling that this might have been changed recently. I am not too sure about the law of agency and whether a customer who has suffered loss can sue the agent or just the principal (Brittany Ferries SA). If the latter, it would seem strange that any dispute would have to be handled in the English courts. Are there any lawyers here? Meanwhile, Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act is a good backstop, which covers either situation,, but I suspect that if you accept a refund voucher, credit card companies will say that this was not directly purchased using the credit card, so not covered by s75. I think it would be foolish to voluntarily accept a refund voucher, unless you thought BF is more deserving than anybody else who could use your money.
  2. I vaguely recall that BF extended CV membership free for a month or so to compensate for the strike / lockout of a few years ago.
  3. A note at the end of article states: Until the rules change, a strict entitlement to a cash refund remains. Also, the Package Travel Regulations in themselves probably wouldn't cover most BF customers who book ferry only - I think it would only apply to those who include hotel accommodation etc as well
  4. It is such arrogance of BF to impose a refund voucher, and judging by the message tweeted a few posts back, it seems to be saying that it must do this because it needs the money. There are lots of good causes that I might want to support with my cash in these hard times, and I want to choose these myself, rather than have BF decide for me. Every now and again French arrogance comes through at BF, regardless of what the law is. The booking conditions are quite clear: (iii) Re-routing and reimbursement in the event of cancelled or delayed departures Where a sailing is delayed for more than 90 minutes or cancelled we will provide you the choice of either, a specific re-routing option to your final destination as set out in your transport contract at the earliest opportunity at no additional charge; or re-imbursement of the price that was paid for transport contract within 7 days. The contract is governed by English law, and as far as I am aware, the UK government has not passed any law allowing a company in ths situation to retrospectively amend its contracts. I would refuse to accept a refund voucher because: 1. There is no guarantee that I will be able to use it in the next 12 months; 2. There is no guarantee that Brittany Ferries will still be around in 12 months to honour it. 3. If you accept it now, it might prejudice a claim on your credit card company. A claim under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act should be straightforward. BF has failed to deliver what it agreed to deliver (the ferry crossing), and the refund within 7 days. Formally ask BF (by email) for a refund to your credit card and if they refuse, send a copy of this to your credit card company, as they will want evidence of the T&Cs, and also that you have tried to obtain the refund yourself. Also, to be clear, BF is the merchant for most credit card transactions where you paid directly with your card (it wouldn’t be if you paid via PayPal for example). Section 75 claims are not difficult – just make sure you keep all documentation (original invoice, T&Cs, evidence of non-delivery and correspondence of non-refund)
  5. For anybody pressured into accepting a refund credit note from BF, remind them of this clause in the Terms and Conditions: (iii) Re-routing and reimbursement in the event of cancelled or delayed departures Where a sailing is delayed for more than 90 minutes or cancelled we will provide you the choice of either, a specific re-routing option to your final destination as set out in your transport contract at the earliest opportunity at no additional charge; or re-imbursement of the price that was paid for transport contract within 7 days.
  6. This title of this thread got me thinking. Do you think Brittany Ferries could ever envisage being a train operator itself? Shipping companies have often diversified into other modes of transport. Many early charter airlines were created by shipping companies (e.g. Dan Air), and the first franchised train operator on the London – Edinburgh rail line was a shipping company (OCL). Of course, not all were successes. Could it make any sense for BF to operate a container train service from inland UK to inland French / Spanish container terminals? A roll-on roll-off train facility could probably be constructed at Cherbourg and Poole where the ferries are already not very far from a railway track. I have memories of seeing trains loaded very quickly onto the Great Belts ferry in Denmark. I have no idea if the margins would be sufficient to compete with the Channel Tunnel for through container traffic. Maybe not. Or whether an independent operator could have competitive cost advantages in the rail haulage part. It most likely wouldn’t make sense for BF to go it alone, but with the right partners, could this make any sense?
  7. I hope the new ticket structure doesn’t make ticket flexibility an expensive luxury. I often have to make a choice between flying and renting a car, or driving over on the ferry. When total costs of each are roughly similar, the ferry wins because of its flexibility to change dates and times very easily and cheaply. Brittany Ferries should never forget that it is becoming increasingly expensive relative to low cost flights and cheap hotels. Adding extra costs for flexibility might give away one of its competitive advantages
  8. The Portsmouth “security” doesn’t make me feel any safer. I think the problem is that they pay minimum wage and get the quality of staff that they pay for. Not individuals with well honed soft skills in spotting security threats, but minimally trained people who are paid to follow a procedure and tick a box when the job is done. I have encountered countless acts of stupidity for the sake of box ticking when common sense would have speeded things up and probably spotted a more serious threat. They once went to great length to find a small hidden metal button in my pocket, but happily passed over my toolbox which contained countless sharp knives, saws and chisels.
  9. I agree that after a fine cruise, sitting in a traffic jam to get off the boat and get through border control wipes out much of the good memory of the crossing. It is often said that you remember the last thing in an event more than anything else. Plymouth is particularly bad and for that reason I try to avoid it, but Portsmouth can also be really frustrating. It is so annoying when Brittany Ferries simply says it is not their problem. If they were concerned about point to point customer experience, they would make it their problem. I have sometimes wondered why the Le Toquet agreement cannot be extended to western ports. People arrive for their ferry typically over a period of up to two hours, whereas they depart all at the same time. By having staggered passport checks on arrival, it would presumably require fewer passport officers on duty at one time and this might partly offset the cost of posting Border Control overseas. If Brittany Ferries has to pay for this facility, this should be a priority. Onboard is generally fine, but this can all be undone by the process of getting off. For me, speedy exit is a big bonus of the Dover ferries and Brittany Ferries should try to match this.
  10. I just had a thought on the BF bid for Condor. Perhaps the investment company which owns Condor was planning this for many years? They probably thought their best exit route was to sell to a trade buyer – i.e. another ferry company. And the most likely buyer would be the nearest - Brittany Ferries. But wouldn’t that involve an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority if two competing companies wanted to merge? So to avoid the most likely buyer being debarred, HQ at Macquarie probably gave orders not to compete with BF. So Condor’s direct Poole – St Malo route finished, then the interline Poole-Cherbourg finished, and a couple of years ago the Summer Sundays Portsmouth- Cherbourg sailings ended. Today it is very unattractive to use Condor to travel via CI to France. Result? No competition between the two companies, so no cause for the CMA to get involved and possibly block a takeover. And lots of possible efficiency gains. Am I being cynical?
  11. Electronic passport gates have really changed getting through airports. Coming back into the UK at most UK airpports is now a breeze with queues of the past greatly diminished. It's a shame that the same technology cannot be applied at ferry ports. It would surely save time and staffimng costs? Has anybody seen better practice in a ferry port in another country which has used electronic passport checks to speed arrival? For me, the passport queues are the worst thing about ferry travel.
  12. I have resisted posting my comments here because I thought I would get over my initial dislike following more familiarity. But I haven’t. Two big problems remain for me: 1. 1. The type font is much lighter than previously, and I find it much more difficult to read the light blue / grey font that is used against a white background, rather than black on white which was previously dominant. My eyesight is reasonable (but getting no better), but the font must be difficult for people with poor vision. 2. 2. There seems to take a lot more clicks to access simple information. I particularly dislike the timetable pages if you are planning a journey at the beginning or end of the month. You cannot see Feb 27/28 and March 1 / 2 on the same page without clicking between the separate pages for each month I could go on, but I think an opportunity was lost to improve comparison between routes, something which we take for granted on travel sites such as Expedia where you can compare much more complex itineraries all in one place.
  13. I wonder if part of the deal is that the contractors will receive stage payments when there is evidence that capcity is actually available. Seabourne Freight no cash just now (never??), but maybe BF get some money up front by being able to show that they have the timetable and ships to honour the contract. I suppose they may be balancing relatively easy cash now against a few disgruntled customers (and I wonder how negotiations with the crew went?). Presumably if Brexit doesn't happen, or their is a "perfect" deal, the extra sailings are cancelled and BF keeps the up front cash.
  14. Altranter

    New Look Revealed

    Very nicely argued. I suspect that corporatisation may be one outcme of the Macron change agenda, and BF is probably just going with the flow of French business. I would argue that British corporate culture just now seems to be going in the opposite direction to the French, with British companies going out of their way to decorporatise their personas, with lots of brownie points for firms who can claim workers' ownership / co-operative membership, being a small business etc. I think the history of French onion growers and how BF has evolved makes a great story, more than a new corporate logo ever will. More fundamentally, if I am correct in perceiving a growing corporatisation of France, will this change the nature of France as a country which is so different to home, and for this reason so worthy of a holiday visit?
  15. I dread the embarkation and disembarkation, especialy at Portsmouth. Compared to their airline competitors, BF is moving in the opposite direction. When I fly to France, the aircraft gets more compressed and horrible over time, but getting through the airport has improved enormously (eg e-passports, greatly improved security checks etc). But with Britanny ferries it is the other way round, the ships get better all the time, but the terminal experience has got worse, especially queues at immigration and general handling of boarding / disembarkation.
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