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Amendment and cancellation policies


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Does anyone know the current position in this. I tried to cancel a Flexi ticket today for June. They are meant to be refundable. The system told me the £646.00 was not refundable. So I have not cancelled,  but movement restrictions to a second home will not allow me to travel. 

Then I tried to amend a £409 Standard ticket for September. They are meant to be amendable.  As soon as I entered my new crossings, the system refused, each time I got a message “Limit A, Limit À has been reached please chose an alternative,”   I got the same message for all 4 alternatives I tried. However, I was able to easily book the same alternatives as a new bookings. Had to cancel instead of amending and lost £204.65 and the new alternative cost £295.00 
 

Understandably, we are not able to contact anyone by telephone. I tried the Contact Form option. On all 6 occasions I got a message “The form has become outdated. Save work and  reload the page.” Was unable to submit any contact form.

 

Does anyone know the current position in regard to changing / amending bookings and how to contact someone at Brittany Ferries. 

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On that note, it's probably worth a bit more of an explanation as to why some threads have been closed as there seems to be a little bit of confusion and concern that seems to have crept in. I'll put

Travel companies in general, no way specific to BF, are in effect giant ponzi schemes. They spend your deposits/balances before you travel and depend on subsequent bookings to float your particular bo

The campsite we go to in The Vendee had planned its season to start on Monday coming. It's British owned and run so the end of May mid-term holiday that schools in England and Wales have is a busy wee

I fear BF and their Voucher policy is going to kill any goodwill BF have created over the decades....

BF use to be exceptional with their customer service, let’s be honest, BF will no doubt get supported by UK, French, Irish and possibly Spanish governments, therefore, the *refusal* to refund me (on my 2 bookings) Is quite possibly illegal, despite my many emails to no avail.... BF’s belligerent behaviour is in stark comparison with BA who fully refunded me for an Andorra holiday earlier, and, to my surprise, they have even offered a full cash refund on my 14k (club world) holiday to Vegas/LA holiday planned for next month, so when it comes to European travel, I’m likely to give the two fingers to BF which is a real shame as I use to love the service, but BF have to do a lot for clear the bitter taste I have for them Right now 😢 

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Anyway, I think it is important that we keep this thread on the topic of amendment policy.  If it turns into another round of lamentation about BF’s handling of the cancelled sailings it will probably get closed.  BF will find out soon enough what its actions have done to customer loyalty.

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I will do a brief reappearance to attempt to answer the actual questions:-

The form should work and is the official method. However the website has a number of weaknesses ! If the responses start to get strange, the simplest method is to go into private / incognito mode as that will sort out most bugs as they are often linking to the old forms or data !

The best unofficial method of getting a response from BF is a Direct Message on Twitter stating the problem, what you are trying to do and the booking reference. Send that when BF are responding on Twitter (ideally when Jane is on ^JE), if the current person responding is ^NW, wait until someone else Is on !

Re policies, I believe that the stated cancellation policy is still present for future bookings, however the web site messages may well not be correct – I would expect a Flexi booking to be cancellable with the loss of 25% deposit and the rest returned, however I believe that you would lose less by amending the booking to a far cheaper crossing in the future and removing extras prior to cancellation if needed.

Future bookings should be amendable as long as the future dates are less than one year after the initial outbound dates.

The recommendation with the BF website is to stop when it gets into a mess and tell BF to make any required changes.

Best Wishes

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17 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Anyway, I think it is important that we keep this thread on the topic of amendment policy.  If it turns into another round of lamentation about BF’s handling of the cancelled sailings it will probably get closed.  BF will find out soon enough what its actions have done to customer loyalty.

On that note, it's probably worth a bit more of an explanation as to why some threads have been closed as there seems to be a little bit of confusion and concern that seems to have crept in. I'll put my hands up and say that the previous closure of threads was done by me in consultation with Andy as opposed to waiting for a consensus amongst the BFE Staff. Whilst I outlined some of the reasoning at the time, but I'm aware of people raising some concerns since. 

Firstly -  threads are not closing to stifle criticism of BF or at the request of BF (pretty sure they have better things to do at the moment)! 

Right now, there is a legitimately good cause for much of what is being said - but as always there are ways and means to air it. The threads which were closed had started descending into general ranting and unpleasantness, in some cases directed at individuals or the staff of Brittany Ferries. 

Since these threads were closed, and that's 'closed' rather than 'deleted', the general tone of postings on BFE appears to have settled somewhat and created a more pleasant environment to read and participate in - which was the sole aim of the action taken. 

As moderators, we endeavour to act in the best interests of the site - we can't please everyone all of the time - but we genuinely try to do our best. We're only human.

Finally, two important points;

In the interests of transparency I should flag we've seen a small number of accounts registered on BFE in the last few weeks and initial posts from them that suggest they have been solely created to air a grievance around someone's individual circumstances in relation to a cancelled booking. In these instances, these posts haven't cleared moderation - again, not because of a wish to stifle criticism, but a wish to maintain a relatively pleasant environment on the forums.

Finally, and linked to the above point, for those with specific concerns about travel/a booking or looking to elicit a direct response from BF, you will need to contact them directly. BFE and Members will do their best to point you in the right direction, but it's always best to get an answer from la bouche du cheval*.

I suspect the effects of the current situation will be felt for months and years, with plenty of time for sensible and polite debate.

 

 

(*Acknowledging that right now getting a response from said horse is not particularly easy)

 

 

 

 

 

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Just out of interest has anybody tried recouping their money via their credit card company.

I am not particularly keen to go down this route but I am likely to end up with nearly £2000 worth of vouchers for travel alone. This is OK providing BF don't go bust or I die before I have the chance to use them. Allowing people to transfer them to close family members (Sons/Daughters) would be a fair option in the case of death. 

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1 minute ago, IanN said:

Just out of interest has anybody tried recouping their money via their credit card company.

I am not particularly keen to go down this route but I am likely to end up with nearly £2000 worth of vouchers for travel alone. This is OK providing BF don't go bust or I die before I have the chance to use them. Allowing people to transfer them to close family members (Sons/Daughters) would be a fair option in the case of death. 

You must refuse in writing to accept the voucher and ask for a monetary refund. Try that once, then when they say no (or don’t bother to reply) write again to say your position remains the same in UK consumer law. Again if no positive response then write a third time to confirm that the voucher is not acceptable and that you are putting in a Section 75 Chargeback through your card provider.

A chargeback must be over £100 and it must be on a credit card, not a debit card. Your bank may ask for copies of correspondence between you an BF to show in writing they have been unable to provide the agreed contracted service, that they have refused a refund and that you have made reasonable efforts.

If they get too many chargebacks it’ll affect their merchant provider fraud scores, there’ll be some in accounts who would have to get together the evidence to contest it (if they do contest it) and it could affect how long the banks hold on to money between the customer paying for a ticket and BF being credited - this is Virgin Atlantic’s problem at the moment, and was the same at Flybe before Virgin started asset stripping it and at the end too.

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12 minutes ago, IanN said:

Just out of interest has anybody tried recouping their money via their credit card company.

I am not particularly keen to go down this route but I am likely to end up with nearly £2000 worth of vouchers for travel alone. This is OK providing BF don't go bust or I die before I have the chance to use them. Allowing people to transfer them to close family members (Sons/Daughters) would be a fair option in the case of death. 

I mentioned something like that last week and suggested that a transfer to a family member with the same surname (with a provable link to offspring for example) might make sense. An alternative could be that if they see by say October low levels of use of the vouchers issued for the 2020/2021 season (particularly by older people unwilling or unable to travel) then provide the option to convert them into gift vouchers which can be given to younger family members at Christmas time. Ed

 

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Travel companies in general, no way specific to BF, are in effect giant ponzi schemes. They spend your deposits/balances before you travel and depend on subsequent bookings to float your particular boat/plane/train etc.What is needed, but what will not happen, is your money should be placed in an escrow fund, thereby ring fenced until you travel. Refunding in cash is then no problem. Credit card providers would not need to hold on to funds re S75. Last week the MD of `On the Beach` travel slated the issue of vouchers round the industry.He pointed out that going forward they will still have to carry you/provide your holiday but without any cash coming in. What you paid this year, they will already have spent, never mind next year.

 Cash flow will be as tight next year as this. Utter madness in a volatile industry.

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Must say, on that note I've been impressed by Trailfinders. Mother Jim and a friend were due a 'holiday of a lifetime' in Canada this summer which they've postponed. Not only could they easily speak to a human but they were specifically told how their 10% deposit had been spent and what they may not get back because two suppliers had already been paid and the agent wasn't clear on the policies for those suppliers. 

A quick Google found both cited suppliers offering free changes and a subsequent call to Trailfinders had everything provisionally booked for next year and the full deposit carried over. No charge for changing anything, just a caveat that the total price may change slightly once booking windows open up.

Out of three breaks myself and Mrs Jim had booked only AirBnB and Air Malta Holidays have offered full refunds. The former was back on my card in under 24 hours. The latter has said it will take 6-8 weeks to process because of volumes but been clear we will be refunded.

A partial refund from BA is nowhere to be seen after 7 weeks (we chose to cancel) and continually being told it will take 'another 7 to 10 days' I've lodged a dispute via American Express.

We have a BF voucher for a holiday (which therefore falls under ABTA rules) and have written to them via the contact form but to date that's been radio silence.

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Paully said:

Travel companies in general, no way specific to BF, are in effect giant ponzi schemes. They spend your deposits/balances before you travel and depend on subsequent bookings to float your particular boat/plane/train etc.What is needed, but what will not happen, is your money should be placed in an escrow fund, thereby ring fenced until you travel. Refunding in cash is then no problem. Credit card providers would not need to hold on to funds re S75. Last week the MD of `On the Beach` travel slated the issue of vouchers round the industry.He pointed out that going forward they will still have to carry you/provide your holiday but without any cash coming in. What you paid this year, they will already have spent, never mind next year.

 Cash flow will be as tight next year as this. Utter madness in a volatile industry.

This is the real nub of the matter. They will have to take a hit - all they have done it put off the evil day and ensuring a bigger problem down the line.  Many operators are laying up the same trouble for for themselves. We have a booking on a holiday cottage in the Lakes which at present is still OK. They want me to pay and then let the booking run forward if we can't go. As we go every year this is OK but they will get no money next year if I don't go this.  It is even worse for the likes of BF beause after this I predict their advance booking market will be pretty well dead, no one is going to take the risk of laying out four figures and ending up with a credit note.Credit notes aren't worth the paper they are written on.  In the worst scenario BF could end up taking no new money at all next year but still have to run a full service. I wouldn't even like to guess at the ecomic impact of the reputational damage on the potential trading going forward.  I agree with some posters above - stand on your rights and demand a refund. Otherwise you could well end up with nothing. I will predict that we won't hear much more about the proposed rail freight operation!

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Technical question about the vouchers.  If the original booking, made by credit card, is cancelled by BF, vouchers issued, and then those vouchers are used to make a new booking, is the new booking protected by the credit card that was used to make the original one?

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I'm sticking with BF vouchers BUT I can't think why! Hope, I suppose.

But, I need the Plymouth- Roscoff service to remain ( maybe impossible next year as Brits holidaying will be very low, and this route is very largely that).
My voucher is funding the running of BF at this time. Who knows? No refunds on this route is win/win for them. There is no competition here.
It matters not a jot if some CEO gives all the assurances in the world as I'm the one taking all the risk with my money.

We have a world now where we pay up front(sometimes well in advance) and that money in some places feeds a system that each entity takes a slice. The weirdest schemes like websites checking websites for the best deals! Deposits used to shore up todays obligations.

At the bottom are the credit card and insurance companies and banks who will soon be climbing under rocks to save their massive businesses.

So far, I'm sort of happy I've had some vouchers, which I've used to pay for future crossings. If it all goes "TU" I'll just make more plans. Whether it includes BF is totally up to them not me.

I truly hope that all those who need or want a refund or can't afford or don't want to gamble on BF, get their money back. Good luck.

Maybe (I've said that too many times!) we can revert to a deposit on booking and pay the final bill at the gate before boarding. The customer is investing too much money in businesses that is good for us on both sides.

toddle pip Stu

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19 hours ago, sandra2jeremy@w said:

 

 

 

 

Does anyone know the current position in regard to changing / amending bookings and how to contact someone at Brittany Ferries. 

Customer services@ did it for me on two occasions. I did it to use up vouchers.

Stu

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I am with Stu and don't know why

Also used a voucher against future booking can't use the second one as it has more value than the balance. More vouchers to follow.

I know I am a bit of a cynic but as the cancellations are being caused by a virus that kills people vouchers are being issued by a lot of companies. Are they working an a premise that a percentage of the people will not live to collect.

I do hope BF survive but I fear the worst and by accepting the vouchers I will have contributed to try to help them. I hope they remember this if they have a future.

Also upbeat comments by the CEO are not particularly inspiring at this time. Anybody know if he is contributing to the survival fund?

 

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1 hour ago, straightfeed said:

Maybe (I've said that too many times!) we can revert to a deposit on booking and pay the final bill at the gate before boarding. The customer is investing too much money in businesses that is good for us on both sides.

How about changing that a little to this structure? 

You pay 75% deposit up-front to guarantee your place and cabin choice but your ticket is fully amendable or can be cancelled with a full refund up to 7 days before departure. Both outward and inward crossings are kept totally separate so changing one does not affect the other. Your credit card is then debited for the balance of each crossing once the ferry arrives at its destination with a clearly published sliding scale for compensation due to delays, cancellations or diversions to alternative ports. If the ferry doesn't leave at all, due to weather etc, then the deposit is refunded if no alternative service is available or appropriate. You can then, if necessary, also cancel your no longer needed return sailing without any penalty. 

Ed. 

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When I go away I just buy a ticket from Plymouth few days in advance - whether it's a train to my daughter in Birmingham, a National Express coach to London, or a ferry to Roscoff. It doesn't seem to be a problem to me. I can always get the transport.

Other folk seem to want pay deposits months and months in advance for that sort of travel, and now they have vouchers for 2021 or 2022. Either way the company is holding the money which the customers paid willingly in the first place. 

I can't manage to plan so far ahead, but at least I am not caught up in this dispute. 

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Like Wortley, no more advance bookings after the vouchers are used up. 
We looked at why did we do it so far in advance being retired. It was a nice cosy feeling, all was right with the world and BF!
We did it to get a Club cabin. No more. Leave it till the last minute now (and don't yank up the fares as I'll be watching you BF) and sod it about a window and a cup of tea.

It they jack up the cost I'll go another day. One way tickets only ,no flexi tickets for me now. Sorta- they lose, I win. They 'll lose £60-120 a year on the ticket type alone.

Self catering and all now.

I'm back in control.

Stu

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5 hours ago, IanN said:

I know I am a bit of a cynic but as the cancellations are being caused by a virus that kills people vouchers are being issued by a lot of companies. Are they working an a premise that a percentage of the people will not live to collect.

I would very much think not - most are working on the grounds of doing what they can to try and survive the crisis. At the same time, there is probably a level of calculation that some may not use their vouchers for whatever reason.

4 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

How about changing that a little to this structure? 

You pay 75% deposit up-front to guarantee your place and cabin choice but your ticket is fully amendable or can be cancelled with a full refund up to 7 days before departure. Both outward and inward crossings are kept totally separate so changing one does not affect the other. Your credit card is then debited for the balance of each crossing once the ferry arrives at its destination with a clearly published sliding scale for compensation due to delays, cancellations or diversions to alternative ports. If the ferry doesn't leave at all, due to weather etc, then the deposit is refunded if no alternative service is available or appropriate. You can then, if necessary, also cancel your no longer needed return sailing without any penalty. 

Ed. 

Nice idea, but I doubt commercially viable. If you open up people's ability to cancel at no charge 7 days before that allows many more to make last minute changes of plan and limits the time a business would have to recuperate funds they thought they were going to get but didn't. They've already ordered onboard supplies and have staff on the rota in anticipation of the loads.  It would make financial planning and forecasting a nightmare - not impossible. The business would also need to build up a level of contingency (we can all hypothesise at the moment about how much of one there may or may not be). Ultimately, all this increases costs and that gets passed on to the customer.

Notwithstanding the extreme circumstances we are in - the normal solution to protect the customer in all this is for the customer to have Travel Insurance. 
 

4 hours ago, wortley said:

When I go away I just buy a ticket from Plymouth few days in advance - whether it's a train to my daughter in Birmingham, a National Express coach to London, or a ferry to Roscoff. It doesn't seem to be a problem to me. I can always get the transport.

Other folk seem to want pay deposits months and months in advance for that sort of travel, and now they have vouchers for 2021 or 2022. Either way the company is holding the money which the customers paid willingly in the first place. 

I can't manage to plan so far ahead, but at least I am not caught up in this dispute. 

It's all down to personal preference and need - since the invention of yield management, those who can book early will often (but not always) find it will save money as opposed to the concerns around the availability of what they're booking.

Some examples based around plane tickets to Oz I've booked.

750 quid - almost a year in advance to have a holiday with family, with a premium airline
800 quid - 3 months in advance to go and see family who had been ill, with a less premium airline 
1,700 quid - 2 days before travel, for a funeral (and because nobody involved fancied Air India)

 

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2 hours ago, IanN said:

I know I am a bit of a cynic but as the cancellations are being caused by a virus that kills people vouchers are being issued by a lot of companies. Are they working an a premise that a percentage of the people will not live to collect.

No I think rather they suspect that if they give the money back they'll never see it again! The mortality rate of the illness was never going to make no refunds a benefit for them in cash terms, the real driver I think is the fear of massive structural changes in the travel business - especailly until travel insurance underwriters re-rate various risks and governments re-calculate the economic impacts of reciprocal medical coverage. An essential will be a clear commitment from governments about when and why they will issue travel advice. 

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6 hours ago, Gareth said:

Technical question about the vouchers.  If the original booking, made by credit card, is cancelled by BF, vouchers issued, and then those vouchers are used to make a new booking, is the new booking protected by the credit card that was used to make the original one?

No.

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6 minutes ago, Seashore said:

No.

Thanks.  Ok, folllow-up question.  If a new booking is made using a combination of credit card and voucher, is the credit card protection limited to just the portion of the booking made by the card?

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Just now, Gareth said:

Thanks.  Ok, folllow-up question.  If a new booking is made using a combination of credit card and voucher, is the credit card protection limited to just the portion of the booking made by the card?

Yes. Provided it is a credit card and for a transaction of at least £100.

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