Complaint: Club Voyage rip-off

on 11 January 2019 about Brittany Ferries in category Public Transport

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My complaint:

I have travelled regularly with Brittany Ferries on their Portsmouth to Spain routes, and having seen the misleading publicity which they propagate decided to join their Club Voyage (CV) scheme for Spain. The cost for this is a Registration fee £105, plus an annual fee of £125 a total of £230. However, once joining you then find that they have lots of disadvantageous terms (only for the consumer, not for them) and exclusions in the small print of their CV agreement for the Spanish crossings; for example on Spanish crossings you do not get any discount on the cabins; you do not get any discounts on their Economie ferries, and you soon find that the discounts which you do actually get amount to very little, and unless you make somewhere around 8 crossings per annum you do not make any significant overall savings after taking the £230 up-front cost into account. I thus therefore decided not to continue my membership, when I discovered what a rip-off this scheme is.

Before I did cease my CV membership however I had made bookings for 3 more crossings leaving after my CV membership would then cease. As I was still a CV member at the time of booking these crossings I received the discount on those crossings. Suddenly after I had decided not to renew membership of the CV scheme I received a revised invoice from Brittany Ferries for the last two crossings yet to be made, stating that the discount which I had been given on the last two crossings would be retrospectively re-charged to me, although I had made those bookings whilst still a CV member, and was thus entitled to the discount. They now want to make a retrospective additional charge of £111.00.

I then wrote to make a formal complaint because I believed that they were contravening the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts legislation of both the UK and of the EU. The correspondence dragged on and on and I eventually contacted their John Napton (director UK Ireland) who claimed that this retrospective surcharge was not a contravention of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts legislation of both the UK and of the EU; but that they assumed in good faith that a customer would renew their CV membership. I argued that this was nonsense because the term in their contract which they were attempting to rely upon was to their advantage only, not to a customer, and that it had not been negotiated with me individually prior to the contract, but instead had been hidden in small print.

They have refused to negotiate any further and it seems that the only option a consumer has is to take them to court for contravention of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts legislation of both the UK and of the EU.

The situation is made more farcical by the fact that on the last return crossing which I made, although I had booked this whilst still a CV member, the return crossing was made after my CV membership had ceased, and they did not attempt to make any retrospective surcharge for that. They are only attempting to make a retrospective surcharge for the next return crossing which I booked whilst still a CV member.

I would warn any other customers considering Club Voyage membership with Brittany Ferries to read all of the small print very carefully before joining, and you will find (as I did the hard way) that this scheme is a rip-off and not worth wasting your money on for Spanish crossings.

Desired solution:

For Brittany Ferries to apologise for contravening existing legislation, and for them to withdraw their threat of an unjustified retrospective surcharge on my existing booking; for them to issue a new corrected invoice and ticket for what will now be my last ever trip with them.

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