Virgin Trains East Coast First Class service

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by MidnightFlyer, 16 Apr 2011.

  1. marks87

    marks87 Established Member

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    I stick by what I say. If this were to be tested in the courts, I'm confident VTEC would win.

    My analogy was also entirely valid. Just because you don't agree with it doesn't mean there is a "lack of understanding".

    The VTEC T&Cs state that at times there might not be any food available.

    https://www.virgintrainseastcoast.c...nce/first-class/complimentary-food-and-drink/

    Near the bottom:
    That's no different to the time-restriction T&Cs on Railcards - hidden away from the draw-you-in headline, but place conditions on your purchase.

    EDIT: in fact, compared to some T&Cs, those are actually quite large and visible.
     
    Last edited: 9 Oct 2017
  2. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    I seem to remember there was a similar court case where a hotel chain was offering free breakfasts with a night's stay which they then did not provide on one occasion and refused to compensate the customer on the basis that it was free. They didn't win that!
     
  3. TT-ONR-NRN

    TT-ONR-NRN Member

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    Yes but did they say it wasn’t guaranteed?
     
  4. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    It's probably about as different as it could be.

    Particularly because those conditions are not part of the Conditions of Travel and are not referenced anywhere else in the booking process or on promotional material. You don't even agree to those when you buy a ticket, you are merely told that there is 'free food'.
     
  5. TT-ONR-NRN

    TT-ONR-NRN Member

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    It is a shame though, when you can’t have the food advertised on the menus. It is getting hopes up and dashing them, and people have spent lots of money too! I would definitely consider first class purely for a Sirloin Steak with sautéed potatoes and braised vegetables, following by pear tart!
     
  6. marks87

    marks87 Established Member

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    And what were the terms and conditions? Without knowing those, the comparison is pointless.

    Free food, subject to availability. Per the T&Cs of the offer. Just like you have T&Cs when buying a Railcard.
     
    Last edited: 9 Oct 2017
  7. TT-ONR-NRN

    TT-ONR-NRN Member

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    Be nice if they offered starters too...
     
  8. ModernRailways

    ModernRailways Established Member

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    It wouldn't reach court. And if it did that would be because the Credit Card company would be behind the consumer rather than the company.

    I've been in a call with American Express about an issue I've been having and whilst it was being sorted I asked what they thought would be able to be done in this case, and there response was if nothing was offered then we would most likely side with [the consumer], but if something was offered then [they'd] have to look into it more deeply looking at the cost of the ticket difference between standard and first.

    The analogy would be better if it was something like 'Travel anytime' being advertised then in the small print it saying 'Travel after XXXX Monday-Saturday, and anytime on Sunday'. It's misleading and is false advertising.

    VTEC are advertising complimentary food for first class passengers, then in some cases not giving anything. If it's not for a valid reason and is just the current reasoning (staff shortage) then it's not a valid argument and they have lied in their advertising. 'Subject to availability' would arguably mean 'we may run out' not 'we won't offer anything at all'.
     
  9. TT-ONR-NRN

    TT-ONR-NRN Member

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  10. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    This has been pointed out to you about five times now, so I'm going to point it out once more and then that's it, I think there's a need to get back to actually discussing the onboard food (or rather the lack of it): if you buy a railcard you are given a copy of the terms and conditions and told you must agree to them in order to buy it. If you buy a VTEC First Class ticket, you do not agree to these (or any other) special conditions. The only relevant conditions are the NRCoT and any website conditions if you use a website. If you take them up on the basis of their posters at stations or adverts on billboards, there are no special conditions listed. You are merely told there is free food if you are in First Class. None of these things are similar to purchasing a railcard.
     
  11. marks87

    marks87 Established Member

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    The advertising is "Buy a railcard and save 1/3 on rail and tube fares" and "1/3 off rail fares for anyone aged 16-25". If I were a student needing to travel at peak times, nowhere in the headline advertising does it say I can't use it then (for AM journeys costing <£12).

    That's the point being argued about VTEC's offering: you have the headline, but you also need to read the small print. That's the analogy.

    I could have picked absolutely anything that has small print attached to it. I thought (seemingly naively) that using a rail-based analogy would actually be understood on a rail forum.

    But apparently not.
    I was wrong in saying it's "subject to availability". The actual wording is simply "on very rare occasions, we may not have any complimentary food and drink available in First Class". That is sufficient to indemnify them against any potential claim for not providing it.
     
  12. TT-ONR-NRN

    TT-ONR-NRN Member

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    I don’t understand what railcard have to do with anything
     
  13. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    Neither do I. I don't think anybody apart from marks87 does either.
     
  14. marks87

    marks87 Established Member

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    That's not really my fault, is it? It's a perfectly clear and valid analogy related to needing to read the small print (which, incidentally, I was never once provided with in 10 years of buying 16-25/YP railcards; the only reason I knew peak travel wasn't permitted was because certain fares on certain trains weren't available when trying to book tickets online).

    Anyway, the original point was that a poster said they "will" be compensated if there's no First Class food on offer when they make their trip. Fundamentally, they won't be, unless VTEC want to make a goodwill gesture.

    It's as simple as that and my last word on the matter.
     
  15. TT-ONR-NRN

    TT-ONR-NRN Member

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  16. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It doesn't have anything to do with it. It's one of the poorest analogies I've heard.

    Anyway back on the subject of food, it sounds from your other posts that your expectations may be rather different to the actuall offering! Only a few trains offer an actual "meal" and if you want a fine dining experience you need to do a Railtour (selecting Premier Dining) or, for the closest thing to fine dining on a National Rail service, get yourself on the ATW Premier Service (aka "Gerald of Wales" and often called the "WAG (Welsh Assembly Government) Express", but these are of course subjects for other threads.
     
  17. mark-h

    mark-h Member

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    The Advertising Standards Authority covers websites. It may be worth submitting a complaint to them.
     
  18. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    If I might be brave/silly enough to mention T's and C's briefly again for a minute? The bit of them that applies to the actual topic of this thread is the parra stating OCCasionally things might go wrong. I wonder if we should ask them to alter this to Occasionally you may get what you thought you were getting when you signed up online and on the day of your journey walked streight past the invitingly open doors of Sainsburys with its Pizza counter, Hot food to go a fridge full of yummy sarnys, and salads onto your train to be bluntly informed that all a top celeb sheff endorsed menu can offer you is a saussage roll and a mass produced biscuite?

    Slightly off topic the crew of a Glasgow bound Pendo I joined yesturday were having a little joke with an FC customer who came to the shop in search of rassions. He adopted a begging what am I actualy allowed to have approach and was informed that they were opperating the full!!!advertised at seat service in first today and you can have what you want.

    The customer got the joke and said he wasnt used to iether running on time or getting his lunch! Another thing opperating on that train yesturday was a standard trolley (remember them)? Which did 2 passes through the train during the 1h05 I was on it and which I would have used had it carried decafinated coffee, something they said they would start doing as they are in taking feedback mode just now.
     
  19. Chrism20

    Chrism20 Member

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    There was one with Holiday Inn Express where they were advertising free/complimentary breakfasts.

    The complainant (Either Premier Inn or Travelodge IIRC) argued that the breakfast was part of the package as you had to purchase a room in order to avail yourself of the free/complimentary breakfast, you could not just walk in off the street and get it for nothing.

    The complaint was upheld in favour of the complainant.

    Now back to VTEC. You cannot avail yourself of any complimentary items unless you are in possession of a First Class ticket so yes the precedent is well and truly there for the free/complimentary element of the service as you must purchase a ticket, you cannot simply walk up and say I’ll have a sausage roll and a can of coke without parting with cash first.

    That of course doesn’t cover the subject to availability issue but if you were to go to the advertising authorities with dates/times where the offering that is advertised is significantly reduced on a continual basis I have absolutely no doubt they would look at it and would view it in conjunction with the above ruling.
     
  20. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

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    Subject to availability is there for reasons outside of one's control, on an occasional basis. If the ECML is up the spout, for instance.

    It isn't there as a shrug if you systematically and deliberately do not provide a service, which appears to be becoming the case on VTEC.

    You can't promise something and routinely hide behind small print.

    The issue, of course, will be proving VTEC's systematic failure isn't a "one off outside of their control".
     
  21. Goldfish62

    Goldfish62 Established Member

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    The court would rule on what constituted "occasional" or "very rare". It would consider whether the frequency of the occurrences of non availability could be considered reasonable. Just because something is written in Ts&Cs it doesn't mean that it would automatically survive a legal challenge. That's why we have case law.
     
  22. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    Indeed the case, particularly given the inaccessibility of the Terms & Conditions. Having one of these which states "You can pay extra for additional services, but if we don't provide them, tough bananas" generally doesn't get you very far in court.
     

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