Posts Tagged ‘Excessive Charges’

Blackpool Illuminations – It’s Cheaper by car

October 18th, 2008 No comments

While looking at the details for Blackpool Illuminations, the guide has an advert for Transpennine Express, claiming a fare for Manchester to Blackpool of only £4 (£8 for the family as the children go free). Hmmm…. not bad, that’s worth considering as an alternative to driving, except for one thing:

That fare is not available!

In reality, the cheapest return for two adults is £25.40, the cheapest single is £25.20, over three times the advertised price.

Even from our local station, Blackrod, it is still £21 return for two adults. Compare that to just under £9 of fuel (even at today’s prices) for a return trip by car, and the train represents a premium of 133% over the car.

When you also consider the reduced flexibility of the rail timetable, and the fact that it would drop us off a couple of miles from where we want to be, the car wins hands down, yet again.

While I was on the Transpennine Express site, they were also advertising Manchester-Glasgow fares for £10 each way, so at a cost of £40 return for two adults, I was interested, especially after my last look at using rail to get to Glasgow, but sadly, the truth is once again different – it still costs a minimum of £120 return for two adults.

How are they allowed to advertise these fares when they are obviously extremely limited?

They even have the cheek to claim that ‘It’s quicker, cheaper, more direct, and less hassle than any other way.’ That’s definitely not the case for more than one person. Even for one person, it is still more expensive and unless the stations are adjacent to your house and destination, then ‘direct’ does not enter into it.

Sky+ offer not so attractive

September 9th, 2008 No comments

I’ve received a flyer from Sky to upgrade to their Sky HD box. The outside of the flyer looks promising:

Sky HD

Seventy five quid – not bad and possibly a price-point at which it’s worth upgrading, but once you open up the mailshot they hit you with the sting: £60 ‘set-up’ fee.

Now when I moved house, I had no problem unplugging at the old address and plugging in at the new address. The only difference with an upgrade to a HD box will be a registration stage – pressing a couple of buttons. If it’s possible to set up a home broadband router by yourself, why can’t Sky do the same? Also, why does it cost sixty quid, especially when new customers get it for thirty quid (another flyer arrived at the same time, asking me to introduce a friend).

They even have the cheek to say:

Sky HD

…but we don’t think you deserve to be rewarded for your loyalty.”

So, since the setup fee is non-optional, the real price that Sky should print is £135, but if you add on the ten pound extra per month for HD, the total cost of ownership for the first twelve months (on top of your normal, ever increasing, Sky subscription) is £255, a far cry from the headline £75.

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

Ridiculous Train Fares

May 20th, 2008 No comments

We’re off up to Glasgow next month. Since we’re going without the children we thought we’d try going by train instead, that was until we saw the price.

By car it is a 400 mile round trip which, even with current silly diesel prices at £1.20/litre, would cost around £45.

By comparison, the cost of a two return so-called ‘saver’ rail tickets is £120! Note that this is not some last minute booking here, the trip is over a month away and the cheapest ‘advance saver’ available is £120.

It’s a no-brainer – the car wins hands down. When you add the cost of taxis to and from Glasgow Station, it means that we could drive to Glasgow and back three times and still be cheaper.

The Savings from using Mail Order

November 26th, 2007 No comments

Cross DowelYou may recognise the picture on the right. It is called a ‘cross dowel’ and is used together with a screw to fasten furniture panels together.
B&Q stock these, however, they want £4.08 for a bag of five. That’s just over 81p each. That may not seem a lot until you compare that to Screwfix who are selling bags of fifty for £1.80. (a little over 3.5p each) Even if you had to pay the £5 P&P on Screwfix, that’s still only 13.5p.
Interestingly, Screwfix and B&Q are sister companies, both being owned by Kingfisher. I would expect a higher price at retail premises over mail order but I cannot believe that the difference is due solely to the cost of the retail premises.

As always, it pays to shop around.

Harveys Furniture Delivery Charges

January 29th, 2007 9 comments

While looking for a 3-piece suite this weekend we visited a Harveys Furniture store, and while we didn’t see a suite we liked, we did see a nest of tables that we did for GBP 179 less 10% (~ GBP 160). However, when we asked for one we were told that they had to be ordered on an 8-10 week lead time. Don’t they have any in stock, whether at the store or a regional warehouse?

The bombshell, however, was that the delivery charge was GBP 47.50!! That represents almost 30% of the cost of the table, just for delivering an item I didn’t even want delivered in the first place – I could take it home in the car. We couldn’t believe our ears.

Apparently it’s a fixed charge, whatever the size of the order, but that’s no use if you just want a small table. We asked if they could have it delivered to the store and we would pick it up from there. “Sorry sir, we can’t do that”.

So basically, Harveys lost a sale for 160 quid because they are inflexible.

Is it any wonder that the likes of Ikea are so popular, when you can turn up and go home with the furniture you just paid for.

Update: 2nd Feb

I left a message on Harvey’s website regarding the above, and today received a reply which contained the following:

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your email the content of which has been noted, unfortunately you have not stated the invoice number that your goods were ordered on nor the branch the order was placed with, and we are unable to locate your details.

If you would be able to forward the relevant information, we will be able to continue with the query and pass the details to the relevant person.

What?! I didn’t place an order! Didn’t you read the message? What a Farce!

Ironically, the message concludes with:

Assuring you of our best intentions at all times.

I very much doubt that.

Petlog rip-off charges

January 18th, 2007 11 comments

We have recently moved house, and obviously needed to inform several organisations about our new address. For the most part, you get no confirmation until the next bill or correspondence arrives. Some even send a nice letter saying:

Thank you for taking the time to inform us of your updated details

except one: Petlog.

For those who don’t know, when you have a cat or dog, you can have it ‘chipped’, i.e. a small device, the size of a grain of rice, is inserted under the skin at the nape of the animal’s neck. Each chip has a unique serial number. Petlog (part of the Kennel Club) hold a database of these chips, referencing the id to your address should your pet ever be lost.

Petlog Demand LetterWe informed Petlog of the new address and the reply was:

Thank you for your revised details. In order to action this request, we require a payment of £7.50

What?! No-one else has asked for payment. Cheeky *******!

I have sent a letter in reply:

4a Alton House Office Park
Gatehouse Way
HP19 8XU

18th January 2007

Dear Sirs

Re: Change of Address: chip number xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

We refer to your letter of 16th January.

We must point out that in moving house, we have informed more than fifty companies and organisations, both large and small, and Petlog is the only one to have the audacity to demand a payment for thirty seconds of keyboard work.

By the time you had written your letter, you could have changed the address on your database. In fact in writing your letter you have actually typed our new address. This time could have been far better spent typing it into the database.

The amount is not even nominal. Let’s be generous and say it takes two minutes to change the address: are you seriously suggesting it costs you £225 an hour to employ clerical staff, or are you employing high court barristers? Maybe your office processes are inefficient and require serious scrutiny.

My guess, however, is that it is really a ploy to sell your ‘petlog+’ package with ‘added extras’ which represent very little value to us:

‘Free’ changes of address Having just moved house, we are unlikely to move again before the cat dies, so no value there. Especially as everyone else does it for free.

Add holiday travel details When we go away, the cat is in the cattery, we give our details to them, again no value.

Lost Pet Posters I am perfectly capable of producing my own posters, probably to a much higher quality.

The extortionate charge of £7.50 cannot be justified in any way. You don’t even include a reply paid envelope. You are playing on the emotional relationship between a pet and its owner.

I guess being part of the kennel club, you are aiming your service at those with pedigree dogs and cats costing hundreds or even thousands of pounds, however, we are talking here about a non-pedigree domestic cat with a purchase value of zero.

As far as I’m concerned, I paid enough for your service when the chip was fitted.

Yours faithfully

UPDATE: 23rd April

Well, it’s over three months later and no reply from Petlog

Booking Fee Rip-off

September 10th, 2004 No comments

It costs no more to process a booking for 100 tickets than it does for 1 ticket.

How then can ticket agencies like Ticketmaster justify imposing a booking fee PER TICKET and then have the cheek to add a separate fee for postage? The word profiteering springs to mind.