/ Travel & Leisure

Shakespeare in another language? Thanks for telling me

When a promotional email from Lastminute.com landed in my inbox advertising a 24hr theatre ticket sale, I just couldn’t resist. Little did I know that the play would not be in English…

With international guests coming to visit me, I thought I’d snap up some discounted tickets to an iconic London theatre. I purchased the tickets and received my booking confirmation email – nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary.

Yet, after finally making it to our seats on a cold and wet Saturday evening, we soon discovered that the play was not being performed in English!

The language of a performance seems like quite a crucial bit of information. I double checked my confirmation email but it made no mention of this fact. We left the play early, as did a few others who also mentioned that they too believed they had never been informed of the language difference.

Where’s theatre ticket refund?

I called Lastminute.com on Monday morning – it told me that I had to email as the company didn’t deal with complaints over the phone. I emailed. The reply told me that the theatre wouldn’t refund my tickets, and since Lastminute.com was only a third-party agent it apparently wasn’t responsible either. Obviously, as a Which? employee, I wasn’t going to stand for this.

My complaint was with Lastminute.com and I felt that it had misled me. Have you ever been stumped by a company apparently using the excuse of a ‘third-party agent’ to avoid taking responsibility?

Unfortunately for me, the crucial piece of evidence – the original promotional email – was missing. I had deleted the email after completing the booking, but I still had a link to the promotional page on Lastminute.com. However, since the deal was a 24-hour promotion, the webpage contained temporary cookies that had been deactivated.

Despite repeated requests, Lastminute.com told me it could not provide me with the original promotional email, nor the webpage that had talked about the deal.

The burden of proof is on you

Six weeks and countless emails later, Lastminute.com continues to insist that the promotional email stated that the performance wasn’t in English. I say it didn’t, they say it did. I’m left with no other choice except to take the matter to the Small Claims Court or let it go.

It doesn’t seem fair that the entire burden of responsibility is placed on the consumer. It’s not practical to take screen grabs of every site and link that I purchase tickets through. Have you ever suffered any issues with buying through intermediary sites like Lastminute.com? Was their customer service up to scratch?


I usually save information on web pages as a pdf in case there is a problem. So far there has not been, but it is fascinating to see some of the minor changes that sometimes occur.

My advice is to call again and hope that you manage to speak to someone helpful. Or phone them and start speaking in a foreign language. 🙂

I am intrigued to know what language was used for the play, which one it was, and why it was not performed in English.

I think you should take this to the court and demand full disclosure of all relevant documents and images as they are material to your decision and to their defence. If Lastminute had nothing to hide they would have revealed the e-mail if only to shut you up. I can’t believe someone else hasn’t got a specimen of the e-mail lying in a folder somewhere in their e-mail system.

“The language I have learn’d these forty years, my native English, now I must forego” [spoken by Mowbray Duke of Norfolk to King Richard II – in a somewhat different context of course].

Phil says:
6 August 2012

I’ve known some people have the same problem with opera.

At a guess this play was one of The Globe theatre’s much publicised Cultural Olympiad; performing each of Shakespeare’s play in a different language.

Edel McCurdy says:
9 August 2012

I’m experiencing a similar issue with Lastminute.com, a group of 10 of us went to Chicago in Garrick Theatre where there were mice running freely in the theatre, I’ve contacted last minute who accept no responsibility and will not compensate us, they have also tried to push me off to an e-mail address of the theatre representative using the ‘third party’ excuse!
If anyone can help on what my rights are I’d appreciate it

We were sitting in a pub just two minutes away from Westminster Abbey recently when a few mice ran round the wainscotting. I pointed it out to a member of staff but their response was to the effect that they know, they can’t do anything about it, and that most old buildings in central London have this feature. Enjoy!

just received an email from lastminute.com that the flights i booked for my girlfriend to see her family in canada at christmas are being cancelled by them due to a change in flight schedule (however there is no change in flight schedule as i have contacted the airline).

I cant afford to rebook another flight now due to increased prices. I expect lastminute.com to honour the original booking.

That’s awful re the Shakespeare. In an event like that I would have just put my wife on the phone – I’d be frightened of my Wife on the phone – she just won’t stop until things are resolved. Recently I bought a murder mystery night on one of these Groupon type sites. Because it was an occasion I booked a night at the same hotel the murder mystery evening was to be at. I got a coupon through email for the evening saying that I had to call to confirm our booking. The advert was for a specific even date so a couple of days before the evening I called to confirm only to be told that I was too late and I should have called to confirm earlier. Nowhere was there any info that gave any timeline or time limit to confirm. I was livid but after a no one wanted to take the blame I gave up, nearly £200 worse off. My Wife got on the phone and just nagged an nagged………and nagged and was quite awful to them and she got a full refund for the hotel room which they were adamant with me they weren’t going to do. We never got our refund from the Groupon type site but that was only £19.

My advice is, just don’t let up and be bloody awful to them. They may cave in just to get you off the phone.

Someone help! Earlier tonight I had booked a hotel for 47 euro..it was cheap so I jumped at it. I booked it with last minute .com and was in a hurry earlier and booked for tonight instead of tomoro night. I cannot make tonight. Anyway,I tried to change this,bit can’t find a complaint page on d website nor did I receive an email to confirm my booking.. When I called I got an answering machine and that I can ring at 8am. Also when I booked it instead of only taking 47 euro it took 59. I’m stressed and need advice as it’s a Xmas present and needed it sorted. Can anyone help me

My theatre ticket and meal package was cancelled by Last minute because the theatre had brought forward the finish date. It is no exaggeration to say that on the 3 occasions I managed to get to speak to somebody in a call centre I was cut off twice, the first occasion after 8 mins the second after 15 mins, on the third time of calling I asked to be put through to a UK call centre, the person was not happy about this, he said he would put me through to a manager 26 mins and 34 seconds Iater and no manager I hung up, never known such a frustrating company to deal with, will not bother trying to re-book now.

Julian says:
16 July 2013

Well i booked a flight with Last minute.com througfh their call centre. The price was 1347£ as I confirmed when i gave my card number. When the invoice came through it said £1640. The extra £293 is because the price must have gone up whilst they were confirming it.

Surely I dont have to pay the exra ? After all this isnt what we agreed.

I find the business practice of Last minute to be sharp as when you complian you get no where. Basically just avoid…

Lee Wickens says:
20 October 2014

I think they are a terrible company, I booked a hotel for me, my pregnant wife and 1 years old and they booked us into a hotel for two only. tried to call but they could not take my call at that time (unless i was booking another break) Ruined the holiday (having no hotel) Please also (if this happens to you) forget about normal customer service. They do not care once you have paid. The complaints department just blame you and the hotel and suggest you are lying, which isn’t helpful, they keep you on hold for a long time and, well that’s enough, i am having to take them to either small claims court or ABTA.

Cheryl says:
1 November 2014

Does anyone know how to complain to last minute.com has when I rung up the uk one they said I have to ring a Spanish number to complain even though booked in uk for a uk hotel x

Livonne Bonner says:
5 November 2014

Furious! Last week I contacted Lastmin.com for theatre ticket to take my daughter to see the Lion King. It was quickly established that there were no available spaces that week, however, the operator kindly suggested tickets for the following week- more fool me 🙁 because upon receipt of the confirmation email, I did not feel any reason to check the date. Checked the date on the day of performance and realized the error- it was not booked for a further 3 weeks later !!

Contacted Lastmin.com and they have assured me that the telephone recording will be checked but this can take between 24-48hrs!! Their only resolution being that I book another set of tickets and if investigations prove me right, hear this “It MIGHT be refunded” … Not happy at all 🙁 How to explain this my little girl * sighs … Book through Lastmin.com- never again!!

Munni says:
3 December 2014

Lastminute.com refuse to refund/amend my theatre and meal booking for Thriller and Clcok jack as I booked for planet hollywood and their system messed up and booked me at the wrong restaurant. Since I am vege I dont really want to eat at chicken resturant with only 1 meal option for a me. Send so many emails to avail! I wish they could change the booking or just refund me!!!

Lee Fawcet says:
18 December 2014

Not Happy at all, Booked Theatre tickets for my daughters birthday 27th Dec and have done in previous years with no problems. checked the email without thinking much of it today.
the show was on 26th Nov, so i phone customer relations (Mr Kuldip) and he explains tickets are non-refundable and its my mistake. no compassion and clearly dont care.
I explain that is my daughters birthday and previous bookings prove thats the date i buy tickets.
And am told i have made the error, i know that i have not and looking at this post am not the only one.
Only mistake i made was not checking the tickets in a company i thought i could trust, that could not give two hoots when there is a problem.

Sally Norton says:
8 January 2015

Last night my daughter and I traveled from Kent hoping to see the Cats Musical in London.
When we tried to collect our tickets which were booked in November for tonight the 7th January they could not find them, so we showed Last minute’s email with booking ref and the date shown for the performance the 7th Jan.
The man at the booking office said they were for yesterday and handed us the tickets.
He also stated that this had happened to a few other people and we should contact Last minute.com.
So we came away not seeing the show.
Now Last minute refuse to give us a refund or more tickets.

zohra Mennaceur says:
8 January 2015

the exact same thing happened to me and my family last night and having contacted last minuite they don’t seem very interested. Have you had any luck??

Hi both, if you have your order confirmation email showing you had been told the wrong date, you should be able to argue for a refund from Last Minute.

You may find this page on our Consumer Rights website useful: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/action/how-to-complain-if-your-tickets-are-not-what-you-ordered

And this template letter to complain: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/action/letter-to-complain-about-tickets-that-are-not-what-you-ordered

Alan Phillips says:
10 February 2015

I wonder has anyone else had this issue – I booked a hotel recently with last minute.com – the booking confirmation took all of 16 mins to arrive to my gmail – with the long delay I booked again (thinking the first booking had failed) but soon after noticed two confirmations – I complained & traded emails back & forth but all to no avail.
Lastminute.com insisted on charging for both bookings & fully acknowledged the long delay.

I would love to know is there a duty on the booking agent to provide a timely confirmation? when I book with other sites (e.g booking.com) confirmation is usually received within 30 seconds !

Oh no, that’s not good Alan! Sorry to hear about that. It’s usually the rule of thumb when booking through an agency, such as LastMinute.com, you should get an email confirmation within 48 hours. Even if you do, it’s always wise to contact the hotel directly a few days later to confirm the reservation. I’m certain you’ll find this Which? conversation article useful, too:


Lennyg says:
20 February 2015

Interesting theme here regarding theatre tickets. We have just returned from London and went to see the Lion King show on Wednesday. We purchased “top price stalls/royal circle” seats online after a phone conversation with Lastminute CS who told us these seats were in rows F-P. You’ve guessed it, we were in Row Z with tickets that were the cheapest the theatre sold so NOT the “top price” as adverstised and confirmed in our booking. I tried to call their Customer service from the theatre but was left on hold for 10 minutes by which time it was too late to do anything about it.

Surely if I have a confirmation that says we have purchased top price tickets and we are given the cheapest available we have some sort of case?

Hi Lenny, it’s shocking to hear that the theatre gave you poor seats when you paid top prices. Have you taken a look at our consumer rights page about complaining if the tickets you’ve ordered aren’t what you ordered (Alex posted it above, too):


Lennyg says:
6 March 2015

An hour and a half phone call with lastminute resulted in them saying that their classification of top price is taken from a website called “theatremonkey.com” NOT from the theatre that sells the tickets – this company, according to the agent I spoke to is a subsidiary of lastminute, so in effect, they use their own company to define what is a “top price” ticket.

I asked to escalate the issue but was told that I couldn’t.

I find I am having a problem with this Conversation as it is very apparent that Last-Minute have some very serious problems in providing an adequate service. Whilst Conversations is open to anyone I am sure some of the people here may well be Which? subscribers and even possibly shareholders in the Consumers’ Association that own Which?.

I want to see some serious action such as asking for a comment from Last Minute. And that is just the start because I have absolutely no doubt they will provide statistics which will “prove” the error rate is miniscule. Want we need to know is how they recover the miinscule number of errors in a satisfactory manner.

This company looks to be a complete shambles. The only thing I can say in mitigation is that perhaps peoples expectations of what can be accomplished – lead on by the company’s website – is too trusting. But thank you to everyone who writes here a s a warning to others.

Varsha says:
26 February 2015

Ripoff policies once you need to make any alterations or changes. Cannot understand how can they charged administration charge of £45 per passenger even though its all on one order number booking. Shameful ripoff. Avoid at all costs for air tickets.