/ Money, Travel & Leisure

‘£80 for two tickets to see Skyfall?’ Vue cannot be serious

Skyfall poster

I was keen to see the new James Bond film, Skyfall, on its opening weekend. But when I went to book tickets with Vue cinema, I had an experience that left me shaken and stirred.

My nearest cinema just so happens to be a Vue, so as I logged on to its website on Sunday morning I started making my way through the ticket booking process only for the site to crash as my payment was being verified.

A message appeared telling me to try again. So I did, only for the same thing to happen. Annoyed, I tried yet again but all of the tickets for my chosen showing had now gone. Now anxious, I tried for a later screening, only for the site to crash again as my card details were being verified for the third time.

You only pay twice… or thrice in my case

I didn’t want to try another day, so I booked tickets for a screening at an Odeon cinema instead. It was only when I checked for the confirmation email that I discovered Vue had actually charged me on each of the three occasions my payment had supposedly failed.

As the tickets weren’t cheap – between £11.80 and £12.85 plus £1.50 booking fees – that amounted to £79.50. ‘What in the living daylights is going on?’ I thought. So I picked up my phone and called Vue’s customer service line.

Licence to kill… time

I was told by an automated voice that the line was busy, that I was 128th in a queue, and that it could take more than an hour for my call to be answered. Tempted to hang up on the 10p-per-minute line straight away, I decided I had to speak to someone as soon as possible in order to stand the best chance of getting a refund.

So I waited. And waited. After one hour and 10 minutes, the automated voice informed me that instead of being at the dizzy heights of number 63 in the queue, I was actually now back at number 78. In a fit of anger I hung up, grabbed my coat and made the two mile journey to my nearest Vue.

The aim’s refund, full refund

When I arrived and explained what had happened, the manager was understanding, sympathetic, apologetic and didn’t quibble when I asked for all of my money back.

It turns out that Vue’s website had struggled under the pressure of so many people trying to book tickets for Skyfall. That will provide little quantum of solace for those who have been left out of pocket and had to waste the best part of a day chasing their money.

Vue estimates that 2% of its customers were affected, but told us it will refund all duplicate bookings. Still, if you’re thinking about buying tickets to the new James Bond film (by the way it’s action-packed, funny and stunningly shot) I hope your booking experience is, unlike mine, 00-heaven.

Did you pay more than once for your Vue cinema tickets at the weekend? Have you managed to get a refund?

Comments
Rebecca says:
23 December 2019

Still waiting for refund went to Vue cinema manager unable to refund ! Gave him my details for him toget in touch with customer service as I thought he would have more clout not a dicky bird so emailed customer service still nothing will be off again not a happy bunny.

Sheikh says:
24 February 2020

on the 23rd of Feb i went to see The Gentlemen and turned out i have been charged 3 times for the same ticket and the money left my account the same moment. I went to speak with the staff and they said i need to call Vue refund help line. I have been trying to get in touch with someone but i have been unsuccessful at my attempt.

Sara Jennings says:
26 August 2020

I find my local Vue Cinema in Stroud friendly and well kept. No complaints about the cinema experience when I actually get there but the online booking system is a disgrace. I rarely ever manage to book tickets for a Vue cinema without hassle. On several occasions, I have been forced to call Customer Services to get help to delete seats from my booking that I did not want and had not selected (WHY does the online booking form start by deciding how many seats I want and selecting them for me, so that I have to delete them before I start? WHY??). Today, I de-selected the unwanted seats, selected the ones I wanted, went to pay, found the unwanted seats were back on the payment form, went back, de-selected them again, went to pay – only to find that the booking had crashed. Logged out, went through the whole rigmarole again. Got to the pay page. It crashed. Again. Note to the wise, Vue Cinemas: a cheery little error notice that makes no apology, but announces ‘Houston, we have a problem’ IS NOT HELPFUL. The system wanted me to try later. I left it several hours, and tried later. Vue Cinema (and Houston, apparently) STILL have a problem. The Customer Services number is now closed. I have a problem because I have to be at work tomorrow, and cannot call Customer Services during the day. Vue Cinemas have lost my good will. They may well lose my booking. I will go to other cinemas elsewhere – to places where the Box Office system can actually sell me tickets that I want. I have worked in Box Offices, and it is not that difficult to get right. Sort this out, Vue Cinemas – word of mouth is a powerful tool – and bad press gets around very quickly, especially if you are hoping to win back audiences after lock-down.

Paul Coller says:
9 September 2020

Trying book two recliner seats on website, £21.98, able to select seats, but when press “Review and pay”, screen the total price is £5.99 for one standard seat

Me too, a fortnight later. Doesn’t seem to matter what I select.