/ 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?


“As the tickets weren’t cheap – between £11.80 and £12.85 plus £1.50 booking fees ”
And our local independent cinema is charging half that price with no booking fees plus cheap refreshments.

neil says:
29 October 2012

Hi there – the same thing happened to me, but with 2 sets of 6 tickets… 2x transactions of £86…

At the London Stratford Westfield VUE cinema, the guy behind the info counter told me what had happened. When I asked him how quickly the money would go back on my card, he said 3 days. I explained this was a bit outrageous, and how can they expect to take £86 from someone’s account without permission, or subsequent compense. He had nothing to say, aside from refusing to direct me to a manager, and demanding I fill out a hand-written form, with my bank details.

I refused to do this, and am now continuously trying to get through on their phoneline, as yet to no avail.

It’s a bit disgusting to be honest, the utter lack of respect or attempt to right this significant screw-up. The fact that it’s up to the customer to pursue them, is pretty appalling.
Thus far, they and their employees have shown me nothing but contempt. The guy at the cinema was nothing short of rude.


Hi neil,

Wow, I thought I’d been left considerably out of pocket but your outlay was more than double mine.

I too was told that it could take between three and five days for the money to return to my account and, like you, felt angry about this. After all, if I can send the money at the push of a button, why should it take so long for it to return? However, I decided it was better than facing the prospect of calling the customer service line and waiting in such a lenghty queue again so I let the manager process the refund.

To be fair to Vue, when I checked my bank account yesterday I had already received a full refund so I can only assume managers are being told to trot out that line in a bid to cover themselves ‘just in case’.

If you have a complaint about staff attitude then I recommend you inform Vue either when you manage to speak to someone or via their website (they have an online form you can fill in).

In the meantime I hope you get your money back soon. Let me know how you get on.


Liking the puns David 🙂

I’ll be trying to book Cineworld tickets this week. Never had a problem in the past, have had many issues with Odeon and Vue though. To be avoided if possible

Carl Hubbers says:
30 October 2012

My tickets were £9.75 and the card handling fee was another £0.75.

Does anyone know why cinemas charge a “card handling fee” added on top of the ticket price? It’s not like they are the only business that are charged by banks to make transactions.


Hi Carl,

You may or may not be aware that Which? has been campaigning against excessive card surcharges and, last year, the government agreed to implement a ban on them by the end of this year. However, this summer we voiced our concerns that these plans are stalling: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2012/06/government-stalls-on-banning-rip-off-card-surcharges-289572/ You can rest assured we will be keeping a close eye on this but if you want to read more about the campaign in the meantime, follow this link: http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/personal-finance/card-surcharges/


Some small or independent cinemas use a 3rd party booking agent who handle all the online bookings – website, payment etc and thus charge extra.

Lee Masters says:
30 October 2012

I tried booking 2 tickets via the automated phone system. At end of entering card details I was put in a queue of 140. Hung up and tried again. Working in an environment involving card transactions I am fully aware that legally when inputing card details you still need to confirm that the transaction is to be confirmed, I never got to this point. As far as I am concerned the card details should therefore be null & void so think there is a legal minefield regarding unauthorised payments as the intended tranaction should have been cancelled. Trying to chase up 2 x £21.20


Hi Lee,

Were you charged £42.40 even though you hung up?

I’d appreciate your clarification.

deborah kendale says:
30 October 2012

This is spooky (it’s Halloween geddit!!) Exactly the same thing happened to me on Friday night and I booked with Cineworld instead after failing with Vue after two phantom bookings. Like you I only found out this error the next day when looking at my email for something else.

When I phoned the customer “helpline” and found out I was 120th in the queue we ended up travelling nearly 40 mile round trip to get a refund. The manager at the Vue cinema in Birmingham was not at all apologetic telling me it would take 10 days for the money to be refunded s the transaction had taken place the day before. He wasn’t interested in my husband’s idea that we should receive some reimbursement or recompense for our inconvenience.

customer service – null points.


I tried twice on Sunday to book Skyfall tickets and both times i got an error message while the card details were being processed, luckily i gave up as the money was still being taken out of my account which i confirmed today, I’m going to Vue in the morning(not booking online) to see Skyfall and will ask for refund at same time so hopefully i will get it asap. This should not have happened!!

Helen Bevan says:
1 November 2012

My husband and I (both pensioners) went with our son to our local Vue cinema yesterday to see Skyfall. We paid by card at the desk on a ‘buy one get one free’ deal for Orange customers on Wednesdays, plus our son used his Nectar points – so we all saw the film for a grand total of £2.95!
I’m glad our son didn’t try to book on-line – he just showed the Orange deal on his mobile.
At least those of you who had trouble were able to see the film untainted by the anger you felt the next day! It was a brilliant film.

Liz Gadsby says:
2 November 2012

Hiya – Oh my goodness, its happened exactly the same to me, but last night. went to book 2 tickets last night for this evening, once i’d put my bank details in and clicked ‘continue’ it came up with red writing saying, sorry this has been rejected by your bank etc. seeing no reason for this to happened a tried again, twice and it told me the same. so i gave up told my boyfriend we’d have to get there early to get any chance of any tickets. went to look at my bank statement which i had been charged twice, taking a total of £31.20 out of my account, it then gave me one transaction back. however it still has £15.60 of my money with no confirmation of tickets waiting for us when we get to our local vue cinema. So i rang customer service this morning and waited, and waited and then the automated voice told me you are now 52nd in the queue, knowing that it was 10p-per-minute. i hung up and rang head office who told me that it would be much easier for me to go down to the local vue and get it sorted then. so that is what i’ll have to do later on today as i dont have a car to get there. I’ll get back to you, to let you know how it goes. Talk about a ‘Vue to a kill’

Janet says:
2 November 2012

I phoned the helpline, a premium rate number, to be told that I was 42nd in the queue. After 5 minutes, I was 37th. At that point I hung up.
Fortunately, I have since been able to check my credit card statement and I have only been charged once for my tickets.


I was also shocked at Vue’s customer service. I rang about a problem with getting to the cinema due to an accident on the motorway and was told i was 36th in the que, after waiting for a good twenty minutes and getting to 20 something in the que it then went back up! I was so angry by this point i hang up the phone. I have now checked my phone bill only to find that i have been charged £2 for this ‘service’. £2 isn’t the end of the world… its the cheek of it. I will not be using Vue again out of principle. :@


James Bond – Licensed to make a (financial) killing, unfortunately.

Pamela says:
6 November 2012

I took my family to see Skyfall at the Odeon and noted that the prices charged differed from the prices advertised on the board in the foyer. The till staff couldn’t explain the discrepancy and when the manager was called he said that Odeon’s head office had directed the cinema to charge an extra 60p per person for Skyfall. I pointed out that customers weren’t being notified of this extra charge. Most people probably still don’t know that this hidden charge was added to their ticket price. How can Odeon justify this extra charge and why isn’t it being upfront about it? This was on top of the extra £1.60 per person for Premier Seats we had to purchase because the other seats had already sold out! Does Odeon think it is worth sacrificing customer goodwill to make a fast buck in this cynical way?


Hi Pamela,

This is the first I’ve heard about this but I’m going to check it out so thanks for letting us know. If anyone else has heard/noticed other cinemas doing something similar let me know.

WTCE77 says:
7 November 2012

A freind and I took our children to watch Skyfall last week which in all cost £43.65 when booked online, or so I thought…….!
A few days later I noticed that two transactions for th same amount had been taken by The Vue.
My wife confirmed this with the bank who provided us with two separate transaction authorisation numbers. My wife then phoned The Vue and was strangely told (Mentioned by a previous poster) that she was 140th in the queue. Well at 10p per minute, the actual cost of the waste of time call was almost £9 !!
The operator told my wife that they had just one transaction on their system and it may be a bank error or system error which they couldn’t help with. DISGUSTING ATTITUDE
I then sent an email, rather than run up further bills calling their money making premium phone number. The reply said w need your bank card details and I needed to call them!
So, I did this morning and after 20 minutes was answered by a very nice lady who again suggested that only 1 transaction could be seen. I insisted the error was theirs and requested the situation be escalated.
Well, I am now waiting to see if The Vue HQ can sort this out and have asked that they call me to discuss the issue and why it has taken a total of £12 in phone calls to gt this far.
I wait with baited breath…………
My opinion – Avoid using any automated ticket purchase oprtions at The VUE!


Hi David,

I suffered much the same problem as you with a double charge on my credit card when booking Skyfall online at Vue during half term week. The only means of redress was to call that expensive customer services (0871) number where I was held at No. 48 in the queue. Fifteen minutes later, I eventually got through to a customer services agent who organised a refund on my Visa card – this came through 3 days later.

I mentioned that I had also incurred an expensive charge for the phone call and I asked what she could do about it. I was put on hold while the agent spoke to her line manager. She came back with an offer of a £5.00 voucher to spend on my next cinema outing at Vue.

For me, the biggest aggravation was the time wasted organising a basic refund. However, in fairness to Vue Cinemas, I think their good will gesture was reasonable.


Hi WTCE77 and peter o,

You’ve both reminded me about the cost of calling Vue’s helpline. I called from my mobile (I don’t have a landline) and while most people would have hung up straight away when they heard they were 128th in the queue, curiosity got the better of me – I wanted, for research purposes if nothing else, to see how long it would take for me to speak to someone. After an hour and 10 minutes my patience ran out. Now I’m left wondering how much that call cost me. I’ve just tried to check, but my latest phone bill has yet to arrive. Once it does I think I, like you, will be asking for some form of compensation.


Hi David,

A £5.00 gift card arrived in the post today together with a letter of apology from Vue.

Having read other posts submitted here, it is evident that many other people were more seriously out of pocket than I was, either when they used the faulty Vue telephone booking system or when they contacted Vue customer services on the 0871 number to rectify the billing error. If they haven’t done so already, I would encourage any reader who is in this situation to claim any reasonable losses or expenses from the cinema chain.

Rosie says:
14 November 2012

Unfortunately I did not read these posts before trying to book tickets for the first time online with Vue, it failed after I pressed the process button having entered my card details. When trying again I noticed that the vip seats I had chosen were booked out – but I have no confirmation so how on earth do I get my tickets?! I realised at that point that I might have been charged already and stopped going ahead with another booking. I am very angry, I thought it would be so much easier and would guarantee that I had seats for us to see Skyfall on Friday night in York but that is not the case, now I will have to make the 10 mile round trip to the cinema to find out what to do tomorrow night so that when we turn up on Friday night we are not all dissappointed! I have filled out their comments form and told them about this but since it takes up to 48 hrs to get a response I wont hold my breath, and sounds like I wont be able to get through on the phone either.
Very dissappointing, I will never use the online booking facility again.

Simon Hayes says:
16 November 2012

… I think there are a lot of issues with their website. It crashed whilst I tried to book tickets, clearly showing an error message and telling me to go back to the home screen which I did. However, as it had taken several attempts to even get their site to the point of booking I gave up and went to Cineworld (fantastic experience)!

The surprise came when I found that the Vue transaction had been successful and I now have tickets I do not want. To cap it all I have been on the phone for over 20 minutes trying to get my money back and am still just 70th in the queue.

Useless. Avoid Vue AT ALL COSTS.

Pamela says:
17 November 2012

Here is the reply I received from Odeon about ticket charges for Skyfall (see post of 6 November):

“Thank you for taking the time to contact us about your recent visit.

During the Autumn our pricing categories were re-accessed across the company and a “Blockbuster” price group was introduced. The only change to our regular price groups is an additional charge of 50 pence for Premier Seats, the standard seat price has remained unaltered.

We displayed this information on the Skyfall poster at the front of the cinema to inform guests. The blockbuster price group was in place for the first three weeks of Skyfall and the prices have now reverted to the standard. We did try to place the information at an appropriate place and we will use your feedback to review this for the next “Blockbuster” film. The information is also available in the pricing section of the Odeon website and on the Filmline. I am sorry if it was not as visible as it could have been during your visit as it was not our intention to hide this information from guests. This was our first use of the Blockbuster Price Group and your feedback will allow us to do better for the next one.

Many thanks for your feedback and should you have any concerns during any future visits please do not hesitate to contact myself or any member of the management team and we will do our best to resolve them swiftly. ”

This reply doesn’t make sense. I was charged £12.05 per premier adult seat, £9.45 per premier teen and £9.75 per premier student seat. According to the current pricing list a peak adult seat is £8.40 so the charge should have been £10 per adult ticket even with the £1.60 premier upgrade. Was the extra £2.05 per adult ticket an additional charge on top of the extra 50p levied on the premier seats? Odeon’s pricing structure seems very far from transparent. Surely it is already profiting from the fact that people are having to pay for premier seats they don’t want simply to see the film without levying these additional charges. I have asked Odeon for an explanation and breakdown of ticket price so I can understand how the prices I paid were calculated.

Hannah says:
17 November 2012

Hi guys.
I’ve had the exact problem as everyone else – booking Skyfall online!
I was on the phone for FIFTY FIVE MINUTES. On a MOBILE.
I eventually got my tickets sorted, but now I’m left with having to pay for THEIR mistakes!
Does anyone know if I can do anything about this? Compensation.. vouchers.. anything?
Does anyone know roughly how much it has cost me?
I do not have a landline (living in shared hall accommodation with no house phone) so had no option but to phone with my mobile. I’m on Vodafone contract. I can’t see my bill online yet.
I’m happy with the seating and film and staff and cinema, just not the phone bill!
Anyone got any ideas? I am NOT forking out for THEIR errors and dodgy website.

Mrs S Day says:
21 November 2012

I have just received my credit card bill and was charged twice for Skyfall tickets too, I can’t get hold of Vue and begrudge spending an hour on hold at 10 pence a minute to ask them about their multiple errors. The way Vue operate is borderline criminal and I will never repeat NEVER spend another penny with them for as long as I live – and I urge others to do the same. I am currently on hold to my credit card company to organise a refund via them. Wish me luck


Hi all,

An update: When I experienced problems with Vue’s ticket booking system I, like many others, tried to call the cinema’s customer service team (details in the Convo above). That lengthy call from my mobile cost me a whopping £21.25 which was a rather unpleasant early Christmas present. In the run-up to the festive season I didn’t manage to find time to write a letter of complaint but last week I finally did. Then, on Saturday, I received an apology from Vue along with a cheque for… £21.25. I can only applaud Vue for refunding me every single penny I spent as a result of this unpleasant experience.

It just goes to show it is worth complaining.

not giveing says:
10 February 2014

Hi I have never had a problem with the booking system before but I do think that the website has a really bad layout. I look at websites all day as an computer freak. I have to say Odeon and Vues website are so hard to get information out of I had to ring them up to find out because there website was unusable and got charged 15p a minute I was so shocked! I had to pay it as it was stated on the website but still. I mean people who have no access to a computer would have no choice and that is unacceptable! Vue and Odeon both need to sought out their websites!


jane west says:
19 January 2013

On numerous occasions and dates when trying to book seats, the Vue website has failed payment, the Vue agents advised me this is my bank thats the problem, this is a load of rubbish, its the Vue website causing the problem, its a fault with Vue. Each time I get the problem, it doesnt take 3 days, it takes about 30 days. I am seriously looking at other options other than Vue now, but the smaller cinemas have been put out of business, forcing us to use their overpriced tickets, food and drink.

Vue, shame on you, blaming my bank for you or your payment processors failure.

not giveing says:
10 February 2014

Totally agree

Ian Paterson says:
13 April 2014

Hello there,
looking for advice regarding frightening visit to vue cinema, hamilton.
My wife,who has been recovering from illness, and I visited on 13th april , and had a group of around 6-8 youths run riot and intimidate a number of folk in screening.
when challenged they threstened myself and others that they would be waiting outside for us!
we couldnt approach staff after movie as they continued yo run riot in ticket area.
my wife was very upset. I have tried to contact vue but no email, automated phone line.
should I go in to my cinema and ask for a refund? As I think they have a duty of care to the safety of the customers thry quite happily charge £22 for tickets to a movue we didnt really experience.

Kind regards
ian paterson