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?