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Expired Experience Day voucher. Is there anything I can do?


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Morning all,

 

For my birthday last year (May 2011) my father bought me a 60 minute flying lesson. I had planned to use it but I have either been busy or the weather has been awful and didnt fancy flying in strong winds and rain. I'm based in Cumbria and the nearest 2 places to fly are Newcastle or Blackpool so it would be a day trip out (or possible stop over but I work Saturday nights so this makes it awkward).

 

Today I realised I had a free weekend for once so I would book the flying experience. I tried to redeem the voucher online and it told me the voucher had expired. I then looked at my ticket and it had an expiry date of 11th February 2012 (10 months after purchase) so I had missed out (purely because I thought the voucher lasted 12 months which I believe to be most cases).

 

I have checked all the T's&C's on the website and they tell me I have no comeback and the only way I can do the flight experience is to purchase it again at full value. I am not entitled to any kind of refund.

 

Does anybody know of anything I can do? I'm clutching at straws I know but I'm hoping there might be 1 little thing I can use as a comeback. The voucher has cost £200 and as it hadn't been activated or booked then the company have basically made £200 for nothing (well they have made £200 for me not reading the expiry date properly).

 

Do I have a comeback or do I take a deep breath and tell my father that I have messed up and cost him £200 for nothing? Or do I rebook the experience at £200 (or maybe a cheaper one and hope he doesnt notice the difference) and then do it and have him thing its the one he got me for my birthday?

 

Thanks for reading this :)

Edited by citizenB
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Seems a bit unfair. I thought this type of voucher lasted for 12 months as well. I am trying to find some help for you.

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Seems a bit unfair. I thought this type of voucher lasted for 12 months as well. I am trying to find some help for you.

 

Excellent. Thank you so much CitizenB :)

 

 

Taken from experiencedays.co.uk website (FAO):

 

My voucher has just expired, is it all possible to extend it now that it is not valid?

No.

Unfortunately, once your voucher has expired it cannot be redeemed or extended.

 

and

 

My EX Pass (Voucher) has expired. Can I still redeem it provided that I pay the difference in price?

Unfortunately not. Once you voucher has expired it is deemed to be invalid. You must use your Ex Pass before the expiry date.

Edited by sploits

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Hi spl

 

It's in their 'Terms and Conditions', but as you say you though it was valid for 12 months, I wonder if the 10 months is actually meant to catch people out, if so then their 'Terms and Conditions' would be 'unfair'. 10 months does seem the standard period for 'experience companies'.

Find out who the MD is of the Voucher Company.

 

Write a Letter of Complaint, mark it as such. Explain whats happened, how you feel let down and what you want them to do.

Send it Recorded.

 

Some tips:- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1242161/How--write-letter-complaint.html

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Hi spl

 

It's in their 'Terms and Conditions', but as you say you though it was valid for 12 months, I wonder if the 10 months is actually meant to catch people out, if so then their 'Terms and Conditions' would be 'unfair'. 10 months does seem the standard period for 'experience companies'.

Find out who the MD is of the Voucher Company.

 

Write a Letter of Complaint, mark it as such. Explain whats happened, how you feel let down and what you want them to do.

Send it Recorded.

 

Some tips:- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1242161/How--write-letter-complaint.html

 

Hi rebel11,

 

I have an address for them but I will have to phone them to ask for the name of the MD.

 

My complaint will be that I feel the voucher should have been the standard 12 months and that not only have I lost out on an experience but I have also lost out on a gift from my father.

Hopefully they MIGHT extend it but I have a funny feeling I will get a letter back saying it is written in their T's&C's that I have no comeback.

 

 

Thank you both again,

 

Sploits

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Make sure you include the fact that you believe this to be "an unfair clause"

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I have written the following. Could you please give me the thumbs up to pop it in the post (recorded obviously haha).

 

LETTER OF COMPLAINT

Dear Sir / Madam,

 

I had an experience day voucher bought for me for my birthday by my father (May 2011), his email address is XXXXXXXX@aol.com as registered on your site. Due to unforeseen circumstances I have not been able to use this voucher until now. I went online this week with the voucher code (ending XXXXXX) as I know had chance to use it and knew it was within the 12 months period usually given with vouchers. Your website told me that it had expired. I checked the voucher and it had an expiry of 11/02/2012 (only 10 months period on it). I then looked through your terms and conditions to see what I had to do to sort out the voucher so that I could book it. Your terms and conditions basically tell me that I cannot do anything about it. I feel rather let down by the fact I have now lost this experience but I have also lost a birthday present given to me by my father. I find the fact that your terms and conditions are infact unfair and to state that I have now lost everything due to the 10 month period lapsing I find this an unfair clause!

I would like you to possibly add an extension to this voucher (I understand that there is a £20 charge for this and I will be willing to pay that) so that I can have my experience that my father has paid for. Could you please reply to me stating that you are willing to do this as a goodwill gesture?

 

 

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.

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I have written the following. Could you please give me the thumbs up to pop it in the post (recorded obviously haha).

 

LETTER OF COMPLAINT

Dear Sir / Madam,

 

I had an experience day voucher bought for me for my birthday by my father (May 2011), his email address is XXXXXXXX@aol.com as registered on your site. Due to unforeseen circumstances I have not been able to use this voucher until now. I went online this week with the voucher code (ending XXXXXX) as I know had chance to use it and knew it was within the 12 months period usually given with vouchers. Your website told me that it had expired. I checked the voucher and it had an expiry of 11/02/2012 (only 10 months period on it). I then looked through your terms and conditions to see what I had to do to sort out the voucher so that I could book it. Your terms and conditions basically tell me that I cannot do anything about it. I feel rather let down by the fact I have now lost this experience but I have also lost a birthday present given to me by my father. I find the fact that your terms and conditions are infact unfair and to state that I have now lost everything due to the 10 month period lapsing I find this an unfair clause!

I would like you to possibly add an extension to this voucher (I understand that there is a £20 charge for this and I will be willing to pay that) so that I can have my experience that my father has paid for. Could you please reply to me stating that you are willing to do this as a goodwill gesture?

 

 

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.

 

 

 

The word highlighted in red should read "now".. but other than that.. go for it :) Please let us know how you get on.

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PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD THEN I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER ADVICE THERE:D

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Good find, rebel11:)

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2: Take back control of your finances - Debt Diaries

3: Feel Bullied by Creditors or Debt Collectors? Read Here

4: Staying Calm About Debt  Read Here

5: Forum rules - These have been updated - Please Read

BCOBS

1: How can BCOBS protect you from your Banks unfair treatment

2: Does your Bank play fair - You can force your Bank to play Fair with you

3: Banking Conduct of Business Regulations - The Hidden Rules

4: BCOBS and Unfair Treatment - Common Examples of Banks Behaving Badly

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Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD THEN I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER ADVICE THERE:D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Morning all,

 

Well I have finally recieved a reply (after badgering them via email as my letter has went unanswered).

 

"Dear sploits

 

As previously advised, this voucher has now expired and cannot be either extended or reactivated.

 

Our contractual obligation here is to provide you with a voucher valid for the agreed term, which in this case was 10 months. This is exactly what was ordered, agreed to and provided."

 

No thanks, love and kisses or anything!

 

What would now be my best call of action? Report them to the OFT? Leave it and class it as my bad luck?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks again,

 

Sploits

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Try a bit of adverse publicity contact the local paper/watchdog etc you never know. They are within their rights to issue a voucher for as long or as short a time as they wish although I do agree you would have thought it would have been 12 months.

If I have been of any help, please click on my star and let me know, thank you.

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Hi assisted blonde,

 

I was watching watchdog last night and thought I would write to them. I'm going to knock a nice email up and see what they say.

Its disgusting that companies can issue whatever date they want on a voucher and then say its worthless at the end of it whilst they pocket 100% of the cash.

 

I also found them on facebook and posted on their wall that they have no respect for their customers. Strangely they deleted my comment within minutes!

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They can't do that - assisted blonde is wrong. Ask them for a new voucher or a refund to your father. The voucher expiry date is an unfair contract term and is not enforceable unless it entitles you to a refund if not used within the period. This is explained in page 20 of the second link that rebel11 posted in post #11 (the OFT document). They can only retain a fair estimate of their costs.

 

Basically:

Voucher expiry and refund if not used (less very small admin fee) = legal

Voucher expiry with no refund = unlawful (unfair contract term)

 

Ask them for a refund (your father may have to ask for this as he bought it). Do not give up. They are wrong.

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Hi pcr1,

 

I have tried getting a refund from them but they have said the rules are the rules (albiet their rules!)and no refund will be issued as the voucher has expired. I quoted the OFT guidelines that rebel kindly posted and they still refuse.

I have written to watchdog regarding the matter. I was going to complain directly to the OFT regarding this but as after reading this its slightly stopped me:

 

"We asked the Office of Fair Trading if these terms and conditions could be considered fair. It said providing the expiry date was made clear at the point of sale and on the voucher, and the buyer was clearly aware of this, it wouldn’t consider it unfair.

We also asked lawyer Michael Forrester of Ralli Solicitors for his legal opinion. He said it would be difficult to make a legal case. There is no precedent in law about this as no one has legally challenged the fairness of expiry dates on vouchers. Amazon said it made the terms and conditions clear."

 

This was taken from http://www.computeractive.co.uk/ca/consumer-rights/2033243/caught-voucher-expiry-date

Also this was referencing Amazon gift cards but I'm asuming the experience day voucher would fall under the same category

 

So I'm stuck as what to do. Should I go straight to the OFT and hope they will look at my case? If so which is the best way to contact the OFT? Phone/email/snail mail/carrier pigeon?

 

 

Thanks to everyone so far for your help.

Edited by sploits

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Trading standards are the people to contact, local to the company concerned.

 

As far as I can see, an expiry date is fine. However, retaining the sums paid after the expiry date is not. An expiry date may be put on to protect them from you using it in (say) 10 years when it might cost them £800 for the lesson but you only every paid £200. That's fine.

 

But if they include an expiry date, and you don't use it before the expiry date, to then refuse to refund you the money paid is surely unlawful, unless they can demonstrate they have incurred (in this case) £200 in costs.

 

You could sue them (in small claims) for your £200 back (well, your dad can as he bought it) citing an unfair contract term. It is correct that no-one seems to have tested this yet. If I get some time and spare cash, I might give it a go!!

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Thanks alot pcr1.

I will have a look at how I can complain to trading standards and see if they can help me. It does seem unfair that an oversight on my part has cost £200!

 

Thanks again :)

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Thanks pcr1.

 

To be honest i would just like a refund if at all possible and then see if we can rebook with somebody else. Experience Days have disgusted me and thanks to the kind people on here (like you) I will fight them to get something back!

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Response from Consumer Direct

 

Thank you for your enquiry to the Citizens Advice consumer service dated 27/03/2012. Your reference number for this case is XXXXXXXXXX and should be quoted in all further correspondence regarding this case.

We understand from your e-mail that bought voucher for a flying lesson and it had an expiry date of 10 months. It has now gone over the term and you wish to know if you are able to claim any of the money back

Based on the information you have provided, the key legal points in response to your enquiry are as follows:

Vouchers are an alternative payment method that are entirely governed by the terms of the contract, if the voucher is for 10 months then that is agreed term of the contract and if the trader refuses to honour the voucher after it has expired then the trader is not in breach of that contract.

 

As regards the OFT guidance you saw, we do not feel that there is any relevant OFT pronouncements on the issue but if you would like further clarification on the specific guidelines you saw please respond to this email with that particular regulation.

 

If you require any further advice or information about this case, please do not hesitate to contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 quoting the case reference number.

Thank you for your enquiry.

 

Well experience days have made £200 for an oversight by the unaware customer. It stinks but I guess I will just have to accept it.

 

Thanks to everyone for your help,

 

Sploits

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"We asked the Office of Fair Trading if these terms and conditionslink3.gif could be considered fair. It said providing the expiry date was made clear at the point of sale and on the voucher, and the buyer was clearly aware of this,

 

But.. you were NOT the buyer and as such, would you have had access to their terms and conditions :) How clear are/were the terms and conditions on the voucher ?

Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

Uploading documents to CAG ** Instructions **

Looking for a draft letter? Use the CAG Library

Dealing with Customer Service Departments? - read the CAG Guide first

1: Making a PPI claim ? - Q & A's and spreadsheets for single premium policy - HERE

2: Take back control of your finances - Debt Diaries

3: Feel Bullied by Creditors or Debt Collectors? Read Here

4: Staying Calm About Debt  Read Here

5: Forum rules - These have been updated - Please Read

BCOBS

1: How can BCOBS protect you from your Banks unfair treatment

2: Does your Bank play fair - You can force your Bank to play Fair with you

3: Banking Conduct of Business Regulations - The Hidden Rules

4: BCOBS and Unfair Treatment - Common Examples of Banks Behaving Badly

5: Fair Treatment for Credit Card Holders and Borrowers - COBS

Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD THEN I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER ADVICE THERE:D

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