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Hi all, 

 

I'm trying to get a refund for tickets I bought to visit a well known theme park (AT) on the basis that the systems they have in place for queuing and their ride access pass, also access for disabled guests is not fit for purpose. I've complained through their web form but so far not got the result I'd like. It's probably easier if I paste my letter to them for you to get the whole picture. 

 

Dear sirs

 

On (Date) we visited (theme park name). Our party of three consisted of myself, my friend and my thirteen year old son who is disabled. 

I pre-booked our tickets, one of which was a carer ticket, on 9th February. I also applied for a Ride Access Pass through Nimbus and this was approved and we were sent an e-mail with a code so that we could collect the Ride Access Pass on the day of our visit.

 

Upon our arrival at 10am we were surprised to be told that we had to queue to obtain verification of the carers ticket. We queued for 45 minutes, with my son who is unable to queue without experiencing severe discomfort, before we were able to finally get the ticket verified. To my horror, we were then faced with a huge queue to Guest Services to collect our Ride Access Pass. We queued for nearly an hour, by this time my son was in a lot of discomfort and very distressed. I find it shocking and incredibly inappropriate to have to queue to collect a pass that allows us not to have to queue. It completely defeats the whole purpose of a Ride Access Pass.

 

Once we finally collected the pass from the friendly man at Guest Services, we headed to the Sky Ride, which to our horror was closed. This meant that we had to walk, pushing my son in his wheelchair across the park which was extremely hard work as his wheelchair is not power assisted. We headed to our favourite ride, which is Hex, but when we got there, tired and fed up, we found that it was closed. By this time we were feeling deflated and upset. My son was in tears and my friend, who has a historic knee injury, was in a lot of discomfort, which would have been avoided if the Sky Ride was open.

 

By this point it was 12pm, we had been at the Park for two hours and not yet been on one single ride.

 

We decided to head to our second favourite ride which is Galactica, to find that that two was closed, even though it had been open for most of the morning. We couldn’t believe it and to be honest we were ready to go home as we were no longer in the mood. In pain and upset, my son, who had been looking forward to this day for months, was in tears.

We did eventually manage to go on one ride which was Thirteen and I will say that the staff on the ride were fantastic in assisting my son and keeping him calm.

Before we left we headed to Guest Services so that we could make a formal complaint, but there was a huge queue and we couldn’t face standing in a queue again after our disappointing and distressing experience of the day.

 

What I would like is a full refund for the tickets and for the way in which collection of the Ride Access Pass is changed. It should be sent in the post prior to the visit so that disabled guests who aren’t able to queue, don’t have to.

 

-------------------------------------------

 

Their reply is below, which I feel is a complete fob off and that it wasn't even read properly.

 

Dear (my name),

Thank you so much for taking the time to email the (theme park) my name is S****** and I will be handling your email today.

I was very sorry to read of your experience and that you left the Resort feeling disappointed after your much anticipated day out. With regards to the carer tickets, I am sure you can appreciate that we need to validate eligibility for the carer tickets to prevent abuse. However, I would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused by this and for the length of the queue for the admissions kiosk during this visit. I will pass on your feedback to the admissions team to investigate how we can improve this for future visits.

I was so sorry to hear you were disappointed with the length of the Ride Access Pass queue at Guest Services and for the impact your experience has had on visit. The Ride Access Pass system is not intended to hinder or inconvenience our guests, rather to enhance every guests experience on park by providing them with the means to enjoy their visit to the highest degree, with safety still being our top priority. Unfortunately, we are not able to control how many guests choose to use the Ride Access Pass at any one time. I would like to reassure you, however, that we are listening to our guests feedback in relation to all aspects of the Ride Access Pass system and we have put many changes in place to try and improve the service all ready. Please know that we are still listening to all feedback and further changes will be implemented in the coming months in order to improve the experience further.

Please accept our apologies that the Sky Ride and some of our rides were out of action during your visit. Due to the nature and complexity of our rides there may be times where we need to take a ride out of operation briefly; this can be due to many reasons such as a technical fault, a guest's action or adverse weather conditions. However, in every circumstance we have a dedicated team of engineers and ride operators on standby to ensure that the ride is back in operation as quickly as possible. We cannot predetermine ride closures, and all rides are subject to availability. We can, however, appreciate the inconvenience and disappointment this must have caused and for this we would like to apologise.

Unfortunately, tickets are non-refundable as stated in the terms and conditions accepted at the point of purchase. However, in the hopes you and your party will return for a more magical experience, I would like to offer to revalidate your tickets for another visit within 12 months. If this is something you'd like to accept, please reply to this email at least 14 days in advance of the date you'd like to use them and I can arrange this for you.

Once again, thank you for getting in touch. I would like to assure you that we take guest feedback very seriously here at the Resort and your comments have been distributed to relevant department managers for appropriate action. We are always striving to improve the guest experience, and we hope to welcome you back to the Resort in the near future.

Kind Regards

 

----------------------------------

 

I'd like to know if anyone has ever successfully managed to get a refund for their tickets on a similar basis. I don't want to accept their offer of a free return to the park because I don't want to go back there and it's a really long way. My feeling is that we didn't get what we paid for and in fact the systems they had in place actually caused distress and discomfort. I feel if the cable cars are out of order that they should have something else in place to transport guests around the park as it is vast.

 

Thank you. 

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how did you pay?

 

dx

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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First of all, I would like you to outline in a bullet pointed fashion, the timing of entry, verification – etc.

Also the timing of going to rides, queues , closure etc.

In other words, I would like to get a very short summary in listed format of precisely what happened during the day.

 

Secondly, please can you tell us something about the expenses which you incurred. That means your travel expenses there and back, and email expenses .

Where do you live in the country and where is the theme park .

What is the full name of the theme park and a link to its website please .

I'm sure that if you are tenacious enough then you can not only get your money back but probably recovery of your expenses and something on top .

The whole thing sounds like a nightmare and it sounds to me is if they are simply in it for the money and they don't really care about disabled access at all.

 

Can you tell us something about the verification system. How many other disabled persons were waiting for verification of their carers.

Please tell us something about the verification process.

 

 

 

 

 

Also, had you alerted them in advance that there was a disabled person involved and that a carer would be accompanying them

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..

  • The theme park is Alton Towers, which is in Staffordshire. We live in Mid Wales and the journey is around 3.5 hours. 
  • The date of visit was 4th April 2023. 
  • I bought tickets online for this date on 9th February 2023. One of these tickets was for my disabled son, at full price (same as any other adult ticket) and one of them was a carers ticket (free, but it stated I needed to provide evidence that I am his carer. I expected to have to do this online when buying the ticket but to my surprise it all went through and I was not asked for evidence and my tickets were e-mailed to me. 
  • Their system for disabled guests is called a Ride Access Pass and you have to apply for this via a third party called Nimbus. You have to prove the disability and upload documents such as DLA letter, blue badge, aswell as a photo of the disabled person and photo ID of the person applying. 
  • This was approved and I printed off the e-mail with a code. The whole process took me about an hour.
  • I called Alton Towers to ask for more information about the Ride Access Pass and if I just bring the e-mail with me on the day or if I would be sent the pass in the post. I also asked about evidence for the carers ticket. I was just told "just bring all your documents with you and pop into guests services when you arrive and it will all get sorted there". 
  • I also watched a short video online which is from the website itself explaining how the Ride Access Pass works and they make it look so easy. Link here - 
    WWW.ALTONTOWERS.COM

    We offer a Ride Access Pass to guests who may find it difficult or cannot stand for long periods of time either due to a physical disability or a learning/emotional impairment. Applications should be submitted at least...
  • When we arrived we went to the turnstyles, showed our tickets and were told we would have to get my carers ticket verified - I asked where and he told us to go and queue up at the ticket office - the queue was HUGE and mostly people who had turned up on the day and were simply queuing up to buy tickets to the park. We queued for 45 minutes. 
  • Once we had finally got the carers ticket verified, we then had to go and queue up again at the turnstyles (park entrance) - this only took a minute.  
  • Once we had finally entered the park, we then had to go to Guest Services to get the Ride Access Pass (so the e-mail from Nimbus with the code was just proof that my son was eligible for one). We queued for an hour. There were other disabled guests queuing, I'm not sure how many as not all disabilities are visible. 
  • Once we had finally collected the Ride Access Pass, which is a card with his photo on it and a code that indicates that he has a physical disability, we went to the Sky Ride (cable cars that transport guests around the park, as the park is vast and a lot of walking is involved). 
  • The Sky rides were closed, meaning we had to walk everywhere to access every area of the park. Not only was this really hard on me pushing my son in his wheelchair as it is not power assisted, but my friend has n old leg injury and also asthma and she really struggled with the walking. They should have something in place for when they have to close the sky rides, such as a milk float type thing. 
  • When we finally made it to the ride we wanted to go on the most, we found it was closed. 
  • The ride we decided to go on next was about a 20 minute walk. We were so tired by the time we got there, to find that that was also closed. 
  • By this time we were so fed up. My son was in tears, he was in discomfort, he was tired and we just wanted to go home. This was around 1pm. We had been travelling since 6.30am.
  • The cost of the tickets were £44 for my son's and £44 for my friend's. Mine was a carers ticket, for which there was no charge, except having to queue for 45 minutes. 
  • Our travel costs was £60 in diesel. 
  • My main gripe is having to queue, to obtain a pass that allows us not to have to queue. 
  • Thanks 1
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HANSARD.PARLIAMENT.UK

 

 

WWW.LEGISLATION.GOV.UK

An Act to make provision to require Ministers of the Crown and others when making strategic decisions about the exercise of their functions to have...

 

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It seems to me that on the basis of what you say there is a clear breach of the Equality Act 2010.

I posted the above in order to give you somewhere to start reading and to understand what the principles are. Have you not read them?

Additionally, it seems to me that there is an action for breach of contract.

A breach of contract would only return to you the cost of the tickets and possibly conversation relating to ways to travel but may be no damages in respect of damaged expectations.

On the other hand, an action under the equality act could return damages for hurt feelings as well as expenses et cetera.

If this interested you then I would propose that you consider bringing a claim for both because they do not exclude each other.

Also, if you started to sue Alton Towers for breach of contract, they wouldn't be too bothered but if you see them under the equality act I think that they would be very concerned about the injury to their reputation.

Have you done the reading of the links I posted above?

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Please make sure that you use a device which allows you to engage with this forum and also engage with this thread properly.

We can't help you otherwise

 

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I’ve been a member of this forum for over 15 years, helping members with debt solutions and I’m very savvy regarding DCAs. 
 

Since a brain injury I’m not as upto date with things. I’m not stupid and I trained in consumer law for a while until I got ill. 
Since then I’ve needed a bit of help. 

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Sorry to hear about your injury and of course we are always here to help

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've had a read and have compiled a letter. I'm wondering who I should send it to - Alton Towers CEO or Merlin, who are the umbrella company (they own Alton Towers, LegoLand, Chessington etc). I plan to send it by recorded post and also by e-mail in the form of PDF with the recorded post label number included in the e-mail. 

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How about showing us the letter in PDF format

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Dear Sirs,

 

Further to your correspondence regarding my complaint about our unpleasant experience at Alton Towers Theme Park, I wish to escalate this matter further. 

 

I visited the park on 4th April 2023 with my friend and son who is disabled.  

 

I bought tickets online for this date on 9th February 2023. One of these tickets was for my disabled son, at full price (same as any other adult ticket) and one of them was a carers ticket (free, but it stated I needed to provide evidence that I am his carer. I expected to have to do this online when buying the ticket but to my surprise it all went through and I was not asked for evidence and my tickets were e-mailed to me. 

Their system for disabled guests is called a Ride Access Pass and you have to apply for this via a third party called Nimbus. You have to prove the disability and upload documents such as DLA letter, blue badge, aswell as a photo of the disabled person and photo ID of the person applying. 


This was approved and I printed off the e-mail with a code. The whole process took me about an hour.

I called Alton Towers to ask for more information about the Ride Access Pass and if I just bring the e-mail with me on the day or if I would be sent the pass in the post. I also asked about evidence for the carers ticket. I was just told "just bring all your documents with you and pop into guests services when you arrive and it will all get sorted there". 
I also watched a short video online which is from the website itself explaining how the Ride Access Pass works and they make it look so easy. 

 

When we arrived we went to the turnstyles, showed our tickets and were told we would have to get my carers ticket verified - I asked where and he told us to go and queue up at the ticket office - the queue was HUGE and mostly people who had turned up on the day and were simply queuing up to buy tickets to the park. We queued for 45 minutes. 

 

Once we had finally got the carers ticket verified, we then had to go and queue up again at the turnstyles (park entrance) - this only took a minute.  


Once we had finally entered the park, we then had to go to Guest Services to get the Ride Access Pass (so the e-mail from Nimbus with the code was just proof that my son was eligible for one). We queued for an hour. There were other disabled guests queuing, I'm not sure how many as not all disabilities are visible. 

Once we had finally collected the Ride Access Pass, which is a card with his photo on it and a code that indicates that he has a physical disability, we went to the Sky Ride (cable cars that transport guests around the park, as the park is vast and a lot of walking is involved). 

 

The Sky rides were closed, meaning we had to walk everywhere to access every area of the park. Not only was this really hard on me pushing my son in his wheelchair as it is not power assisted, but my friend has n old leg injury and also asthma and she really struggled with the walking. They should have something in place for when they have to close the sky rides, such as a milk float type thing. 

 

When we finally made it to the ride we wanted to go on the most, we found it was closed. 

The ride we decided to go on next was about a 20 minute walk. We were so tired by the time we got there, to find that that was also closed. 


By this time we were so fed up. My son was in tears, he was in discomfort, he was tired and we just wanted to go home. This was around 1pm. We had been travelling since 6.30am.

The cost of the tickets were £44 for my son's and £44 for my friend's. Mine was a carers ticket, for which there was no charge, except having to queue for 45 minutes. 

 

We traveled a long way to visit the park after spending much time planning, and our travel costs were over £60 in diesel. 

 

My main gripe is having to queue, to obtain a pass that allows us not to have to queue. 

 

On 5th April I complained to Alton Towers through their online webform and received a reply saying that tickets are non refundable but an offer to return to the park for free. I do not wish to return based on our experience and because it is such a long way for us to travel. 

 

This meant that it caused distress and severe discomfort to my son, caused my friend and I to feel exhausted, my friend nearly had an asthma attack. We didn't get what we paid for so under the Consumer Rights Act, Alton Towers are in breach of contract. 

 

I would like a full refund of tickets and for you to recompense our expenses. 

 

I look forward to your prompt response on this matter. As recommended by Trading Standards, I would like to keep a complete record of my case, so please reply to this email address.

Yours faithfully,

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I've tweeked it a  little.

 

Dear Sirs,

 

Reference: Case reference 10620805

 

 

Further to your correspondence regarding my complaint about our unpleasant experience at Alton Towers Theme Park, I wish to escalate this matter further. 

 

I visited the park on 4th April 2023 with my friend and son who is disabled. 

 

I bought tickets online for this date on 9th February 2023. One of these tickets was for my disabled son, at full price (same as any other adult ticket) and one of them was a carers ticket (free, but it stated I needed to provide evidence that I am his carer. I expected to have to do this online when buying the ticket but to my surprise it all went through and I was not asked for evidence and my tickets were e-mailed to me. 

 

Their system for disabled guests is called a Ride Access Pass and you have to apply for this via a third party called Nimbus. You have to prove the disability and upload documents such as DLA letter, blue badge, aswell as a photo of the disabled person and photo ID of the person applying. 

 

This was approved and I printed off the e-mail with a code. The whole process took me about an hour.

 

I called Alton Towers to ask for more information about the Ride Access Pass and if I just bring the e-mail with me on the day or if I would be sent the pass in the post. I also asked about evidence for the carers ticket. I was just told "just bring all your documents with you and pop into guests services when you arrive and it will all get sorted there". 

I also watched a short video online which is from the website itself explaining how the Ride Access Pass works and they make it look so easy. 

 

When we arrived we went to the turnstyles, showed our tickets and were told we would have to get my carers ticket verified - I asked where and he told us to go and queue up at the ticket office - the queue was HUGE and mostly people who had turned up on the day and were simply queuing up to buy tickets to the park. We queued for 45 minutes. 

 

Once we had finally got the carers ticket verified, we then had to go and queue up again at the turnstyles (park entrance) - this only took a minute.  

 

Once we had finally entered the park, we then had to go to Guest Services to get the Ride Access Pass (so the e-mail from Nimbus with the code was just proof that my son was eligible for one). We queued for an hour. There were other disabled guests queuing, I'm not sure how many as not all disabilities are visible. Having to queue, to obtain a pass that allows us not to have to queue is unacceptable.

 

 

Once we had finally collected the Ride Access Pass, which is a card with his photo on it and a code that indicates that he has a physical disability, we went to the Sky Ride (cable cars that transport guests around the park, as the park is vast and a lot of walking is involved).

The Sky rides were closed, meaning we had to walk everywhere to access every area of the park. Not only was this really hard on me pushing my son in his wheelchair as it is not power assisted, but my friend has n old leg injury and also asthma and she really struggled with the walking. They should have something in place for when they have to close the sky rides, such as a milk float type thing. 

 

When we finally made it to the ride we wanted to go on the most, we found it was closed. 

 

The ride we decided to go on next was about a 20 minute walk. We were so tired by the time we got there, to find that that was also closed. 

 

By this time we were so fed up. My son was in tears, he was in discomfort, he was tired and we just wanted to go home. This was around 1pm. We had been travelling since 6.30am.

 

The cost of the tickets were £44 for my son's and £44 for my friend's. Mine was a carers ticket, for which there was no charge, except having to queue for 45 minutes. 

 

We travelled a long way to visit the park after spending much time planning, and our travel costs were over £60 in diesel. 

 

On 5th April I complained to Alton Towers through their online webform and received a reply saying that tickets are non refundable but an offer to return to the park for free. I do not wish to return based on our experience and because it is such a long way for us to travel. 

 

This meant that it caused distress and severe discomfort to my son, caused my friend and I to feel exhausted, my friend nearly had an asthma attack. We didn't get what we paid for so under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, Alton Towers are in breach of contract. 

 

I would like a full refund of tickets and for you to recompense our expenses. 

 

I look forward to your prompt response on this matter. As recommended by Trading Standards, I would like to keep a complete record of my case, so please reply to this email address.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 

Edited by thedryad
Typo
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Please monitor this thread for a reply later

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Before we go a lot further looking at the content of your letter, the first question crosses my mind is what are you trying to achieve by this letter?

What result do you think you're going to get? They have offered you a free ticket. What else are you looking for?

Just to say very quickly, I think the offer is totally inadequate. But I'd like to know what you think you should be getting.

Next, looking at some of the content – but not all – why are you referring to Trading Standards? Is this intended to worry them that you have gone to some authority?

You start by describing the experience as your "unpleasant experience".

I think really this is understating the situation substantially. If you are looking for some serious address then I think you better be a little bit more assertive about your wording. You are treated in a disgusting way and simply to describe this as an unpleasant experience really doesn't cut the mustard and is unlikely to attract anything more than a free ticket and a sort of apology.

I mentioned earlier that this probably amounts to discrimination. Also I gave you links to a couple of places where this kind of thing was described – although you seemed not to understand why I had posted the links.

Have you read the material now? And have you started to understand? If so, why aren't you using any of the language of equality and discrimination in your letter?

Do you not understand that this is the kind of thing that they are frightened of. They are bothered by somebody who simply had an "unpleasant experience".

I think it's probably a good idea to outline the entire history of the events – so the letter will certainly be useful there, but I should say now that I don't expect that you are going to get any serious redress without taking some legal action.

I doubt whether even a threat of legal action is particularly going to bother them.

Would you be prepared to speak with a journalist if I managed to make a contact for you?

 

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And what about the rest the questions I put?

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I got the result I wanted. This is the reply I got today. 
 

Dear ..., 

Thank you for your email. 

I would once again like to apologise for the queues you experienced when collecting your carers ticket and Ride Access Pass. I would also like to reassure you that the inclusivity of our attractions is a priority of ours and we are actively listening to all feedback and making positive steps to improve the experience further. 


I am sorry that you were dissatisfied with my previous offer to revalidate your tickets. On this occasion, I am happy to process a refund of £88 for your tickets. Please allow 3-5 working days for this to return to your original payment method. 

Once again, thank you for getting in touch. I would like to assure you that we take guest feedback very seriously here at the Resort. We hope to welcome you back to the Resort in the near future. 


Kind Regards

Stephanie
Guest Excellence Team
Alton Towers

 

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Are you satisfied with that? It seems a bit niggardly to me

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I agree with BankFodder.

You should at least be compensated for all of your losses, fuel, etc, not to mention a complete waste of a day which could have been used in a far more productive, enjoyable manner.

We could do with some help from you.

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