Friday, December 27, 2013

Boxing Day Bargain Balls-Up!

I generally book my spring/summer holiday during the Christmas/New Year break from work, not in the hope of catching bargains but because I have more time to think about what I'm going to do and look around at the various options.

This year I had decided that I was going to visit Berlin in June 2014 and the only decision I had to make was whether to go by train or plane. The train option - London to Paris on Eurostar and then Paris to Berlin on the overnight sleeper seemed impossibly romantic, the idea of leaving England one morning and waking up in Berlin the following morning appealing no end. The downside though was the fact that my holiday would have to begin with a two hour journey to London and then across town by taxi before the holiday journey could actually begin - an alternative was required. Having been plagued by e-mails from a well known online site I decided to check out the various options available and entered London in the departures box and Berlin in the arrivals box together with my preferred dates. There were no shortage of options, the only problem was that the first dozen or so flights were all from Luton which is only a two hour drive away but a real bugger if you get stuck anywhere on the M3/M25/M1. I then scrolled down and found several flights with the German budget airline Germanwings - the name alone made it difficult to resist.

So I choose a hotel in the Charlottenburg area of Berlin, close to the Zoo, Tiergarten and Kurfustendamm - all areas I was keen to visit. I entered all the requisite details and pressed the book now button, almost immediately a red exclamation mark appeared on the page telling me that my credit card had been declined and that I should either try another card or contact my credit card company. Before I even had the chance to do that the telephone rang, it was Barclaycard and an automated fraud check message, I was asked to confirm my last three transactions - these were the holiday booking (the hotel and flights were separate items for the purpose of the purchase) and an I-tunes transaction - the fraud tests duly passed I was told that my card would be reactivated in five minutes.

Five minutes passed and I pressed the 'book now' button only to be met with a message that stated that a booking had already been made with the previously entered details and that unless I wanted to make a further booking with the same arrangements I should leave the page. I left the page and thought no more about it for about six hours.

After watching West Ham capitulate to Arsenal, yet again, and Liverpool fall foul of some bizarre refereeing decisions against Manchester City I decided to go online to check my Barclaycard balance in advance of making the monthly payment. Something didn't look right when I checked the balance, it had increased by the best part of nine hundred pounds in an afternoon. Even more confusing was the fact that I had not received a confirmation e-mail from the holiday company but had received an e-mail from Germanwings stating that because my card had been 'declined' the flight part of the booking was temporarily cancelled.

I contacted Barclaycard. They confirmed that two payments had been made out of my account to the travel company that afternoon, I explained about the message, the fraud phone call (which they confirmed against their log) and was told that because the amount payable had been confirmed by Barclaycard I had to contact the merchant and ask them to cancel the two transactions and then they would have to confirm to Barclaycard that the transactions shouldn't have been made.

I duly contacted the agent and spoke to a lovely lady, in India, who helped me get to the bottom of what had happened. The payment had been taken twice for the hotel but not at all for the airline. I didn't have an itinerary number or even an itinerary! Although the credit card details could be seen on the screen and the details of the holiday confirmed, I had actually been charged twice for a holiday I wasn't booked on! That explains why I hadn't received a confirmation e-mail and why when trying to sign on the agents booking system it kept telling me that my e-mail address couldn't be recognised.

This morning I received a copy of an e-mail from the agent to Barclaycard explaining that I would not be charged for two transactions on my credit card. I also received an e-mail quoting an itinerary and an itinerary number for an eight night stay in Berlin plus flights telling me I should book soon to take advantage of the special rate on offer.

Last year I booked early for Paris and didn't go because of an operation, this year I have booked early been charged twice and don't, yet, have a holiday to show for it!

6 comments:

Span Ows said...

Clearly a sign: don't go!

The Barclaycard thing is very useful except when it happens on a Sunday in a different time zone: the phone call and security check are all the same but the stress levels are higher!

Paul said...

Walked into a local bookshop on Saturday and the first book I saw was 'Berlin 2014' - it's a sign!

Agree with you on the fraud check, good news is that as of this morning the two transactions have disappeared.

oakleyses said...

longchamp outlet, nike outlet, michael kors outlet online, chanel handbags, christian louboutin outlet, ray ban sunglasses, tiffany and co, replica watches, coach outlet, tiffany jewelry, michael kors outlet online, nike air max, polo ralph lauren outlet online, michael kors outlet store, oakley sunglasses, polo outlet, christian louboutin uk, christian louboutin, burberry handbags, longchamp outlet, kate spade outlet, prada handbags, michael kors outlet, gucci handbags, michael kors outlet, coach outlet, prada outlet, kate spade, michael kors outlet online, tory burch outlet, christian louboutin shoes, coach outlet store online, burberry outlet, true religion outlet, nike air max, coach purses, oakley sunglasses, jordan shoes, longchamp outlet, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses wholesale, nike free

oakleyses said...

north face, nike air max uk, sac hermes, hollister uk, nike air force, louboutin pas cher, michael kors, oakley pas cher, converse pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, hollister pas cher, nike free run, jordan pas cher, nike tn, burberry pas cher, longchamp pas cher, timberland pas cher, nike air max, polo ralph lauren, nike roshe, lululemon canada, ralph lauren uk, true religion outlet, guess pas cher, vans pas cher, sac longchamp pas cher, nike air max uk, true religion jeans, hogan outlet, north face uk, new balance, air max, ray ban pas cher, nike free uk, true religion outlet, nike blazer pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, michael kors pas cher, ray ban uk, polo lacoste, michael kors outlet, mulberry uk

oakleyses said...

hollister clothing, giuseppe zanotti outlet, lululemon, wedding dresses, abercrombie and fitch, hermes belt, asics running shoes, bottega veneta, celine handbags, soccer shoes, valentino shoes, ferragamo shoes, vans outlet, mcm handbags, timberland boots, nike roshe run uk, longchamp uk, nike air max, north face outlet, p90x workout, new balance shoes, insanity workout, iphone 6 cases, herve leger, instyler, oakley, hollister, nike huaraches, soccer jerseys, nike trainers uk, babyliss, chi flat iron, ghd hair, baseball bats, jimmy choo outlet, mont blanc pens, north face outlet, mac cosmetics, beats by dre, nfl jerseys, reebok outlet, nike roshe run

oakleyses said...

ralph lauren, vans, gucci, pandora jewelry, ray ban, hollister, ugg, swarovski crystal, links of london, lancel, toms shoes, juicy couture outlet, montre pas cher, pandora uk, replica watches, converse outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, coach outlet, ugg uk, hollister, ugg pas cher, uggs outlet, ugg boots, supra shoes, pandora charms, marc jacobs, louboutin, thomas sabo, juicy couture outlet, ugg boots, karen millen uk, uggs outlet, converse, swarovski, uggs on sale, nike air max, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, wedding dresses