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This is my saga. I am going up to the NEC next Friday. So I need train tickets for a friend and myself. On browsing I notice that Virgin trains have an offer. An NEC Event discount of 25% on train ticket prices. Just follow the link they say. Discount will automatically be deducted at check out. I click the link website opens.................... http://www.forecourtshow.co.uk/images/VirgintrainsB2BFactsheetNEC.pdf

I spend a good 15 mins sorting out times , dates , trains etc. Finally I book the tickets. I notice no deduction on my final ticket price. So I connect to their "Live Chat" "You are currently 4th in the cue etc." I pay up rather than wasting the time I spent booking, thinking I will get a refund as its obviously an error. "you are now 3 in the cue" Whilst I am idly waiting I go on to GWR, Great Western Trains site. My local train company. With shock I see that if I had booked with them instead the price would have been HALF of the price of Virgin Trains. No extra discount this is their normal prices.

Nice Lady eventually comes on Virgin Trains Live Chat. Basically they only have a small allocation of "advanced" NEC discounted tickets. No mention of this on their website I looked at. So how about the outrageous prices. "Sorry I have no control over pricing" so no help there. Everything stays the same. No point in me getting angry with her. Its not her fault.

Being thoroughly &&&*d off I decide I want a refund. Another 15 mins on the phone I give up waiting and go online. The previous lady did say, on live chat, there would be a £10 admin fee. Even with that fee it would still be cheaper to get a refund and then book through GWR. So online I go through their refund procedure. The £10 "admin fee" is per ticket. No guarantee I will actually get a refund either. So with £20 taken off the refund I would still be £3 in pocket but with no surety that I would get a refund plus the extra hassle doing it I am going to keep these Virgin Tickets.

One thing for sure though I will NEVER book through Virgin again. I can think of a lot of places Mr Branston could stick his rocket now. I really feel I have been ripped off. I will get my monies worth out of them though....... no one does me and gets away with it. :evil: I am a great believer in Karma. Everyone who has crossed me so far has had not so good things happen to them. Give it a few weeks.................
 

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I normally use this website.

https://www.thetrainline.com/

Shows the best prices for that travel, I don't go to any specific rail company direct.
 

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I normally use this website.

https://www.thetrainline.com/

Shows the best prices for that travel, I don't go to any specific rail company direct.
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.
DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS ADVICE. JUST DONT.

I apologise for the Caps, but it is important nobody listens to this.
Thetrainline use the same system as all the TOCs to find fares. In fact, Virgin use Thetrainline booking software, as do a lot of TOCs.

However, if you book on Thetrainline, they will charge you a booking fee. No TOCs will charge a booking fee. The result is that Thetrainline is ALWAYS more expensive than booking via a TOC website if the same ticket is booked.

Also, check the website of the TOC you will be travelling with as they sometimes have offers for their own trains if booked on their website. Not always mind.

To get an idea what happened regarding FrankCs problems, can you answer a couple of questions?
What price did you pay with Virgin (per person)? What price were GWR wanting to charge?
 

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Boy JJ,

Do you ever consider you may be wrong?

Tony
Thats it, because I question something youve said, you now go chasing me around belittling me.
Regarding the subject on this thread, NO, im not wrong. I know that Thetrainline charges fees. TOC websites DO NOT. Hence I cannopt be wrong.
 

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Thats it, because I question something youve said, you now go chasing me around belittling me.
Regarding the subject on this thread, NO, im not wrong. I know that Thetrainline charges fees. TOC websites DO NOT. Hence I cannopt be wrong.
Chasing you? Don't flatter yourself.

This is a forum where anyone can comment.

When you come out and make large bold statements about a link that was posted to help others, expect a response. All you had to do was to say that your evidence showed otherwise and give the links, not post the following, it is belittling to the poster. (not that our Super Moderator needs anyone defending his corner).

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.
DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS ADVICE. JUST DONT.
I apologise for the Caps, but it is important nobody listens to this.
 

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Chasing you? Don't flatter yourself.

This is a forum where anyone can comment.

When you come out and make large bold statements about a link that was posted to help others, expect a response. All you had to do was to say that your evidence showed otherwise and give the links, not post the following, it is belittling to the poster. (not that our Super Moderator needs anyone defending his corner).

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.
DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS ADVICE. JUST DONT.
I apologise for the Caps, but it is important nobody listens to this.
I made a comment to help everybody, including the poster who suggested he uses Thetrainline. Yes it was a big bold statement, but one that needed to be said as it was 100% factually wrong and would have cost people unnecessary money. Posted on a thread that was about being charged excess money.
I have no evidence contained within any links to put up here. I have no need to go on the website mentioned and pretend to make a booking just to show they charge fees. I have no need to go searching their website to see if they even mention the fees beforehand. So I have no link to provide and no wish to search for one.
My evidence/ knowledge is firmly planted in my head. That has now been put onto a forum in such a way that people dont miss it.
I of course expect comments. I dont even care if people comment on the way I put myself across, as you have latterly. I dont mind if people ask if I am 100% sure of what ive said. But your initial comment was one that people could construe as suggesting I am incorrect or lying.
If you dont like the way I wrote my comment, then say so. Don't go writing things that people could misconstrue. I am trying to stop people wasting money.
 

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For Malvern Link to Birmingham International this was 26:20 return

https://www.thetrainline.com/

These were 13:20 return

https://ticketing.traingenius.com/tickets

https://new.trainsplit.com/ticket_info.aspx
Not sure about Thetrainline as the link doesnt work. However there are no £26.20 fares.
£13.20 is the Off peak day return fare.

Edit- Right, I see what has happened when you went to Thetrainline. Due to the complicated nature of the website, you asked for 2 singles. The off peak day single is £13.10
For some stupid reason, even if you ask for a return, it gives you a single as the top most fare. I can only assume the reason Thetrainline does this, is because their advertising is all about advance tickets. Notice when they claim they are cheaper on their adverts? Its because they are comparing advance against on the day tickets. Advance tickets are only sold as singles. So, on their website they put single fares up the top. Unfortunately for journeys that dont have advance fares, like the journey you have looked up, you end up choosing two off peak singles, as you have in this case. Paying nearly twice as much as a return.
Another thing to think of when using Thetrainline, and automatically clicking on the top most fares. If it is an advance fare you have chosen, this does not provide any flexibility. You are stuck to the train you ask for. With Anytime and Off Peak tickets, you are not stuck to a specific train. Even if you ask for seat reservations, you can still change the train you use if you have an off peak or anytime ticket (albeit you wont have any seat reservations on the new train).

If you want to find out how much a fare should be in advance, then one of the simplest sites to use is:
www.brfares.com

They list all the possible fares, and gives you the restrictions for each one. The site does not sell tickets. It just shows you the fares. Then if a ticket selling site is showing different to what you expect, you can try and work out why. Its usually because the type of ticket you want is not easily viewable.
Trains fares and restrictions are far too complicated. So having a bit of an idea what to expect before booking a ticket beforehand is an idea, and thats where brfares.com can come in handy.

My apologies if my initial post on this thread annoyed anyone who uses Thetrainline, but unfortunately they are a good example of how strong advertising and people with less knowledge than they may like, is a bad combination at times. Too often I hear of people using Thetrainline. They automatically think they have saved money because of all the adverts on TV. What they dont realise, is they have actually lost money. Please please please, find a TOC with a nice simple to use booking software, and use them. Plus check what to expect beforehand.
 

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I use the train line website as I have a railcard for discount on top of it. Seems easy to use for me, never really had a problem with it. For the amount of times I use the train it’s convenient.
 

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I made a comment to help everybody, including the poster who suggested he uses Thetrainline. Yes it was a big bold statement, but one that needed to be said as it was 100% factually wrong and would have cost people unnecessary money. Posted on a thread that was about being charged excess money.
I have no evidence contained within any links to put up here. I have no need to go on the website mentioned and pretend to make a booking just to show they charge fees. I have no need to go searching their website to see if they even mention the fees beforehand. So I have no link to provide and no wish to search for one.
My evidence/ knowledge is firmly planted in my head. That has now been put onto a forum in such a way that people dont miss it.
I of course expect comments. I dont even care if people comment on the way I put myself across, as you have latterly. I dont mind if people ask if I am 100% sure of what ive said. But your initial comment was one that people could construe as suggesting I am incorrect or lying.
If you dont like the way I wrote my comment, then say so. Don't go writing things that people could misconstrue. I am trying to stop people wasting money.
You have an interest and a knowledge of these things James , thanks for your Post
 

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I made a comment to help everybody, including the poster who suggested he uses Thetrainline. Yes it was a big bold statement, but one that needed to be said as it was 100% factually wrong and would have cost people unnecessary money. Posted on a thread that was about being charged excess money.
Read the thread again. It was about being mucked around by Virgin offers for a specific journey, not the cheapest fare for any given journey.

Mind you, if you cannot afford the £1.50 booking charge for using a one stop site that saves you time (which is money) then I understand.

Ian's link was pertinent to the thread and with all of the various train companies and booking issues, I would not even hesitate to pay the £1.50 for a quick and easy service rather than as the thread was about, be mucked around by Virgin and their offers.

Tony

(Sorry for rep[lying to your post, I know you view that as "chasing you")
 

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For Malvern Link to Birmingham International this was 26:20 return

https://www.thetrainline.com/

These were 13:20 return

https://ticketing.traingenius.com/tickets

https://new.trainsplit.com/ticket_info.aspx
Another thing to mention regarding another link here. trainsplit is set up with the aim of looking to see if there are any split ticket options to make it cheaper. I'm not sure it is an easy site to use though.
Some journeys/ times of journey, are cheaper to carry out if you buy more than one ticket. Say, instead of buying a ticket from A to C, you buy two tickets. A to B, and B to C. Sometimes that is cheaper. Thats what this site is aimed at, but doesnt actually make it very obvious if that is what it has found.
Now if you have found it cheaper to buy 2 tickets, then go to a TOC website, and book the tickets. Or at a station. It doesnt matter. If you book via trainsplit, they again will charge fees I believe.

One thing to realise with all these different sites, is (ignoring fees, split tickets and special TOC offers) they are not actually cheaper than one another. They are not cheaper than buying at the station either. Therefore, always go to a website that doesnt charge fees. That invariably means a TOC (train operating company) website. Or go to the station. The only problem with stations, is a ticket machine cannot sell advance tickets if that is what you require. A proper manned ticket office can.
An off peak or anytime ticket is a set price. It isnt like a cruise where one site will sell you it for less money than the other depending on how well you haggle. It isnt like one car dealer selling you your brand new F Type for 1k less than the next dealer. It wont happen.
Advance tickets should always be the same no matter where you go as well, however there is something to be wary of. Advance tickets get more expensive as more are sold. Simply put, each price bracket has a set number of tickets. Now if the train you want is close to the edge of a price bracket, then one website may seem slightly cheaper than the other. You go to one website and checks fares, and you may just have caught the last ticket in that price bracket. If you then check the price straight after at another website, they may end up showing the price of the next price bracket, which will be slightly more expensive. Likewise this will also depend on other people buying tickets at the same time. If Bob from down the road books an advance ticket for the same train in between you checking prices, then he may catch the last ticket in a specific bracket. Hence your second website you check looks a little bit more expensive. However, all websites are looking at the same system, so the prices should be the same, and will be unless you get caught in the advance ticket lottery as mentioned.

Please dont be fooled into thinking that one site is cheaper than the rest. This will only be the case if there is a special offer only applicable to one train company. This will usually only apply to advance tickets as well. For example a popular one is Virgin offering a little bit of money off of advance tickets on their services, if booked on their website. Hence why I say to always check the relevant TOC first, just in case.
 

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The whole booking system of rail travel needs standardising and regulating better as it's a shambles !

I can buy an off peak travel ticket from Rhyl station , to travel Milton Keynes to Rhyl £30 cheaper than I can in MK .....

I can book 4 broken journey tickets from MK to Glasgow for less than half price of a ticket for the whole journey,

During this journey and 4 separate tickets , I don't have to leave my seat once !!!

My best memory of rail travel was in the snow a few years back , this is the time I generally use rail travel,

The Virgin , Glasgow straight through to Euston train , had to stop at Crewe and take us on board , London Midland peasants :)

It had to do all the stops all the way through - First class as well , I guess the original travellers may have got a partial refund.
 

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I use the train line website as I have a railcard for discount on top of it. Seems easy to use for me, never really had a problem with it. For the amount of times I use the train it's convenient.
As in one of the national railcards, like a young persons, or a family railcard? If so, you can use that on any site.
It may seem easy to use, but as somebody has already proved today, they inadvertantly chose two off peak singles, and would have paid nearly twice as much money. Also remember, you are always losing money by using thetrainline due to the fees. If you like the layout of thetrainline, then go to a TOC that uses the same software. I believe Virgin are one.
 

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Read the thread again. It was about being mucked around by Virgin offers for a specific journey, not the cheapest fare for any given journey.

Mind you, if you cannot afford the £1.50 booking charge for using a one stop site that saves you time (which is money) then I understand.

Ian's link was pertinent to the thread and with all of the various train companies and booking issues, I would not even hesitate to pay the £1.50 for a quick and easy service rather than as the thread was about, be mucked around by Virgin and their offers.

Tony

(Sorry for rep[lying to your post, I know you view that as "chasing you")
I know what the initial post was about. However it was also about being charged excess money by Virgin. Then someone comes on about using thetrainline to save money. Whilst not exactly linked, someone posted incorrect info regarding saving money, on a thread which mentioned being charged excess money in one form or another.

As for the rest of your post. Please take this the right way, as I am trying to help both you, and everybody else.
Thetrainline is no more a one stop shop than any TOC website. I could go to Virgin East Coast, Virgin West Coast, GWR, Greater Anglia, or any of the other TOC websites, and book exactly what I can on thetrainline, and without being charged a fee. You are not saving time on thetrainline as you seem to think. Virgin Trains West Coast do not just sell tickets for travel on their services. They sell tickets for every train no matter what the TOC. Excepting international services via Eurostar. Ditto Greater Anglia or GWR. I can go to Greater Anglias site and book a ticket from Penzance to Plymouth. Nowhere near Greater Anglia territory. Or I could book Thurso to Georgemas Junction. Or Sevenoaks to Bat and Ball. I wont touch any Greater Anglia train, but they will sell me the exact same ticket that thetrainline will, but without charging me a fee.
Likewise, I can go to the ticket office at Wick station, and ask for a ticket from Penzance to Plymouth. They will sell me exactly what thetrainline will sell me, and without a fee on top. I will not have saved time by going to thetrainline as you suggest. But it will have cost me money.

It is unfortunate that the OP came across a special offer, which Virgin were not very open about. But going to thetrainline wouldn't have made any difference. Virgin ended up not wanting to give him the special offer as they said the ticket quota was finished. But they offered him a normal ticket without fuss, which he booked. No time wasted.
As regards the difference between what GWR and Virgin were charging, this cannot be quoted upon until I know what fares both were charging, and for what journey. If I got this info, I may be able to enlighten you all into what has happened.

Oh, and as you mention both thetrainline and Virgin, and trying to make out one is quick and easy. Please remember that Virgin use thetrainline software.
 

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The whole booking system of rail travel needs standardising and regulating better as it's a shambles !

I can buy an off peak travel ticket from Rhyl station , to travel Milton Keynes to Rhyl £30 cheaper than I can in MK .....

I can book 4 broken journey tickets from MK to Glasgow for less than half price of a ticket for the whole journey,

During this journey and 4 separate tickets , I don't have to leave my seat once !!!

My best memory of rail travel was in the snow a few years back , this is the time I generally use rail travel,

The Virgin , Glasgow straight through to Euston train , had to stop at Crewe and take us on board , London Midland peasants :)

It had to do all the stops all the way through - First class as well , I guess the original travellers may have got a partial refund.
I wont argue about the system being complicated. It is. Thats not all about regulation though. A lot is regulated. But this is the DfT we are talking about. A load of numpties.
As regards your 4 tickets being less than one ticket. That sounds like the split tickets I mentioned earlier. It is annoying. With such a difference in price though, you havent found the advance ticket lottery have you?

Now as regards your MK to Rhyl example. I am going to be blunt. You are not comparing apples with apples. If it was the same type of ticket, I can promise you this would not be the case. It could be the ticket office staff selling different tickets. It could be you travelling at a different time.
Having just looked at the fares for this journey, it would seem as though you are thinking of single tickets. For some very odd reason there are two types of off peak single, with seemingly the same restrictions. Mad. There is about a £35 difference between the two. It could be that one station has for some odd reason not sold you the cheapest ticket for your journey, which they should have done. This isnt about one station being cheaper than the other, as you suggest, but about staff training. It is well known that staff training in some places isn't up to scratch. Not helped by the fact the system is far too complicated.
 

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@JJ

My thoughts are you are simply reading too much into this and almost making it confrontational.

Ian did not say that you could save money on that link, he stated that it shows the best price which it does. The fact that they charge a massive £1.50 for the services is in my mind, well worth it. It saves hunting around the various TOCs and then having to compare their prices if they use the same routes.

TBH, I do not use trains and probably never will but there are other services I use that I am happy to pay a fee rather than spend ages hunting down a saving of a few bob.

Your way is obviously the cheapest but there are much easier ways of putting your case forward without shouting someone else's contribution down.

Tony
 
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