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  • FIRST POST
    • Ipswichme
    • By Ipswichme 3rd Aug 16, 3:50 PM
    • 27Posts
    • 2Thanks
    Ipswichme
    0 WOW
    'Virgin Experience Days' - Warning !!!!
    • #1
    • 3rd Aug 16, 3:50 PM
    0 WOW
    'Virgin Experience Days' - Warning !!!! 3rd Aug 16 at 3:50 PM
    I was recently given a Virgin Experience Days 'Supercar Driving High Speed Ride' experience from my brother and sister to celebrate my 50th birthday. As part of the experience the receiver is required to activate the voucher and then book the event. When I came to activate the voucher I phoned the nearest location to me and was told that the next available slot that I could use was mid November this year. I explained that my voucher was only valid for another month (until end of August) and she then looked nationally to see where I could be accommodated. There were no locations available for me to use.
    I then phoned Virgin and asked if they would extend my voucher validity period and they replied yes, providing I paid a 20 fee to do so. I replied that I thought a 30 day notice period would be sufficient to book the ride and that not having any available slots in this timeframe seemed unfair. The Virgin Experience assistant said that I should have activated my voucher at least 2 months in advance to ensure a bookable slot. I said that this fact was not represented on the voucher, the T&Cs or any of the accompanying information and so how would I be expected to know that fact?. I also said that even if I had activated my voucher the month before it is indicated that August would still have been booked up solidly. His reply was that I would need to pay the 20 fee or my voucher would be invalid. I replied that this was just a way for Virgin to take money for gifts from the send and also from the receiver as I could not possibly be an isolated case. Virgin also charge another 30-40 for insurance whilst driving the cars and 20-25 for use of the voucher at weekends. Adding this together the receiver of the gift could be paying up to 90+ just to experience the present. Fair? No! its a money grabbing concept from a company that I used to respect.
Page 1
    • Kynthia
    • By Kynthia 4th Aug 16, 7:11 AM
    • 5,393 Posts
    • 7,552 Thanks
    Kynthia
    • #2
    • 4th Aug 16, 7:11 AM
    • #2
    • 4th Aug 16, 7:11 AM
    I find BuyaGift.com a much more flexible and user friendly experience company. They've extended for free before and allow swaps to be done by the gift receiver online without fuss. If anyone is going to buy me an experience I hope it's from them as I've had trouble with others, such as Red Letter Days.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
    • takman
    • By takman 4th Aug 16, 12:58 PM
    • 3,786 Posts
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    takman
    • #3
    • 4th Aug 16, 12:58 PM
    • #3
    • 4th Aug 16, 12:58 PM
    How long was the voucher valid for?. It sounds like you have left it till the last minute to book it up when you should have been doing this month's ago.

    Also I agree that the insurance should be included in the price if it's mandatory. But if it's insurance so you don't have to pay an excess if you cause damage then having it as a optional add on seems fair.
    • Ipswichme
    • By Ipswichme 18th Aug 16, 6:21 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Ipswichme
    • #4
    • 18th Aug 16, 6:21 PM
    • #4
    • 18th Aug 16, 6:21 PM
    My Virgin experience voucher was given to me in February this year and states an expiry date of August 2016. My point is that it doesn't state when you should activate the voucher or when you should book the event. Even if I had booked two months or longer before expiry, I would have found the event fully booked. Virgin know that to extend the voucher is another money grabbing scheme. Together with the fact that you have to pay to use the voucher at weekends and to be fully protected on insurance is again money grabbing and a disappointment to what should have been a thrilling present for a landmark birthday.


    This was reported in the Guardian on 28th February 2015.


    Last March my sons bought me a Virgin Experience voucher for a Mother’s Day to visit the Wedgwood pottery museum in Stoke-on-Trent. I work away from home and am extremely busy and did not read the terms and conditions. I filed away my voucher, thinking that I’d use it later in the year.
    With more time to book my experience, I recently went to on to the website to make a booking only to learn that the vouchers expired on 30 September. I have rung Virgin today and it flatly refuses to extend the deadline.
    I am really disappointed – to me it feels like daylight robbery


    It also states that a look at the Review Centre website shows this experience is by no means unique. There are 23 from unhappy Virgin Experience customers, mostly complaining about the same problem.


    In summary - 'Virgin Experience Days' - Warning !!!!
    • takman
    • By takman 18th Aug 16, 7:13 PM
    • 3,786 Posts
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    takman
    • #5
    • 18th Aug 16, 7:13 PM
    • #5
    • 18th Aug 16, 7:13 PM
    It seems the person in the Guradian article made the same mistake as you and waited too long before trying to use the voucher!.

    I received an experience voucher a couple of years ago and I activated it online within a week and contacted the nearest venue to arrange the activity.

    I don't think you can really blame them when you have had the voucher since February!.

    But when I did contact the venue they did tell me that if I wanted to use the voucher after it expires they would claim the voucher immediately and then issue me with one of their own gift vouchers with an extended expiry date. Although this was a flight experience and not a Virgin voucher.
    • Ipswichme
    • By Ipswichme 19th Aug 16, 8:39 AM
    • 27 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Ipswichme
    • #6
    • 19th Aug 16, 8:39 AM
    • #6
    • 19th Aug 16, 8:39 AM
    Thank you for the post but I think you are missing my point. Why should activating the voucher 4 or 5, or even 6 months after receipt be leaving it too long? it is a voucher for redemption within a valid period of time after which then becomes invalid after activation. There is no information provided by Virgin Experience Days to say when the activation should occur or when the booking should be made. I think that we should have the right to activate and book at any time within the voucher validity period and then have the right to experience the event when there is the next free availability even if this is outside of the validity period. Otherwise, in the case of Virgin Experience Days it seems that sending money offers better value for money
    • Ipswichme
    • By Ipswichme 19th Aug 16, 8:47 AM
    • 27 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Ipswichme
    • #7
    • 19th Aug 16, 8:47 AM
    • #7
    • 19th Aug 16, 8:47 AM
    some other posts on the web:https://www.reviews.co.uk/company-reviews/store/virgin-experience-days


    Cant get the spa experience booked for my wife , apparently the one night stay requires booking two nights at weekends, more expense, little options on locations and it runs out too early , NEVER NEVER BUY AGAIN !!!


    Since January, I have been trying to book up a Virgin reviver pamper day at several locations (as there seem to be no spaces available for my preferred everywhere!). This has been stupidly unsuccessful, with some Virgin Active centres saying they will call me back yet never do, others telling me that they are fully booked for two months, and some actually just literally never answering the phones.

    I must point out that my voucher only has a six month usage date on it which is ridiculous for the price that was paid by my partner (it was a gift). Even worse, when I have tried contacting the Virgin Experience Days customer service, I keep getting told that I am not able to get a refund but can pay 20 to get it extende or 10 to get it exchanged. Frankly, I find it an insult that they are asking for yet MORE money because their staff have not been able to ever assist me in booking this incredibly pointless voucher.

    I find this company one of the worst gift experience companies - and I've used many in the past - and would strongly recommend avoiding these overpriced and unhelpful money grabbers. I am now stuck with a Virgin pamper voucher and no time to go because all the local ones are booked for two months.


    This is my second bad experience should have learnt my lesson!!first time my husband brought me ticket for hot air balloon this was not cheap and couldn't get booked up never any available dates extended the voucher and after a year of trying finally gave up and told couldn't have refund as we never took out the extra insurance at a extra cost!!
    Brought tickets for chilli experience and went to book it up and fully booked no available dates!!!!!


    I was given two Virgin Experience Days as presents and it has been a nightmare to book! I have managed to book the Thames River Cruise but the horse racing is proving impossible! There are very limited dates - as I can't get the time off work, I won't be able to go! My husband and a friend will try to use them if we can ever get it booked! You have to activate the voucher, then contact the race course and they will send a form to send back with your voucher! Ridiculous! If we wanted to exchange the vouchers for another, we would have had the same nonsense with forms etc AND we would have been charged 20! Avoid!!!!!!!!


    I could go on and on and on - In summary - 'Virgin Experience Days' - Warning !!!!
    • sillygoose
    • By sillygoose 19th Aug 16, 7:19 PM
    • 4,243 Posts
    • 5,695 Thanks
    sillygoose
    • #8
    • 19th Aug 16, 7:19 PM
    • #8
    • 19th Aug 16, 7:19 PM
    Thank you for the post but I think you are missing my point. Why should activating the voucher 4 or 5, or even 6 months after receipt be leaving it too long? it is a voucher for redemption within a valid period of time after which then becomes invalid after activation. There is no information provided by Virgin Experience Days to say when the activation should occur or when the booking should be made. I think that we should have the right to activate and book at any time within the voucher validity period and then have the right to experience the event when there is the next free availability even if this is outside of the validity period. Otherwise, in the case of Virgin Experience Days it seems that sending money offers better value for money
    Originally posted by Ipswichme
    Absolutely agree. I have been given a similar thing, can't remember which company it was but it wasn't Virgin. Like you I couldn't get a date within the voucher period and they were happy to extend for free as long as the booking was within the validity period.

    I wonder if its worth contacting the people running the experience you want directly, see if they will fit you in then contacting Virgin and saying there is now a booking available for you? (as Virgin will only make as much efforts as 'computer says no')
    • takman
    • By takman 19th Aug 16, 9:54 PM
    • 3,786 Posts
    • 3,452 Thanks
    takman
    • #9
    • 19th Aug 16, 9:54 PM
    • #9
    • 19th Aug 16, 9:54 PM
    Thank you for the post but I think you are missing my point. Why should activating the voucher 4 or 5, or even 6 months after receipt be leaving it too long? it is a voucher for redemption within a valid period of time after which then becomes invalid after activation. There is no information provided by Virgin Experience Days to say when the activation should occur or when the booking should be made. I think that we should have the right to activate and book at any time within the voucher validity period and then have the right to experience the event when there is the next free availability even if this is outside of the validity period. Otherwise, in the case of Virgin Experience Days it seems that sending money offers better value for money
    Originally posted by Ipswichme
    I would have thought it was common sense when you have a voucher with an expiry date that you have to book up you should try and do it as soon as possible.

    You can't have wanted to do it that much if you waited months and months before you even activated it!.

    But I do agree they are rubbish presents from family members. It's just a lazy present that people buy because it's quick and easy. They would be better off giving you the cash which can be spent anywhere with no expiry date!.

    When I wanted to give my partner an experience last year for her birthday I booked the hotel myself direct, arranged it all and drove her down there. I would never just buy her a voucher which she has to book and arrange herself!
    • Kynthia
    • By Kynthia 21st Aug 16, 6:36 AM
    • 5,393 Posts
    • 7,552 Thanks
    Kynthia
    If people are new to experience gifts then they won't know what seems 'obvious' to those who've used them for years and the website should give this advice clearly. Plus the selling company should assist when the activity is causing the difficulty by having little or no availability as they then aren't providing what they have sold.

    The gift givers should take responsibility too for ensuring they know the locations the gift can be redemeed as I was given a voucher for a 'file and paint' (not even a whole manicure) that required nearly two hours travelling time when I can walk down the road and get it done for 15 or less. Thankfully Buyagift let me exchange for free online and i upgraded it for something lovely. There's so many reviews for the experiences that a buyer can also do their research to see nor only how good an activity is but how easy it is to redeem the voucher.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
    • ERICS MUM
    • By ERICS MUM 21st Aug 16, 8:33 AM
    • 3,506 Posts
    • 6,488 Thanks
    ERICS MUM
    I've used Buy A Gift several times and always been happy with them, never had problems like this.
    • Welshcat
    • By Welshcat 12th May 18, 9:30 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Welshcat
    My experience with Virgin Experience
    My husband bought me a Steam Train ride with dinner on the Spa Valley Railway in Kent. Admittedly I hadn't realised the short time period for booking. Normally it is 12 months with most Experience Companies but for some reason Virgin only have 9 months. When I tried to book, straight after being given it. it was only giving me dates for the end of the year and of those they were all sold out anyway, so thought I would wait till this year for the warmer months By which time it had run out. Ok not a problem my mistake. I extended it for another 9 months for the princely sum of 20. I went on the website within a week or so of extending it only to find in the whole year there was only two dates I could book. Both totally unsuitable. One in October and we would have had to share a table with another couple and the other one in December a busy month for anyone, plus October and December, whats the point. We wouldn't be able to view the scenery which in my opinion is part of the enjoyment of the Steam Train Ride. Yes I realise I can exchange my voucher but as it was bought for me as a personal gift I feel sad that I am pushed into this decision. I didn't mind paying the 20 but do Virgin sell as many of these vouchers as they can, never mind the quantity of spaces available. Seems to me this is what they are doing. Oh and by the way, note I said there was only two dates available all year. If I wanted to buy another voucher, ???????they are STILL SELLING THEM!!!!!!!!!!! Even though clearly there are still vouchers out there being booked up. This surely has got to be so wrong.
    • GAD1981
    • By GAD1981 16th May 18, 10:25 AM
    • 14 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    GAD1981
    I think it should state more clearly on the voucher as many people have no idea how this kind of thing works! My friend did the same thing with a spa day voucher and by the time she activated it, it had expired!
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